Have you ever wondered how people make those gorgeous decorations with dried orange slices? You might see dehydrated orange slices in wreaths or in arrangements, or in mason jars with homemade potpourri along with some anise and cinnamon sticks.
You can use dried orange slices in many different and creative ways!
Dried orange slices also look phenomenal on gift wrapping, especially if you are using a kraft brown wrap with some natural twine. It is easy to string twine through one dry orange slice to make a statement.
Another way to enjoy dehydrated orange slices is in your baking! Decorate a summer cake or cupcake with them, or garnish your drinks. You can garnish winter or summer drinks with dehydrated orange slices!
Imagine a pina colada with an orange slice on the rim of the glass, or a pitcher of ice tea with multicolored orange slices floating in it. Even garnishing a glass of orange juice in the morning makes for a fancy treat.
Or maybe in the winter you would like to enjoy a pomegranate gin and tonic with a dried orange slices, some cranberries and a sprig of rosemary. Cocktail garnishes kick it up a notch, especially for a fun party.
The fact is, having dehydrated orange slices on hand is really great, and they look beautiful when kept in an air-tight mason jar on your counter or cupboard.
How To Dehydrate Oranges
Dehydrating orange slices is really easy to do, and if you know how to dry oranges properly, you can maintain their beautiful color to showcase them like jewels in your baking, garnishes and decorating.
To properly dehydrate orange slices, you are first going to need a good dehydrator for even heat and air distribution, you are going to want to choose the best oranges to dry and then you are going to follow the steps below to get the best results.
Let's explore each of those points to get you on the right path to making healthy and delicious dried slices!
How A Dehydrator Works
A countertop dehydrator is a really amazing kitchen tool if you enjoy making your own healthy snacks and dried herbs, citrus and flowers for décor and garnishes.
A dehydrator is a very easy tool to use and is a great way to dry and preserve food.
With a dehydrator, you can dry:
- fresh oranges and other citrus fruit
- berries - sliced or whole
- kiwi and other tropical fruit
- apple chips
- and more
Dehydrators preserve food by continuously running both a heating element and a fan over the food for hours to dry the water content out. These are located either behind the drying racks or below them, depending on the make and model of the dehydrator.
When the dehydrator is turned on, heating element warms up and the fan blows the warm air over the food which causes the water to evaporate, and because bacteria needs water to thrive, taking the water out of food preserves it since the bacteria is not able to develop.
What To Look For In A Dehydrator
If you are thinking of purchasing or upgrading your dehydrator, it is best to purchase one where the fan and heating element are located at the back of the unit, as opposed to a dehydrator where the fan and heating element are underneath.
- When the fan and heating element are located at the back of the drying unit, the air flows more evenly over your drying racks.
- When the fan and heating element are located on the bottom of your dehydrator where you have to stack the racks vertically above them, you will have to rotate the racks to make sure your food is evenly dried.
The Best Dehydrator For Fruit
The best dehydrator for fruit is this model from Cosori. It's the one that we use, and love.
This is truly a fantastic dryer model with many options in the number of drying racks.
You can choose from:
- 6 dehydrating trays
- 10 dehydrating trays
And of course, this is all dependent on how much food you want to process at a time and what you want to spend.
We switched from our cylinder model dehydrator last year as we wanted to get away from plastic trays. Plus, the fan is located at the back of this model rather than the bottom, so we don't have to rotate the food trays around any more.
Here's what the fan in ours looks like:
The fan at the back provides a great, even and consistent dry, plus, when the fan is located at the back of the unit, you won't get food dripping down onto it. This is definitely a great model, we are super happy with it.
Here it is on The Farmers Cupboard YouTube channel, this is a quick 3 minute video looking at it and making dried apples, pears, fruit leather and jerky:
Another great feature of this food dryer is that the precise temperature control lets you make beef jerky, fruit leather, breadcrumbs, yogurt, dog treats, dried herbs, dried flowers, and more so you can make foods that have a longer shelf life without all the added preservatives.
