Get ready to add a splash of sunshine to your Christmas decorations with this ultimate tutorial on "How to Dry Orange Slices." Summer is perfect for making holiday décor like these vibrant dried orange slices. A couple of hours is all it takes to create stunning ornaments for your holiday projects.
In this tutorial, you will discover how to dry orange slices both with and without an oven. Additionally, I'll share tips for selecting the best oranges for drying, along with proper storage methods to ensure your dried orange slices and ornaments stay in perfect condition for years to come. Furthermore, I've compiled a list of creative ideas for incorporating dried orange slices into Christmas decorations, guaranteeing you'll never run out of ways to use them.
Table of contents
- What's behind the tradition of dried orange slices?
- Why make dried orange slices?
- Dried Orange Slices in Christmas Decorations
- What to do with dried orange slices
- Make a batch of dried orange slices
- Preparing oranges for drying
- How to Dry Orange Slices in the Oven
- How to Dry Orange Slices Without an Oven
- How to Dry Orange Slices in a Dehydrator
- How to Dry Orange Slices in an Air Fryer
- Air-frying orange slices compared with Other Drying Techniques
- How to Dry Orange Slices for Cocktails
- DIY Decorations with Dried Orange Slices
- Tips for Preserving Dried Orange Slices
- Shop supplies
- Final thoughts
- More DIY Christmas decorations
What's behind the tradition of dried orange slices?
The tradition of dried orange slices goes back to centuries-old practices when people used natural materials to decorate their homes during the holiday season. Drying citrus fruits, particularly oranges, was a practical way to preserve their beauty and fragrance long after the harvest season.
Dried orange slices, then and now
Historically: Oranges were associated with abundance, prosperity, and good fortune. Incorporating dried orange slices into Christmas decorations symbolized hope for a bountiful and prosperous year ahead.
Today: Drying orange slices is a simple and eco-friendly DIY project, aligning with the trend of sustainable and natural decorations that resonate with people seeking an authentic holiday experience.
Why make dried orange slices?
If you love natural, rustic Christmas tree decorations or DIY Christmas ornaments, you will love how versatile dried orange slices are for adding a natural, rustic touch to your decor. See my list of natural Christmas decoration ideas below for some great inspiration.
Christmas orange fragrance
By including dried orange slices in your Christmas decorations and ornaments, you can infuse a refreshing citrusy fragrance throughout your home. Combinations like orange and cinnamon sticks or orange and cloves are perfect combos for kick-starting the Christmas vibe in your home.
Perfect for holiday decorations
You can add dried orange slices to wreaths, garlands, and even cocktail garnishes. See below for more inspiring decorating ideas.
Dried Orange Slices in Christmas Decorations
Picture Christmas trees decorated with dried orange slices hanging from the branches. Or beautiful wreaths and garlands giving off a waft of wonderful Christmassy citrus aroma all around your home. Not only are dried orange slices easy to make, but when incorporated into Christmas decorations, they add a touch of nostalgia that perfectly complements vintage and traditional festive themes.
What to do with dried orange slices
Below, I've listed a few Christmas ideas for using dried orange slices in your DIY decorations.
1. Dried Orange Slice Wreath
Craft a stunning, aromatic wreath using dried orange slices as the focal point. Combine them with greenery, pinecones, and ribbons for a beautiful and natural holiday wreath.
2. Dried Orange Garland
String dried orange slices together to form a lovely Christmas garland for draping along the mantelpiece, staircase, or Christmas tree, adding a pop of color and citrusy fragrance to your decor.
3. Christmas Tree Ornaments
Create unique and eye-catching Christmas tree ornaments by adding dried orange slices to plain wooden or ceramic ornaments. Alternatively, you can use them as hanging charms on gift packages or lanterns.
4. Dried Orange Candle Holders
Enhance the cozy ambiance by placing dried orange slices around candles. The light will dance through the orange slices as the candles flicker, casting a warm and inviting glow.
5. Table Centerpieces
Spruce up your holiday table by incorporating dried orange slices into your centerpieces. Combine them with evergreens, cinnamon sticks, pinecones, or mistletoe for a festive and aromatic display.
6. Napkin Rings
Add a touch of elegance to your table settings by using dried orange slices as napkin rings. Secure them with twine or ribbon to give your table a rustic and charming look.
7. Dried Orange Christmas Stockings
Personalize your Christmas stockings by attaching dried orange slices as adorable and fragrant embellishments.
8. Dried Orange Gift Tags
Create custom gift tags by attaching dried orange slices to plain gift tags with heartfelt messages on the back.
9. Christmas Card Embellishments
Glue or tie dried orange slices onto your Christmas cards to add a unique and festive touch.
10. Dried Orange Advent Calendar:
Use dried orange slices as decorative elements for an advent calendar. They can mark the days leading up to Christmas, creating an attractive and scented countdown.
