It’s that time of the year when we prepare for the holidays, and baking sends cozy smells wafting through the house. Yes this is a post about drying oranges but dried oranges are the perfect accessory to this season.
Stay with me on this one.
Dried oranges are a low cost way to add both decoration and scent to your home. If you read my post about natural air fresheners then you know that I despise chemical fragrance. It gives me a raging headache and never smells like whatever Bath and Body says it is supposed to.
Enter dried oranges.
When you summer these in a pot with a few cloves and a cinnamon stick you will smell orange, clove and cinnamon, not chemicals.
How to make Dried Oranges
The process is of course easier if you have an electric dehydrator like I do. It comes in handy for so many different things. I use mine to dry apple slices when the neighbor’s tree overflows with apples in the fall. I use it to dry fresh herbs.
I like this dehydrator from amazon. It’s just like mine with a basic on off switch. If you want bells and whistles you can go for a more expensive one. They can also be found at the thrift store for under $20. Just make sure you plug it in and give it a test run before you buy a used one.
However, if you don’t have a dehydrator and don’t want to invest in one you can dry oranges in the oven. Heck for centuries humans have been drying food in the sun but we’re not going to cover that technique here. We will cover the oven and the electric dehydrator.
First Select Your Oranges
Go to the store and get oranges! I recommend getting a bag of oranges if they look like they don’t have a bunch of bruises on them.
Blood oranges are really nice, if you want to mix up the colors of a garland you could get a few regular oranges and a few blood oranges that would be very pretty.
For our purposes though we’re going with the bag of oranges on sale when I bought oranges.
Slice your Oranges
Now, if you’re a perfectionist then you might want to use a mandolin slicer to ensure all your slices are perfectly uniform. Just make sure you use the thick slice option.
I’m not a perfectionist. You probably already knew that if you follow the blog. I find beauty in imperfection so I’m going to use a knife and a cutting board. We’re looking for a slice that is about a quarter of an inch thick or more. This way the rind won’t be too thin if you want to string them for garland.
A lot of people will throw out the ends because they’re not pretty but I keep them because they are perfect for air freshening. They don’t need to be beautiful for that.
Next line all the slices up on the drying racks of the dehydrator. If you’re using your oven you’ll want to line them up on a wire baking racks like THESE from Amazon. This is so the air can flow around the oranges.
Here’s where the instructions for the oven and electric dehydrator become different.
Dry Oranges in an Electric Dehydrator
The temperature of the electric dehydrator is so low that drying your orange will take all day or overnight. Mine usually go overnight only because I never get to them early enough in the day for them to finish. Drying can take about 16 hours in the dehydrator.
The time is the only drawback to the elect dehydrator. The plus side is with the lower temps there’s less of a change the oranges will burn.
Dry Oranges in an Oven
Heat your oven to 200 degrees or your lowest setting. For some ovens it’s 170 degrees. Mine only goes down to 200 but the lower the better. You want to put the oranges in for 4-5 hours and turn them every 45 minutes so they don’t burn.
The need to monitor the orange is the biggest drawback to the oven method. The speed in which they’re finished is the plus side.
For both methods you’ll want to make sure the oranges are completely dry before stopping the process. Touch the pulpy part and see if it’s super sticky. This is a good indication that they’re not finished drying.
When they’re finished they will be crisp and dry. If they’re not completely dry in a week or two you might find yourself with a little fur growing on them.
To store your orange slices you can put them in a jar with a tight lid or a ziplock.
I decided to put mine in bags to sell in my Picket Fence Gals booth this holiday season so others can string them together for garland.
You don’t have to stop at oranges! Dried lemons, and grapefruit are really pretty dried too and they make amazing air fresheners. If you don’t want to simmer air freshener on the stove because you’re worried if might burn them but a small crockpot like this one from amazon. It’s the perfect size to put your orange slices in with a cinnamon stick and some cloves. Just fill it up with water and let the heavenly smell fill your home!
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share this post with your friends!