DRIED ORANGE SLICES FOR AN OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS

how to make dried orange slices

You can take your seats and relax because this is probably the easiest and most effective Christmas decoration in existence.  Unless you count setting out a box of After Eight dinner mints Christmas decorating. Which I do.  So, let me rephrase … this is probably the second easiest and most effective Christmas decoration in existence.

Dried orange slices.  Slice, bake, hang.  Those are your instructions.

how to make dried orange slices

You might think with something so simple that the results would be mediocre. They are not. The results are spectacular.

You can hang them on a tree. set them in a bowl or tuck them into garland. The choice is yours because dried orange slices are incredibly accommodating. They’ll give you no trouble at all.

how to make dried orange slices

There are really only three things you need to remember.

How to make dried orange slices.

  1. Cut orange slices to around 1/4″ thick.
  2. Set them on wire cookie racks, not a metal cookie sheet (because they can stick and don’t dry as evenly)
  3. Bake them at the lowest temperature your oven goes to for 4-6 hours or until no stickiness remains.

drying orange slices in the oven

For me that was 150F.

TIP – I bought most of my oranges from the reduced produce section. They were bruised and weird. And they all turned out perfectly.

Let them dry until when you touch them they don’t feel sticky at all.  That can take from 4-6 hours depending on how thick the slices are and how juicy the orange is.

dried orange slices

When they’ve finished drying just remove them from the oven, call yourself Laura Ingalls and look for a place to set them.

The oranges I had on the lower rack of my oven turned out darker than the ones higher up in the oven. If I’d checked on them more often I could have removed the lower ones so they didn’t darken quite as much, but I actually like the variation in colours.  You could also rotate your pans throughout the drying process.

traditional christmas tree

They’re a thing of beauty. And they took 12 seconds.  O.K. they took 6 hours, but the prep time was 12 seconds.   You slice an orange. That’s it.

dried orange slices as Christmas ornaments

The magic  happens when the tree lights come on.  If you place or orange slices in the vicinity of a lightbulb they GLOW like stained glass.  This isn’t some sort of Photoshop magic, this is how the dried orange slices look at night with the tree on.

These orange slices combined with the DIY tree candles has resulted in the most beautiful Christmas tree I’ve ever had.

glowing dried orange slices on Christmas tree

Plus my tree will never get a cold which is an added bonus.

You could hang the oranges with ribbon or twine but I wanted the orange slices and only the orange slices to show up so I just shoved a regular tree ornament hook through them which disappears once they’re on the tree.

Technically they’re edible but after the box of After Eights you probably won’t be very hungry anyway.

 

65 Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    Oh those are gorgeous Karen truly gorgeous. I have one question if you put couse salt on them first might it not have drawn some of the moisture out of the slices prior to putting them in the oven ?
    Just wondering…

    • Karen says:

      It might Lynn, but I don’t think it would make much of a difference in terms of the drying time. Regardless it’s going to take hours to dry them. ~ karen!

  2. Lynn says:

    Oh me oh my I am first 🎄🎄🎄👏👏👏

  3. Peggy says:

    Do my eyes deceive me, or do I see a ruby red grapefruit on your cutting board? Did you do some of those, too, and how did they turn out? Might be fun to play with assorted citrus. Let’s see… you could have orange, yellow, green and red.

    I love this idea and it’s so easy!
    Thank you, Karen!

  4. Brenda says:

    LVE the subtle visual allusion to grapefruit (leading to Omg … limes … and … holy crap – tomatoes, ooo-la-la against the green, and white mushrooms, etc) and that thing going on just under the surface of this post… aka the lead up to it … vis a vis the whole thing with the candles first post … YO the woMan! Ya! Ima gonna put some suga’ on mine an’ eat ’em … with some 8 o’clock thin mints, and put my feet up and listen to Xmas muzak, close my eyes and pretend I got a tree goin’ on in the background

  5. Karen Hamilton says:

    Orange magic! I was just thinking it would be nice to put these on trees outside and maybe the birds will like them too! I’m going to try it!
    Karen Too

  6. MaggieB says:

    Ooooh! Aaaaaah! Gasp! Sigh! Firstly, brilliant photography skills, if I had to say favourite the shot down the counter, just beautiful composition. Secondly, tried doing this last year, thought the kitchen would smell amazing. Disaster and burnt marmelade aroma. Going to follow your instructions this year. Finally, thanks for the reminder about After Eights, on the shopping list, the originals, not those nasty shaped horrors they’ve tried to introduce – bah, humbug!!
    An absolutely gorgeous Christmas tree, bravo!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks MaggieB. 🙂 What’s funny is I tried simmering these in water with cloves afterwards thinking they’d smell up my kitchen nicely. Nope. They didn’t smell at all, lol. At least they didn’t smell like burned marmalade. 😉 ~ karen!