11. Dried Orange Potpourri
Fill decorative bowls with a mix of dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and dried apple rings to create a festive potpourri that will make your home smell deliciously like Christmas!
Make a batch of dried orange slices
I bet you didn't realize how many DIY Christmas decorations you can make from dried orange slices, did you?
How about making a big batch of dried orange slices with me? If we start now, we'll be able to create all the DIY Christmas ornaments we need come the Christmas season. Plus, we will have checked off a few items from our list of 'things to make'! Let's get started with the tutorial.
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Preparing oranges for drying
Selecting the Right Oranges for Drying
Selecting the right oranges makes all the difference when making dried orange slices. Look for oranges that are firm, plump, and have a rich color. Opt for varieties known for their thin peels, as they dry more evenly and quickly.
Typically, a large Christmas orange has quite a thick peel, and although it's delicious for eating, it's not great for drying.
Pro-tip: Choose organic oranges whenever possible, because they are less likely to have wax coatings or harmful chemicals (essential if you intend to use your dried orange slices in holiday cocktails).
Washing the Oranges Thoroughly
Once you've gathered your perfect oranges, it's time to give them a good rinse. Washing the oranges helps remove any wax or surface impurities.
Pro-tip: Use warm water and mild soap to scrub the oranges gently, then rinse them well under cool running water.
Slicing the Oranges Uniformly
Now that our oranges are clean and ready, it's time to get them sliced up. Consistent slices ensure even drying and a polished look for your decorations.
Pro-tip: Use a sharp cutting knife and try to make the slices approximately ¼ inch thick. Slightly uneven orange slices can add to the natural charm for a more rustic look.
With your oranges prepped and ready, it's time to learn about the various drying methods. Decide which drying method is best for you, and start creating stunning decorations that will fill your home with the scent of citrus this Christmas season!
How to Dry Orange Slices in the Oven
Drying orange slices in the oven is probably the easiest way to start but don't worry if you don't have a baking oven. I go over other methods for drying orange slices below.
- Fresh oranges
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Baking sheets
- Cooling rack
- Oven - this one dehydrates and air-fry's too!
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to the lowest setting possible. Most kitchen ovens have a minimum temperature of around 170°F (77°C), which works well for drying oranges. Fan-assisted ovens work better for drying orange slices because the excess moisture gets extracted as they bake.
Step 2: Prepare the Oranges
Wash the oranges thoroughly under cool running water to remove dirt or surface impurities. Pat them dry with a clean towel.
Step 3: Slice the Oranges
Place the oranges on a cutting board, and slice them into thin, even rounds using a sharp knife. Aim for slices that are approximately ¼ inch thick. The consistent thickness will ensure even drying.
Step 4: Remove Excess Moisture
Using a paper towel, gently dab the orange slices to remove excess moisture. This step will help speed up the drying process and prevent sticking during baking.
Step 5: Arrange on the Baking Sheet
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to prevent sticking. Arrange the orange slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Make sure that the orange slices do not overlap.
Step 6: Bake in the Oven
Place the baking sheet with the orange slices in the preheated oven. If you do not have a fan-assisted baking oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape. This step is essential for proper drying. Let the orange slices bake in the oven for 2 to 3 hours or until dry. The drying time may vary based on the thickness of the orange slices and your oven's temperature.
Step 7: Cool and Store
Once the orange slices have dried to perfection, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let them cool completely on a cooling rack. As they cool, they will become crisp and ready to use.
See my tips for how to store dried orange slices further down this post.
- For an extra festive touch, sprinkle a dash of ground cinnamon or cloves over the orange slices before drying.
How to Dry Orange Slices Without an Oven
Not a fan of using the oven in the summer? No worries! You can use the slow air-drying method without needing any special equipment. This method is a more natural approach but may take a little longer, depending on how high the humidity is where you live.
Step 1: Preparation
Prepare and slice the oranges as mentioned in 'How to dry oranges slices in the oven' above.
Step 2: Thread the Orange Slices
Grab a length of kitchen twine or thread and pass it through the center of each orange slice, leaving enough space between each one for proper air circulation.
Step 3: Find the Perfect Drying Spot
Choose the ideal drying spot with proper ventilation and airflow. You can hang the threaded orange slices indoors near an open window, or if the weather is dry and warm, you can opt for outdoor drying under a covered area.
TIP: When drying orange slices outdoors, remember to find a place where birds or insects can't access them.
Be mindful that air-drying might take longer than oven-drying, but the results are well worth the wait!
Step 6: Exercise Patience
The air-drying process typically takes anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the humidity level and the thickness of the slices. During this time, the oranges will slowly transform into beautifully dried orange slices, ready to use in your handmade festive decorations.
Step 7: Check for Dryness
Give the orange slices a gentle squeeze to check that they are dry. They should feel firm and no longer have any moisture.
