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Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges 

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Dried oranges on a white plate for Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges.

There’s something magical about the sweet and tangy flavor of oranges, and what better way to enjoy this burst of sunshine year-round than by drying them with a dehydrator? Drying oranges not only intensifies their flavor but also provides a versatile and healthy snack that can be used in various culinary creations and many crafts.

In this article Preserving Sunshine: A guide to making dehydrated oranges, we’ll take you through the simple yet rewarding process of making dehydrated orange slices, and other citrus fruits with a dehydrator. In addition to oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit also dry beautifully in a dehydrator. 

Dehydrating citrus fruits is a wonderful way to preserve their vibrant flavors and enjoy the essence of sunshine all year round. Whether you’re a fan of oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruits, the dehydration process can intensify the natural sweetness and tanginess of these fruits while providing a convenient and versatile ingredient for various culinary applications. They are great for any time of year- as summer sun catchers and adorning garlands or the Christmas tree during the holiday season.

Selecting the Perfect Oranges Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges 

Up close picture of sliced oranges.

Before diving into the drying process, it’s essential to choose ripe and fresh oranges. Opt for varieties with a vibrant color and a firm texture, ensuring a delightful end product. Washing the oranges thoroughly will remove any dirt or residue, setting the stage for a clean and flavorful drying experience. There are a variety of oranges to choose from. In this guide, I use naval and blood oranges. Here are some suggestions:

  • Navel oranges
  • Valencia oranges
  • Blood oranges
  • Cara Cara oranges
  • Satsuma oranges
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Clementine oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Minneola tangelos
  • Ortanique tangelos
  • Ugli fruit

Preparing the Citrus Slices For Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges 

2 oranges sitting on a white cutting board with a knife.

Once you’ve gathered your oranges, it’s time to transform them into delectable dried slices. Begin by slicing the oranges into uniform rounds, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Consistency in thickness ensures even drying, giving you a batch of perfectly dehydrated citrus. A sharp knife or a mandoline slicer works well to slice oranges and other citrus. 

Enhancing Flavor and Texture

For an extra flavor boost, consider optional pre-treatment methods. Soaking the citrus slices in a sugar or honey solution can impart sweetness, while a quick dip in lemon juice helps prevent browning, maintaining the vibrant color of your oranges.

Loading Up the Dehydrator

2 dehydrator racks with slices of oranges for Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges .

Arrange the citrus slices on the dehydrator screen trays in a single layer, be sure to leave space between them for optimal air circulation. This step is crucial for efficient and uniform drying. Adjust the dehydrator racks in the dehydrator, preparing your machine for the transformative journey that lies ahead. I put all the ends and orange peels on a tray to dry along with the slices.

Setting the Stage for Drying

Oranges drying in a dehydrator for Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges.

Select a temperature suitable for drying citrus fruits – typically around 125°F to 135°F (52°C to 57°C). The drying time may vary based on factors like the thickness of the slices and the specific type of orange. Be patient and monitor the process, adjusting as needed.

The dry time for my oranges, lemons, and limes was around 18 hours. Again, the amount of time will vary depending on thickness and your settings. 

Testing for Perfection

Pink thumb nail holding an orange slice.

As your kitchen fills with the delightful aroma of drying oranges, periodically check for dryness. The slices should be pliable and leathery, with no moisture when squeezed. When dry, the orange slices should come up from the trays easily with no excess moisture visible. Conduct a taste test to ensure the flavor is concentrated and delightful if you will be eating them. 

Cooling and Storage For Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges 

Once the drying process is complete, allow the dried orange slices to cool completely before storing them. Place the slices in an airtight container (like a mason jar) if used for food-related activities. If used for crafts or decoration, leave them in an open container to preserve their freshness and allow them to dry out completely. Store your citrusy treasures in a cool, dark, and dry place, away from moisture and heat. For best results 

Tips and Troubleshooting For Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges 

4 dried citrus slices in a square blood orange, orange, lemon, and lime for Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges .

1. The thickness of the orange slices will determine the drying time. (thin slices will dry faster, thick slices will take longer)

2. The higher the temperature, the more browning you will get. 125 degrees F has always worked for me. 

3. When you can easily flip the slices over they are done. 

4. Citrus slices will continue to dry in the air if they are still a little sticky. 

5. Let the slices harden and cool completely before using. 

6. Different tray positions in the food dehydrator, as well as, how full you have it will determine dry time. 

Explore additional tips for successful drying, and be prepared to troubleshoot common issues such as over-drying, under-drying, or uneven drying. With a bit of experimentation, you’ll become a master at preserving the essence of oranges.

​Drying Oranges In The Oven

If you do not have access to a dehydrator, citrus slices can be dried in the oven. I have not found this method to work all the well for me. My oven’s lowest temperature is 170 degrees F and I use a low temperature of 125 degrees F to dry my citrus. The higher heat might dry them faster but the color is duller and they can easily burn. If you do use an oven here are some suggestions.

