how to dry & decorating with orange slices

by | Nov 14, 2021 | All Things Home, crafts, Decorating, Holiday, Tutorials, Winter | 23 comments

This holiday season, I am in the mood to do some crafting…even more than usual.  Last year, I had a lot of plans, but most of them went undone.  It was a busy year and I just had to continue to let things fall off of my to-do list.  But, this year, I’m excited about creating some homemade holiday decorations, so I’ve started early!  Saturday morning, I sliced up some oranges to turn into decor and I thought I would share how to dry and decorate with orange slices.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

how to dry orange slices

Preheat oven to 170°.  Slice fresh oranges into about 1/4″ slices, discarding ends.  You can also use blood oranges, grapefruit, lemons, or any citrus fruits.  I’ve even done this technique with apple slices to make an apple cinnamon garland.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

Arrange on a cookie sheet.  I was able to put about 8 oranges, sliced, onto two cookie sheets.  Since they will shrink a bit as they dehydrate, you can pack them on.  Just make sure oranges aren’t overlapping.  Now, here is where I learned a lesson.  I put the oranges on parchment paper and that ended up helping them retain some moisture.  It wasn’t a big deal, because I just left them in the oven for a longer period of time and I flipped them over.  But, when I dry oranges next time, I will put them on wire cooling racks so the dry, warm air of the oven can reach both sides the entire time.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

I noticed that the orange slices went through phases of smelling great and smelling terrible!  Sometimes it smelled like I had some delightful citrus dessert in the oven and other times it smelled like orange rinds were almost burning.  I ended up keeping them in the oven for about eight hours.  When drying oranges or other fruit slices, the goal is to completely dehydrate them, not cook them, which is why they are cooked very low and slow.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

I love how the color of the oranges is muted, but they are still a rich orange, almost an amber.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

how to decorate with dry orange slices

Now that we’ve talked about how to dry the orange slices, let’s talk about how to decorate with them.  The options really are limitless from using them for present-toppers to stringing them into a garland or making a wreath, but I’ll share just a couple of ways I’ve used them in my Christmas decorating this year.

The first way I used the dried orange slices was to string them onto some baker’s twine and hang individual slices as ornaments.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

I used a large upholstery needle to thread the twine into the orange.  Just make sure you’re inserting it into a spot where the rind is thick and surdy.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

I hung them on the small tree in our kitchen eating area.  I think it would be so pretty to decorate an entire tree with orange slices, cranberry garland, and other natural elements.

For my tree, I used vintage-style candle clips and candles and some gingerbread ornaments that I actually kept from last year as an experiment!  I put them in a ziplock back and figured I could just throw them away if they spoiled.  Well, they did just fine.  I was never planning to eat them, anyway, so as long as they look okay and aren’t moldy, they are useable.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

The combination of the dried orange slices, gingerbread, and candles is just perfect for this sweet little tree.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

The second idea for how to decorate with dry orange slices is to simply tuck them into greenery.  I added a few to my mantel.  I’ll share my full mantel soon, but I changed things up a bit for this winter season.  And, I sort of found myself adding a bit of a southern vibe with shells I collected from Isle of Palms this summer and some faux magnolia leaves.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

If you’re adding the dry orange slices to a wreath or hanging garland, just thread them on some florist wire to attach them securely.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

As a note, the stag antler that you have a peek at is faux!  It comes in a set of three and they look so real.  You can find them HERE.

how to dry and decorate with orange slices | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

This project is a great way to mix up your holiday decor this year without having to buy new decorative elements to store.

Have you ever dried orange (or citrus slices) before?  For those who have, do you have any tips to share that I missed?  How long do the dry orange slices generally last?

23 Comments

  1. Denise

    I’d love to see a full picture of your mantle.

    Reply
    • Trish

      Me too! XO Trish from The Purple Painted Lady

      Reply
    • Amy

      For any nature lovers, we hung dried fruit slices, cranberry garlands and peanut butter pine cones (rolled in bird seeds) on a small outdoor pine for years when our girls were young. They loved watching all their nature friends enjoy the tree!