Once the oranges slices are thoroughly dried, you can take them down and prepare to use them in your Christmas crafting projects.
- If you live in a humid climate, consider using a dehumidifier or a fan to aid the drying process.
- To speed up the drying process, you can kick-start the drying process in the oven before transferring the orange slices outside to finish off drying. Let the orange slices bake in the oven for about an hour or until they lose some of their moisture. Then, transfer the partially dried orange slices to an airy and well-ventilated outdoor spot to complete the drying naturally.
How to Dry Orange Slices in a Dehydrator
If you're looking for a quick and efficient way to dry orange slices, a good dehydrator is your best friend! You can achieve perfectly dehydrated slices that retain their vibrant colors.
One of the advantages of drying oranges slices in a dehydrator is that you will get more consistent results without worrying about oven temperatures or weather conditions.
Step 1: Prepare your oranges
Prepare and slice your oranges in the same way as you would for 'How to dry oranges slices in an oven' mentioned above.
Step 2: Load the Dehydrator
Load the dehydrator trays with the sliced oranges. Lay the slices in a single layer, ensuring they don't overlap, to allow proper air circulation during drying. If you're looking for a small dehydrator, this one has rave reviews and is relatively affordable.
Step 3: Set the Temperature and Time
Always check your dehydrator's manual for specific instructions, as temperature settings may vary among different models. In general, set the dehydrator to around 135°F (57°C) for orange slices. The drying time can range from 6 to 10 hours, depending on the thickness of the citrus slices and the dehydrator's power.
Step 4: Monitor the Drying Process
While the dehydrator works its magic, keep an eye on the progress. The orange slices are ready when they feel dry, with no moisture left in the center. They should feel firm to the touch.
Step 5: Preserve Vibrant Colors
To maintain the vibrant color of the dried oranges, ensure they are not over-dried. Overdrying can cause the slices to turn dark or brownish. Aim for a texture that is crisp but still pliable.
- For an extra burst of flavor (for cocktails) or more aroma (for holiday decor), you can dust the orange slices with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or other holiday spices before placing them in the dehydrator.
- See below for my tips for preserving and storing dried orange slices to keep them fresh and ready for your festive decorations.
How to Dry Orange Slices in an Air Fryer
Did you know your trusty air fryer can do more than cook up delicious crispy snacks? It's also a fantastic tool for drying orange slices in a snap!
Step 1: Prep Your Air Fryer
To ensure there are no lingering cooking residues, start by giving your air fryer a quick clean. Cleaning ensures the orange slices won't pick up unwanted flavors while drying. You can also line the air fryer basket with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Step 2: Prepare the Oranges
Wash, dry, and slice the oranges per the instructions for 'preparing oranges for drying' mentioned above.
Step 3: Load the Air Fryer
Carefully arrange the orange slices in a single layer on the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding to allow proper air circulation during the drying process.
Step 4: Adjust the Settings
Consult your air fryer's manual to check the dehydrating or lowest temperature setting. Typically, it should be around 135°F (57°C) for drying orange slices. Adjust the time to 4-5 hours, though the exact timing may vary based on your air fryer model and slice thickness.
Step 5: Monitor the Drying Process
Periodically check the progress of the drying slices. When they are ready, the orange slices should become dry to the touch and slightly crisp. As with the other drying methods I talked about above, avoid over-drying to preserve the vibrant colors of the oranges.
Air-frying orange slices compared with Other Drying Techniques
The air-frying method offers quick and efficient results, making it a fantastic option for busy crafters. Compared to oven-drying and air-drying, the air fryer method can significantly reduce the drying time. However, you should note that air fryers have limited space, so if you need to dry large quantities of orange slices, other methods might be more practical.
- Try sprinkling on a few of your favorite holiday spices before air-frying to infuse the orange slices with a lovely aroma.
- See my tips for preserving and storing dried orange slices below.
How to Dry Orange Slices for Cocktails
Who said dried orange slices are just for decorations? Elevate your mixology game and add a citrusy touch to your cocktails with these versatile garnishes. Not only do dried orange slices look great, but they also infuse your cocktails with a citrusy flavor and fragrance.
Step 1: Mixology Magic
Whether you are crafting classic cocktails or experimenting with new concoctions, these dried citrus slices add an elegant finishing touch.
Step 2: Best Orange Varieties for Cocktails
When selecting oranges for cocktail garnishes, choose varieties with a balanced flavor profile and vibrant color. Navel oranges, Valencia oranges, and blood oranges are popular choices due to their sweetness and distinct hues. Consider mixing and matching different varieties to create visually stunning cocktails that taste as good as they look.
Step 3: Storing Dried Orange Slices for Future Use
See my tips for preserving and storing dried orange slices, mentioned further down this post.
