Making your own dried orange slices at home is so easy. If you’ve admired beautiful desserts, drinks and decorations made with dried citrus slices, you definitely should try your hand at making them yourself. Dried orange slices – or grapefruit, lemon or lime slices – can add a wow factor to your cooking. They also make wonderful gifts.
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Why we love dehydrated or dried oranges
Dried orange slices are a bit of ‘thing’ right now. When dried slowly, oranges and other citrus fruits retain their colour and their attractive shapes. Blood oranges look wonderful, as do red grapefruit.
There are so many ways to use dried citrus. You can:
- add them to your drinks as a spectacular garnish, from mocktails to cocktails or just a simple soda water. If you are partial to a gin and tonic, a slice of dried orange or dried grapefruit looks amazing.
- pop some dried citrus in your tea, hot or iced, to add a burst of flavour.
- garnish your food with dried citrus slices. They add a wow factor to everything from fish or chicken dishes to salads, and of course look wonderful on citrus flavoured cakes and baked goods, like our blood orange loaf cake.
- add flavour to your cooking by using some dried orange in your marinades, casseroles, oatmeal or porridge, or anything that could use a hint of citrus.
- string some dried orange slices together to create a festive garland for your Christmas tree or mantle, or add slices to your wreath.
- half dip dried citrus in dark or white chocolate for a pretty sweet treat.
- package dried oranges, lemons or limes in mason jars or cellophane, tie with matching orange, yellow or green ribbons and you’ll have a lovely homemade gift.
How to make dried orange slices in the oven
The key to beautiful dried orange slices is to dry them slowly, so make sure you have a few hours set aside. Orange slices usually take around 2 to 3 hours to cook. Smaller citrus fruits will dry more quickly.
Choose your ripe citrus and wash well. Here I’ve used a combination of naval oranges and beautiful blood oranges, with their ruby red centres. If you’re using store bought fruit and want to remove any wax coating, you can do that first: see how to remove fruit wax from citrus.
Preheat the oven to 95C (200F). Line 2 baking sheets/trays with non-stick baking sheet or parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the fruit into 5mm (1/5 inch) thick slices. Alternatively, you could use a mandolin to create nice even slices.
Spread the orange slices on the baking trays and place in the oven to dry slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Keep an eye on the oranges and be sure to check regularly. Every 30 minutes, flip the slices over to ensure that they dry evenly and don’t burn.
Orange slices are ready when they are completely dry, (You don’t want any moist flesh remaining, as the fruit won’t keep well and may go mouldy.) If some slices are ready early, simply remove them from the trays and set aside while you finish the rest.
How to store dried orange slices
Well dried citrus slices will keep for a long time if stored properly. Store in an airtight glass jar cool, dark place for up to 18 months. I like to keep dried orange slices in the fridge, ready to be used.
What about other dried citrus fruits?
Yes, you can dry any other types of citrus the same way! Why not try drying lemons, limes, mandarins or grapefruit.
TIP: You’ll need to adjust the cooking time for smaller citrus fruits like lemons and limes, as they dry more quickly and can tend to brown (or even burn) the skin.
You can dry different citruses together at once, but try to only use similar sized citrus on each baking sheet to make it easier to monitor the cooking time.
When you want to make lots of dried oranges
Using the oven to dry orange slices and other citrus fruits is great if you only want to make a small amount. But what if you want to make a lot?
Dehydrating citrus is a great way to preserve your extra fruit if you have lots. Dried orange, grapefruit lemon and lime slices also make a great gift for friends and family. If you are going to make dried oranges slices regularly, you might want to consider buying a dehydrator. These appliances can be a great investment if you regularly like to dry other fruits or seeds, or make your own fruit leathers or other dried snacks. Some people like to use them for drying pet treats, so they can be very handy.
The main advantage of using a dehydrator is that you can usually set a timer and leave the machine to do its thing. Dehydrators use mesh which allows air to circulate all around the citrus slices and dry them evenly, so there’s no need to check and flip the slices regularly.
There are may different dehydrators to choose from. For an entry level model, I like the BioChef Arizona Sol range (available with 6 or 9 trays, giving plenty of room to dry lots of foods at once). They are BPA free and have a clear door so that you can see what is happening inside. If you like to dry smaller foods like seeds, make sure to get some extra non-stick sheets to cover the trays too. They make it easier to clean, which is a plus! The BioChef Arizona Sol 6 is available from Vitality4Life or Amazon.
Other ways to source dried orange, lemon and lime
If you’d love some dried citrus slices to use in your cooking, drinks and decorating, but don’t have the time to make your own, you can always buy some! Our local supermarkets and fruit shops stock locally grown and dried citrus slices, but you can also buy online. I love buying from Etsy sellers for hand dried fruit slices.
More ways with oranges
If you have lots of oranges, check out citrus recipes including our easy orange vinaigrette salad dressing or our spiced orange and cinnamon oats with berries. Or learn how to cut an orange into perfect segments for your salads and desserts.
You can find tips on looking after your orange tree so that you’ll have lots of fruit to enjoy – and dry – in our garden posts.
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