  7. TucsonPatty says:

    Those are gorgeous! Do they smell of orange after baking? While baking? When the tree lights are near? I’ll just spray the tree with citrus oil? I saw the grapefruit, and thought, also, that you were going to tell us to use grapefruit, limes, lemons, heck, even a kiwi or two. It looked like a good grapefruit to eat, instead. The tree lookd gorgeous. I love the DIY of it all. Next will be cranberries and popcorn? ( I’ve thad rid that and the popcorn breaks and the cranberries split…I don’t know how they did it! Now that I think about it – stale popcorn would probably be a good idea. It is so dry here in Arizona that everything like that just shatters… : /

  8. Amber says:

    I have a mandolin slicer.

    I have an orange tree (well, rangpur lime, but that is close enough)

    I must do this.

  9. bruce says:

    hoping you’re single
    not trolling,just hoping.
    enjoying the posts,and the attitude.
    expect this to be deleted.Yet would love to meet a woman such as yourself.
    some age appropriate widower
    bruce

  10. Cyd says:

    A few years ago I used my food dehydrator and dried oranges like the ones you did and added them to strings of dried cranberries, popcorn, and cinnamon sticks. I also hung some of the dried oranges on individual hooks, too. Looked pretty cool. No, really. It did!

  11. Catt-in-KY says:

    Really beautiful!

  12. Miriam Mc Nally says:

    I did this many years ago, and still have those oranges!
    If they are really well dried (and they do continue to dry even more when hanging on the tree!), then wrap them in tissue paper and store wit your decorations for next year.
    Also, you can make candied fruit in a similar way, at the same time, just chop the skins and add sugar, and bake! Not for too long- google will tell you exactly how long!

  13. Sandra Lea says:

    Wow, this is kismet. I have a bag of oranges sitting on my counter and just last night I was thinking I had to look up on the internet how to dry oranges. Done!

  14. Nicole Sparks says:

    I wonder if you could also package them with some spices and send them to friends as potpourri? Do they smell orange-y at all after baking? That’d be cool on a wreath at the door – a waft of orange every time you open it.

    • Karen says:

      There’s no wafting I’m afraid. They really don’t smell at all. I even simmered the on the stove and … nothin’. :/ They look good though! ~ karen

  15. Julie says:

    Wondering if using my food dehydrator might work as well. The oven is not functional and I’m currently cooking all meals on the grill or (gasp!) the Instant Pot.

    Beautiful tree!

  16. Ev Wilcox says:

    Your tree is stunning-it looks like a back-in-time tree. Well done Karen!

  17. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    Beautiful, Karen. Wouldn’t it be pretty with blood oranges, regular oranges, pink grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc? Love the concept and the various ways to use it.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Sherry! I was going to do a variety of citrus but for the kind of look I wanted thought one type would look better. But I’d love to see someone else do it. ~ karen!

  18. Alexandra says:

    That is a beautiful tree, Karen!

    My mom makes the orange slices in the Kachelofen (I don’t know if there is an English word for it, it’s a wood-burning stove built out of bricks/stones/something and covered with ceramic tiles on the outside) and they turn out perfectly. Much better than in my oven, which is why I am going to email my mother as soon as I finish writing this, and I’ll ask her to make me some new slices. 🙂

    • Peggy says:

      Just a thought, Alexandra, but you might try lining the bottom rack of your oven with UNGLAZED tiles from a tile store – just measure your oven rack surface area and buy the size and number to mostly fill it; then the tiles will help absorb moisture and dry whatever is in the oven while you’re baking. (Works well with bread too for a crispy crust, especially if you spray water into the oven when you put the bread it: crust galore! ) I keep a short stack of tiles handy – very inexpensive – we’re talking under $10.

  19. Mary W says:

    Your tree is a thing of beauty! I made orange slices in a dehydrator then made a huge wreath using them got glued to a grapevine. It was gorgeous. But, since I live in Florida, it was moldy in no time which even made a moldy ring on the wall which I had to paint. Next time, I will use them as you did – not next to a wall. Best part – just throw away after Christmas and make fresh ones next year! Can’t wait to see your table decorations with this beautiful old fashioned flair. All that’s missing is Clark’s Good Old Fashioned Fun Family Christmas playing in the background.

  20. This Laura Ingalls says “Well done half-pint!” Your tree is gorgeous.

  21. Well, for once, I beat ya to it. I put dried oranges on the tree we drug in the house that the teenager took out with her car. The kids AND my husband talked smack. Said it was weird. Now I have proof that there’s another weirdo out there.