      Reply
  2. Kristin Gjertsen

    I made dried apple and orange slices two years ago. Smelled absolutely wonderful. I put them away with the Christmas decorations and discovered they were completely dry and still intact the next year. The scent had faded, so I used some lemon oil, and cinnamon oil to make them spicy again. I love natural decorations for holidays–pine cones, big acorns from a neighbor down the street (with permission of course), Holly and berries from the bushes in our back yard (no small children in our home so safe to do so), wreaths fluffed up with Holy, pine tree branches, and fresh oranges and apples. For Thanksgiving, I have collected some of the beautiful fall leaves and added them to bowls of faux pumpkins of different colors, scented pinecones, and acorns. I change the foliage out when it gets too dry and put the dried out stuff in the compost pile. Your arrangement is beautiful.

    Reply
  3. Ronda

    I have wanted to try my hand at drying citrus and you have provided the how and inspiration to do so. I love the glimpses of your own decor. Thank you for this most excellent post.

    Reply
  4. Babs

    I have dried orange slices in the past and I was pleasantly surprised how many “miles” I could get of of them. I also put some in potpourri I had made from local ingredients.

    Your mantel looks lovely and so natural…so in keeping with the whole house.

    Reply
  5. Betsy

    Dried oranges two years ago and strung them with mini cinnamon/applesauce gingerbread cut outs. I keep them hung in my kitchen all year. I put a little natural orange extract on the slices with a q-tip a few times a year.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Such a good idea! I will add a little essential oil if they need a boost!

      Reply
  6. Cindy W.

    Very cute but do they end up as tasty cat toy treats with your little kitties? LOL!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      They are not interested in them at all! I have an anti-scratching spray that I use on the base of the Christmas tree (since Violet will chew on the light strings) and it is cirtus-based, which is a deterrent to cats. I’m guessing that’s why they aren’t interested…

      Reply
  7. Karen R.

    I guess I’m overlooking the oven temperature. Help me out, please!

    Reply
    • Cathy M.

      Karen, it says to preheat the oven to 170°.

      Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, the oven should just be set at 170. You can get away with having the temp up a little bit higher, which will be quicker, but they won’t dehydrate as well. This is a good project to have going in the background when you’re just hanging out at home for the day and don’t feel rushed. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Karen B.

    I made dehydrated oranges last year and vowed to make more this year since I loved the way they looked on my tree and elsewhere. I think I didn’t cook them for as long as 8 hours and they were good. I like your idea of using a rack to bake them. Thank you for always giving such clear step-by-step instructions.
    The mantle looks wonderful.
    Karen B.

    Reply
  9. Debra Naifeh

    I made these last year and while they were sitting out on the counter my husband asked me what those “weird cookies” were and I realized he had taken a bite of one! Pretty, but not too yummy.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Oh my gosh, that is so funny! Yeah, I can’t imagine they are too tasty!

      Reply
  10. peters jackie

    I have a dehydrator ….do you think that will do the same ?

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Oh yeah! I think that would work great.

      Reply
  11. jinny spencer

    Many air fryers have a dehydrate function – saves leaving the oven on for 8 hours.

    Reply
  12. Kim

    Thanks for this post! I was just thinking about doing this a couple of days ago, and now I’ve got some tips.

    Reply
  13. Nancy P

    yes, done the lemon and oranges. Also used to do the Williamsburg apple and lemon cones. One tip, as I see you have Magnolia leaves (and can be used for holly and other plants), dip them in Mop and Glow floor wax. seals the moisture in.

    Reply
  14. Vicki

    Your mantel is stunning! It would fit right into historic Williamsburg! I guess dried oranges make their way around every 20-30 years and become “a thing” all over again. I had forgotten how beautiful they were until I started seeing them pop up everywhere. I dried some a few weeks ago to use in my tablescape and possibly on my mantel. Thanks for sharing your technique. I didn’t dry mine as low or as long as yours but they came out well. I did dry on racks and left them out on the racks all day and overnight.

    Reply
  15. Crystal Brown

    Love your mantel! I dried oranges last year with the cooling rack method, came out great. As to the gingerbread ornies…. I made salt dough and colored it with watered down brown paint to make them look like gingerbread and they lasted for years. I think I finally threw them out a couple of years ago, I always seal mine with a matte sealer…. I may try to make them again and try Flat Out Flat sealer on them since I don’t want any shine at all. Flat Out works so well on furniture, will be interesting to see if it works on salt dough! Love your posts, thank you!

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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