Dried citrus fruit is one of those statement Christmas decorations that you just love. Easy and cheap to make too. I also like the process itself, the smell of oranges fills the kitchen for hours and gets you in that Christmas mode in no time.
You can use any citrus fruit, I haven’t tried lime and grapefruit yet, but oranges, lemons and mandarins worked well. When buying pick the nice and healthy looking ones. Wash, dry and slice the fruit – approximately 1 cm wide. If you go thinner they will take less time to dry, the slices will have a much ‘drier’, but they might burn or curl if too thin. Thicker slices will take more time to dry properly and will more likely stay in the right shape. Either way, make sure they are as even as possible. Don’t throw away any ‘imperfect’ slices and segments – these will be very handy for mulled wine:-)
Place the slices on a drying rack leaving a gap between each slice to allow the hot air to circulate evenly.
Put it into a warm oven, around 110°C / 230 °F (fan) for 2-3 hours. You can set a lower temperature if possible, but not higher – you want your fruit to dry not to bake. I usually leave the oven’s door slightly open to allow the moist to get out (and that beautiful smell too).
Take the rack out when done and put somewhere to cool down. As soon as your slices are cooled they are ready to use, but you can leave them out to dry more for a few hours, days or even weeks!
There are many ways to use dried oranges and other fruit for decorations, my favourite:
- to make ornaments for Christmas tree or to hang around the house
- to use in wreaths
- to decorate presents
- to use in a glass or a bowl to decorate the table
To make ornaments, pierce a small hole near the top of your fruit (below the rind) and string with ribbon or wire. I recommend using the wire so the hole won’t be visible and it will allow you to attach the ribbon to it or make a bow on it more easily.
Have a beautiful Christmas!