Oranges have been a Christmas symbol for ages. As a kid, Santa always left one at the bottom of our stockings. As we have many many citrus trees in our backyard, I’m always trying to come up with more ways to use them.
Drying orange slices for the holidays is a fun and easy project for kids to help with, and the slices can be used in many ways.
ADDING THEM TO CHRISTMAS PRESENTS
Dried orange slices look very elegant tied on to a brown paper wrapped present with string and maybe a pine cone or cinnamon stick too. You can also add them to finely decorative wrapping paper. Dried orange slices look stunning against dark blue and green for a luxurious present tied with a white ribbon.
HOW DO YOU MAKE DRIED ORANGE SLICES?
1. Preheat the oven to 200F. Slice the oranges into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Try to get them as uniform as possible for even dehydrating.
2. Use a towel to blot as much of the juice from the oranges as possible. This will make the drying process much quicker.
3. For a more translucent look, you can sprinkle the orange slices with a little bit of white sugar but this is optional.
4. Place the orange slices on a cookie sheet. You can either place them on parchment or lay them out on a cookie cooling rack over the cookie sheet. This allows the air to circulate better and you won’t have to turn the slices as often.
5. Place the oranges in the oven on the middle rack. I turned mine every hour for the first 2-3 hours and then checked on them every 30 minutes after that. You want the oranges to be completely dehydrated and not sticky. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and take them out earlier rather than later though, as they will dry out on room air as well.
WHAT CAN USE DRIED ORANGE SLICES FOR?
I have made so many batches of these in time for Christmas. I use them for cake decorations, decorations for the tree and even tied to the presents to add a little foodie treat to go with the gift tag. Since they last for years you can make a load and keep them for last minute decorations.
I love having some saved for a last minute Christmas cake or cupcakes. The dried oranges always look gorgeous so they are a quick decoration which everyone will love.
DRIED ORANGE SLICES FOR GIN
If you a regular reader of my blog you will know how much I love cocktails and creating easy ones that you can make at home. Making dried orange slices for gin is a great way to use the slices to make a cocktail look extra special so easily and with barely any effort.
When you are ready to have a cocktail night you can either add the dried orange slices in the hole to the glass or do a small cut to get them to balance on the side of the glass. Both ways they will look gorgeous and take your cocktails at home to the next level.
STORING THE DRIED ORANGES
Storing them is pretty easy and they will last for years if done right. Once you’ve made them pop them in a box or bag in a cool place. If you have time you can put them in a box with greaseproof paper but once they are dried they should be absolutely fine.
I have some which are about 5 years old which are still perfect for decorations. They are great at lasting if you don’t get them moist otherwise they might start going bad.
They will change colour over time so I think they will last a few years easily. If they lose their colour and you don’t want to throw them away. You can add them to a bag of Christmas potpourri or make your own.
Once you’ve used the dried orange slices for cake decorations/if they’ve come in contact with other food it would be best to dispose of them after use. The moisture from cakes and icing can cause them to start going bad.
The house will smell amazing and fresh when you make them.
I would recommend checking on the orange slices every 45 minutes to make sure they haven’t fallen through the oven shelves.
CAN YOU EAT DRIED ORANGE SLICES?
Yes you can eat dried orange slices including the peel.
When you have made your oven-dried orange slices, you can use them as a garnish and decoration for cakes, breakfasts and of course cocktails!