  • Place orange slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake on the lowest setting – typically 2-4 hours
  • Check often and maybe leave the oven door cracked periodically
  • Cool on a wire rack

Culinary Adventures with Dried Oranges

4 dried citrus slices in a row blood orange, orange, lemon, and lime for Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges .

Beyond snacking, dehydrated orange slices can elevate your culinary creations. Here are some awesome ways to use dried oranges and other citrus fruits. Experiment by incorporating them into salads, desserts, or as a flavorful addition to your favorite beverages. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Here are some of my favorite ways to use them:

  1. Citrus Suncatcher: Create a beautiful suncatcher by hanging pre-dried citrus slices on twine or fishing line from a wooden stick. Let it catch the sunlight and cast enchanting patterns.
  2. Simmer pots: Add sliced citrus to simmer pots or simmer pot gifts (place dry orange slices, pine, cinnamon sticks, and cranberries in a glass jar)
  3. Magical Pouches: Add them to magical pouches because the citrus wheels represent the sun, strength, and the cycle of nature.
  4. Decorate handmade brooms: Add color and meaning to your crafts.
  5. Garland or Bunting: String together dried citrus slices to craft a festive garland or bunting. Combine them with other elements like beads, greenery, or ribbons for a charming decorative piece.
  6. Potpourri: Mix dried citrus slices with aromatic herbs and spices to create a fragrant potpourri. Place it in bowls around your home or tie it in sachets for a natural air freshener.
  7. Gift Tags: Attach small dried citrus slices to gift tags for a unique and aromatic touch. They can also serve as festive decorations on wrapped presents.
  8. Candle Holders: Decorate candle holders by adhering dried citrus slices to the outside using a hot glue gun. When candles are lit, the warmth releases the citrusy aroma.
  9. Table Centerpiece: Arrange dried citrus slices in a bowl or hurricane vase for a simple yet elegant table centerpiece. Add some candles or fairy lights for a warm ambiance.
  10. Wreaths: Incorporate dried citrus slices into wreaths for a natural and fragrant twist. Combine them with dried flowers, twigs, or other seasonal elements.
  11. Ornaments: Punch a small hole in each dried citrus slice and thread them with twine to create charming ornaments for a citrus-themed Christmas tree, holiday decorations, or general home decor.
  12. Coasters: Seal and laminate dried citrus slices to create unique and fragrant coasters. They not only protect surfaces but also add a touch of natural beauty.
  13. Infused Water or Tea: Drop a few dried citrus slices into a jar of water or your favorite tea for a subtle citrus infusion. It not only looks appealing but also imparts a refreshing flavor.
  14. Natural Christmas Decor: Incorporate dried citrus slices into your Christmas decor. They can be used in wreaths, garlands, and even as part of table settings for a festive and aromatic touch.
  15. Cocktail Garnish: Enhance your cocktails by using dried citrus slices as a decorative and aromatic garnish. They not only look stylish but also infuse your drink with a burst of citrus fragrance.
  16. Cake Decorations: Add beautiful dry orange slices to the top of a cake for a great way to bring in natural color.
  17. Orange Powder: Grind up any completely dehydrated orange slices into powder and use it for baking or drinking. 

Wrapping Up Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges 

Drying oranges with a dehydrator is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to savor the essence of citrus all year long. From snacking to culinary adventures, the vibrant flavor of dried oranges is sure to brighten any dish. I love using dried citrus slices for a variety of crafts.  Embrace the sunshine in your kitchen and embark on the journey of preserving oranges with this easy-to-follow guide. Happy drying!

Cheers,

Sarah

This is the dehydrator I use and love!

“This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may make a commission at no cost to you. Please see my full disclosure policy for more details.”

Recipe Guide For Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges

Preserving Sunshine: A Guide to Making Dehydrated Oranges

"Discover the art of dehydrating oranges with our comprehensive guide. Learn step-by-step techniques to transform fresh oranges into delightful, chewy snacks or zesty additions to your culinary creations. Unlock the secrets of preserving the citrus goodness with tips, recipes, and inspiration for a flavorful and versatile pantry staple."
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Drying Time:18 hours
Total Time:18 hours 10 minutes

Equipment

  • Food Dehydrator with wire racks

Ingredients

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes

Instructions

  • Slice the citrus into oranges into uniform rounds, approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • Load the screen trays with the slices leaving a little space between them.
  • Place the trays into the dehydrator and set the temperature to 125 degree F and the time to 18 hours.
  • Check periodically for doneness.
  • Let cool completely before storing.

Notes

Lemons, limes, and grapefruit can all be dried using the same method. 
This is the food dehydrator I use and love!
“This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may make a commission at no cost to you. Please see my full disclosure policy for more details.”
Course: Garnish
Keyword: Crafts, Dried citrus, Dried oranges
Author: Sarah

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