It’s easy to learn how to dry orange slices, as well as other citrus fruits. Use an oven, or dehydrator, to dry citrus in season and use it in teas, baking, and even marinades when it’s no longer in season. Drying is a great way to preserve oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits.
Citrus fruits are often divided into seasons. Lemons are prevalent in summer, oranges in winter and around Christmas, grapefruit are present in late winter and spring. These different citrus have different seasons, and getting them inexpensively in-season means you can dehydrate or dry them for later use.
Oranges have long been used as decorations, especially around the winter holidays. Dried orange slices can be beautiful on a garland, maybe with cranberries and popcorn too. But, Christmas tree ornaments, a wreath, and being ornamental is not the only use of dried oranges, and dried orange slices. They are a great addition to teas, meat dishes, marinades, and also as a snack on their own.
How to Dry Oranges:
If possible use organic oranges, or organic citrus for dehydrating when you intend to leave the peal on. You can dehydrate just the citrus fragments, but drying with the peel on is a bit easier for tea, or other dry uses of the citrus. You get more citrus flavor when preserving the peel alongside the fruit. Unusual citrus types, like blood oranges, are also great to dehydrate.
For dehydrating oranges for snacking, it’s best to work with just the segments. This gives a nice crisp orange snack, without the heightened flavor and slight bitterness from the peel.
Step One: Wash the oranges or other citrus fruit, you can use this fruit and vegetable wash to help clean the peels. Alternatively, boiling water can also help cleanse the peels of non-organic fruit, since it strips wax and the natural oils, in connection with the fruit and vegetable wash. Towel dry the oranges after washing.
Step Two: For dried oranges for snacking, peel and divide the segments. Stab the segments with a fork to encourage dehydration, and lay the peeled slices out on the dehydrator trays.
For slices for decoration, or for tea, slice one end off the whole, unpeeled, orange. Then slice 1/4 inch thick slices. Discard the two ends, as they don’t dry as well, and place the remaining slices on the dehydrator trays.
Use a sharp knife or a mandoline to get even citrus slices. This lets the slices dry evenly, and at the same pace so the entire batch will be ready at the same time.
Step Three: Place dehydrator trays on their rack, or set up the baking sheets, or on a cookie sheet, on your oven racks. In a dehydrator, dry the orange slices at 115F for 12 hours. In an oven, 170F, for six hours turning hourly.
Orange segments are run the same as whole slices when making dried orange slices. Just make sure that the orange segments have the skin punctured, to facilitate drying. Dry them till crisp and they snap cleanly, to make sure they have a low enough moisture content to store.
Step Four: Once the orange slices are dried to a crisp, they can be cooled and stored to use later. Store dried orange segments, or slices, in an airtight container, or use one of these options. If using the orange slices for decoration or garnish, you can also store the orange slices in an air-tight container, in layers, separated by parchment paper or paper towels.
How to Use Dried Orange Slices:
Once you learn how to dry orange slices, you can use them in many different ways. Different types of oranges will dry differently. Mandarin oranges are great to dry in sections, navel oranges and blood oranges to best dried as slices.
Orange slices, and other dried citrus, go great in teas. Dried lemon and mint tea is awesome, and orange and bee balm is another tasty combination. Dried orange slices can also add flavor to dark chocolate bark, or hot chocolate.
A traditional use for dried orange slices is in potpourri displays, along with rose buds, lavender, cinnamon sticks, and other sweetly scented herbs.
If giving dried orange slices as a gift, make sure to include instructions on how to use them in tea.
Surprisingly, whole dried orange slices do taste good as snacks, at least to adults! They have a touch of bitterness, and a very strong citrus flavor that is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the dehydrated fruit. This is due to the natural sugars caramelizing.
Dive into Dehydrating Food:
If you’ve never dehydrated food before, you can start this year. Nearly any fruit or vegetable can be dehydrated. Dehydration is one of the most accessible methods of food preservation, and you don’t even need a dehydrator to get started. You can even dehydrate meat and full meals.
- What’s dehydrating, anyway?—Learn the basics of how dehydrating works, and the essential tips and tools you need to get started with your dehydrator.
- Dehydrating from A to Z—Discover how to properly dehydrate fruits and veggies, meat and fish, and even herbs and spices.
- Meals, snacks, and sides—Put your newfound knowledge to the test with recipes for classic dried foods like Kale Chips and Apple Leather, and full meals like Shepherd’s Pie and Curry Chicken with Rice.
- Pro-tips on food preparation, rehydration, and using your dehydrated food to boost flavor and nutrition.
Start drying your own food today with the Dehydrator Cookbook for Beginners.