  22. Linda Johnston says:

    Now this I will do!! Thank you!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I saw this post in my feed and smiled at the synchronicity. I just bought oranges for drying for this purpose. I had done this years ago and loved how the slices look like stained glass, particularly if you make sure there is a light behind them, on the tree. I kept those slices in my decoration box for yeeeaarssss. This year I am making them simply because we have CRAZY CLIMBING kittens and we figured if the tree stays standing ( highly unlikely) we could only decorate with lights. Then I saw someone making them on Instagram for the same kitten reason, gotta love Instagram and here we go !

  24. Jean ann says:

    This is the prettiest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen.

  25. Jackie says:

    Your tree looks great. Good job, Karen. Love it. I don’t know where you get all these ideas but keep them coming, girlfriend.

  26. JosephineTomato says:

    I have a question for those of you who have already dried citrus, placed them on the tree AND have a dog 🙂 – was your dog attracted to these? Worried my golden retriever may want to eat them.

    • Jackie says:

      Sorry I don’t have an answer for you but your question reminds me of a story about my sister. She shared a house with my brother for a few years when they were young. She had a cat & my brother had a very large dog. My sister spent many hours making dough ornaments & hung them on the Christmas tree. When my brother & sister got home from work the next day the only thing left of her ornaments were all the heads – as far up the tree that the dog could reach. He ate as many as were in his reach. Then, because the dog & cat would run & play, I think their tree was knocked over at least 3 times because the cat would run & jump in the tree.

  27. Loli says:

    Beautiful Old-fashioned Tree! Questions…Do the oranges drip juice? Should I put a cookie sheet under the cookie racks? Just asking. Don’t want to have to scrub burned on OJ. I want to try this soon. Can’t wait to see your topper.

    • Karen says:

      No juice dripping Loli. It all just slowly evaporates. 🙂 I normally don’t put on a tree topper, but this one is feeling like it might need it. :/ ~ karen!

  28. Kat says:

    This is my most favorite tree that you have done Karen. It looks so nostaglic and simply beautiful. Well Done!

  29. Stefanie B. says:

    Could they be used to decorate packages? I’m stealing your black paper idea and using lush green satin ribbon. The orange would be a great contrast if they aren’t mushy. Suggestions?

  30. Tracie says:

    Simply gorgeous, it’s amazing how you can do something so dramatically different every year. Very creative…

    • Karen says:

      My sister and I were just talking about that the other day. But it’s really all the same stuff that I own, I just mix things up a bit in how I display it. Plus of course I made the candles and oranges this year. 🙂 ~ karen!

  31. Barbara Kemp says:

    yes indeed, i like it!!!!

  32. Katie P NC says:

    My brain just used all it’s power this morning associating my question with this post but- I have recently had a House Wren bird adopt itself to the burlap wreath on my front porch. Feather Locklear (its name) buries itself in the folds of the burlap each night and sleeps there. I’d love to put up some sort of bird buffet around my front door for FL to entice it to stay(even though its been here almost 2 months). I scatter bird seed in a planter close by, a bird bath for water, and feeders set up in the yard but something like this might be fun on the large camelia bush by my porch. Anyone have any suggestions for bird friendly treats?

  33. Kitty McCarty says:

    I’d never dry kumquats! they barely make it from my tree to my kitchen.

  34. Heidi says:

    Hey these are great!!!

    Also do your chickens wear sweaters?

    I would crochet you one if you like 😁

  35. Heidi says:

    Ok I was just thinking an ornamental look for maybe a picture on one of their swings. I am personally not a fan of people clothing on any animals including collars on pets etc. And cmon, it would not have been a stupid sweater. More like one from holts. Lol. I got the gist from your post. Thanks !
    The cat will have to wait. I have some pet beds I am currently busy with. 🐾✌🏼😊 Heidi

    • Alena says:

      Heidi,
      Some dogs really need sweater or jammies. Greyhound, whippets, Italian greyhounds – they have very little body fat and they would really be cold. Whippets and Italian greyhounds literally crave heat and they burrow under covers to stay warm.

  36. Kris says:

    Those are great DIYs, and your tree looks just beautiful!!!

  37. Lez says:

    I realise probably 99% of your readers live in the Northern hemisphere, but down here in the South Africa, we are suffering a terrible heatwave, awful drought & never have regular electricity.
    So for those readers, just stick them on a wire rack in the car, in the sun! They dry in a few hours! Or under a fly cover in the garden, I have sun-dried tomatoes in 3 hours in 40 degrees centigrade!
    Jealous of your rain & cool temperatures… 🙁

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