- To intensify the orange flavor, rehydrate the dried slices by soaking them in warm water, orange juice, or your favorite liquor before using them as garnishes.
- Experiment with different cocktails and let your creativity soar – from classics like Old Fashioned and Negroni to contemporary mixes like Spiced Orange Mule or Citrus Margarita, the possibilities are endless!
Cheers to raising the bar on your mixology skills!
DIY Decorations with Dried Orange Slices
Now that we've explored the various ways to dry orange slices, we can look at some specific DIY decorations you can make with dried orange slices. From gorgeous wreaths to festive garlands and centerpieces, dried orange slices are the star of these seasonal decorations.
Crafting a Beautiful and Aromatic Dried Orange Wreath
Transform your front door and entryway with a stunning dried orange wreath.
Craft a charming and aromatic holiday display by securing dried orange slices onto a grapevine or foam base adorned with traditional holiday foliage and greens. Hang the wreath on your door with a festive ribbon, welcoming your guests with the delightful scent of citrus as they walk into your home.
Additionally, you can create a simple yet charming holiday wreath using only orange slices. When hung in your indoor windows, these orange slice wreaths give off a pretty stained glass effect.
Creating Festive Garlands for Various Occasions
Garlands add incredible versatility and charm to mantels, staircases, and covered outdoor spaces like porches or entryways. Craft a lovely dried orange garland by stringing the slices together with twine or a thin ribbon. Mix in other elements like eucalyptus leaves, holly berries, dried flowers, ferns, or grasses to suit different occasions, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even summer gatherings.
Incorporating Dried Orange Slices into Table Settings and Centerpieces
Add a touch of elegance to your holiday table with dried orange slice accents. Use them as napkin rings, or scatter them around the centerpiece with sprigs of pine, candles, and seasonal foliage. The citrusy aroma and vibrant colors create a warm and inviting atmosphere for your festive meals and gatherings.
- To add a special touch, incorporate dried orange slices into your other Christmas decorations, such as your Christmas tree, or weave them into a garland over the fireplace.
- As your decorations age, the dried orange slices will maintain their charm, and the scent may be mellow. You can refresh their fragrance by adding a drop or two of orange essential oil.
- Add dried orange slices to a natural salt dough garland like the one I made to drape across our fireplace last Christmas.
Tips for Preserving Dried Orange Slices
Since we're going to the trouble of drying our orange slices, we may as well store them properly to extend their shelf life. With some care and attention, your dried orange slices can continue to grace your decorations with their beauty throughout the year.
Check out the valuable tips below to help maintain your homemade citrus slices in excellent condition.
Step 1: Proper Storage
Store dried orange slices in an airtight container or resealable bag to preserve their freshness and color. Ensure the container is closed tight to prevent air and moisture from affecting the orange slices. Store them in a cool, dry place in your pantry, away from direct sunlight, which can cause fading.
Step 2: Protect from Dust
When not using your dried orange slices, shield them from dust by keeping them in a secure container. Alternatively, display them in decorations with glass or clear protective covers so you can enjoy their beauty while safeguarding them from dust accumulation (see my pro tips below).
Step 3: Occasional Refreshing
Over time, the natural scent of the dried orange slices may gradually fade. Add a drop or two of orange essential oil to the storage container and gently toss the orange slices to distribute the fragrance evenly.
Step 4: Avoiding Exposure to Moisture
Moisture is the enemy of dried orange slices. Ensure they are entirely dry before storing them to prevent mold or deterioration. When using them in decorations, keep them away from sources of humidity, such as humidifiers or areas prone to moisture.
Step 5: Gentle Cleaning
If your dried orange slices accumulate dust or dirt, gently clean them with a soft, dry cloth. Avoid using water or harsh cleaning agents because they can affect the slices' texture and color.
- For added protection and an attractive display, consider using a glass cloche or jar to showcase dried orange slices as part of a small arrangement or holiday vignette.
- Repurpose and recycle! If you have dried orange slices left from the holiday season, incorporate them into spring or summer decorations for a touch of sunny charm.
Did you enjoy learning how to dry orange slices for your summer and Christmas decorating projects? From oven-drying to air-frying, dehydrating, and inspiration for creative DIYs and crafts, we've explored the entire world of dried orange slices. Whether crafting beautiful wreaths, adding a citrusy twist to your cocktails, or creating charming centerpieces, these little gems will add a touch of natural beauty and festive aroma to your home. Now, it's over to you to let the crafting magic begin!
Take a Peek at Our Popular Tutorial:
Christmas Ornaments from Air-Drying Clay
Don't forget to check out our popular craft tutorial – 'How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Air-Drying Clay.' The tutorial teaches you how to turn air-drying clay into adorable and personalized ornaments, perfect for gifting or adding a personal touch to your tree. If you are looking for unique and heartfelt Christmas ornaments to make, this tutorial is a must-see!
More DIY Christmas decorations
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