Drying orange slices
Drying orange slices is a bit of a lost art. It used to be a must-have skill when commercial decorations for Christmas trees weren’t as popular. Back then, every household had to make its own Christmas tree decorations with what was locally available, and orange slices were an integral part of those decorations. Christmas smelled like oranges, literally.
Dried orange slices, however, do more than decorate Christmas trees. The following are some of those uses.
To garnish beverages
You can place a dried orange slice at the rim of the glass you are using to take a beverage as one way of garnishing the drink. Garnishing can also be done by throwing the orange slice into the beverage.
As a mulling spice
Mulled cider or wine is a great way to relax during winter. Having dried orange slices gives you the perfect spice for mulling because the slices improve your drink’s ability to revitalize. Mix your dried orange slices with condiments such as cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg. Put the mixture in your beverage and heat under low heat on a stove.
To scent your homemade candles
You can improve the atmosphere in your home with some homemade scented candles. The scent of oranges is revitalizing. You make these candles by mixing the wax with ground orange slices.
You can use it to make orange zest
When you have dried your orange slices well, you can grind them with a kitchen blender or a seed grinder. Once you have ground the slices, you can store them as zest whenever you want to bake.
Scenting Sugar and Salt
Grind your dried orange slices and mix them in your sugar or salt. Besides giving your salt and sugar a good flavor, they also give you the orange’s nutrients. Ensure you don’t use this sugar with fresh milk because it contains citric acid. The milk will coagulate immediately you put in the sugar.
Besides the above, you can use dried oranges as a nutritious snack to take on the go.
Making Dried Orange Slices with a Fruit Dryer
- Wash the oranges thoroughly with water; you can add some vinegar to the cleaning water.
- Cut the oranges in rings of ¼ inch thickness.
- It is advisable to use seedless oranges to dry. If, however, your oranges have seeds remove them after slicing.
- Arrange the orange slices on dehydrator trays.
- Put them in the dryer and set the heat to 110 degrees. Maintaining heat at this relatively low level will cause the slices to take longer to dry, but the end product will have better quality. Higher temperature will help you dry the slices faster, but it will also reduce the flavor of your oranges.
- The time you need for your slices to be dry will depend on the size of your oranges. Large orange slices can take up to two days, while the smaller ones have dried up within a day. Don’t remove the slices from the dryer until there is no indication of moisture in them.
- Remove the slices from the drier and let them cool under average room temperature.
- Put the slices in airtight containers and store them in a cool dark place. Keeping the slices in the dark place will keep them from losing their color.
Drying Orange Slices Using an Oven
- Wash the oranges thoroughly using water and vinegar. The heat will most likely destroy any germs in the oranges during drying, but it is still important to wash the oranges before cutting.
- Cut the oranges into ¼ inch slices.
- Heat your oven to 2000 F.
- Put your orange slices on a cookie sheet.
- Keep the fruits in the oven for two and half hours which is the minimum time your oranges need to dry. Check to see if the oranges still have moisture. You can keep them in the oven for a few more minutes if they aren’t dry.
You can lower your oven’s heat to 1700 F and keep the slices in the oven for up to six hours. This might improve the quality of the final product.
Ensure the slices don’t remain in the oven for much longer than necessary to keep the oil in the slices for better quality.
You can airdry your orange slices by keeping them under a shade until they dry. Be careful to try this option only during summer when there is less humidity in the air.
It will take a few days for the slices to dry, so ensure you keep them in a safe place. You may need to turn them from time to time, depending on the position on the place where you are drying them.
You may combine both oven-drying or fruit drier with airdrying. This combination works when you dry the slices in the oven or fruit dryer for a while and remove them when they still have a little moisture remaining. Airdry them for some time to eliminate the remaining moisture.
More on the Slices
Dried orange slices can remain unspoiled for up to two years if you store them well. You should be aware that these slices may lose their vitality after some time.
One can tell that the orange slices are on a downward spiral if you see the fruity part of the slice gets darker. This doesn’t mean that the slice is spoilt; you can still use it, but it has a lower nutritional value.
The slices will become moldy if you don’t allow them to dry completely. Moldy slices are poisonous, and you should throw them away as soon as you realize they are spoiled. The smell of mold should be an easy giveaway because it obscures even the poignant smell of orange in your slices.
Dried orange slices retain their original taste even when dried. This, however, may be dependent on how carefully you follow the drying instructions. They may lose the flavor if you keep them in the oven or the fruit dryer for too long.