If you would like to read about the best dehydrators for fruit and compare the models, check out this article, the best dehydrators for fruit, or you can compare it with our article on the best dehydrators for jerky as well!
First, what kind of oranges can you dehydrate?
You can dehydrate the following oranges, and these work very well:
- Navel oranges
- Seville oranges
- Valencia oranges
- Tangelo oranges
- Cara Cara oranges
- Blood oranges
When looking for what kind of oranges make the best dried orange slices, just remember ones that are larger, more firm for thinner slicing, and seedless is even better as you won't have holes left where the seeds were.
Dried Orange Color
If you are look for a variety of color, make sure to throw some blood oranges in there.
Blood oranges have a deep, almost crimson colored flesh that dries beautifully and adds a gorgeous variety in color in whatever you are making. These also look great garnishing a drink like a morning orange juice or mimosa.
There are other citrus fruits you can dry to add in to make a colorful mix; grapefruit, lemons and limes to throw add different color variations. Go ahead and experiment.
Once you have your oranges chosen, it is time to get them ready to dehydrate. Here are the steps to making dehydrated oranges slices - the right way.
Steps For Dehydrating Oranges
Wash, dry and slice your fresh oranges. Try and find firm oranges when looking at the grocery store, these will slice the easiest, especially if you want thin slices.
To cut your orange slices thin; try for 1/8" to 1/4" so a mandolin slicer will work wonderfully for this if you do not have a sharp knife. We recommend using a non-serrated sharp knife though if you do plan to use a knife.
Check price of a great mandolin here
Arrange your orange slices on your dehydrator. You can remove any seeds by hand at this point, but they will likely fall out once the oranges are dehydrated anyways.
Make sure you leave room in between your orange slices so the air circulates properly. A dehydrator with the fan located in the back rather than at the bottom will give you the best results in terms of air circulation.
Read more about the best dehydrator for fruit right here
Set your dehydrator to the fruit setting, or if you have a manual numerical setting, try 135 degrees. You can also add some ground cinnamon if you want your house to smell amazing, or if you plan on using them in mulled wine.
After about 2 hours, you are going to want to check on your orange slices. Feel them with your fingertips. Are they starting to feel a bit dry? It might be a good idea to flip them over now.
*Flipping your orange slices isn't necessary but will ensure an even dry, and may help the fruit from sticking to the trays a bit better.
*If you have a dehydrator where the fan is based at the bottom, now would be a good time to rotate your trays around, moving the furthest tray closest to the fan.
Continue drying your oranges for another hour before checking them again. It can take anywhere from 3 - 7 hours to fully dehydrate your oranges.
You will know they are done when they are completely dry, the you can use dried orange slices in your decorating and garnishes.
How To Store Dehydrated Orange Slices
Once the orange slices no longer have any moisture left in them, they are ready to be either used or stored. For storing dried fruit, keep them somewhere where they will stay dry such as an airtight container.
A sealed Mason jar is our favorite way to keep dried citrus fruits in glass jars, as long as you have a tight fitting lid so your dried orange slices last.
Long Term Food Storage With A Vacuum Sealer
Compare prices of vacuum sealers here
If you are wanting to store your dried oranges and other foods such as apple chips or banana chips for longer, it is worth getting a kitchen countertop vacuum sealer.
From coffee to fruit, vegetables, berries and meat, a vacuum sealer will allow your food to stay fresh for much longer.
For example: Fruit may stay fresh for 2-6 days in the fridge, but if it were vacuum sealed in the fridge it would stay fresh for weeks. If the food were dehydrated and then vacuum sealed, you would have that dried fruit for years.
The Best Vacuum Sealer
See if it is on sale on Amazon here
America's Test Kitchen did several tests on many different makes and models of vacuum sealers and they had a clear winner: Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer. This model is a very popular one.
This vacuum sealer is easy to use, performs beautifully, has an automatic mode, a manual mode, a pulse feature and a gentle feature for delicate foods such as strawberries. It has a nice handle and it only weighs about 6 pounds.
We especially love this one because of the price tag. Long considered a favorite among professionals, the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer is a top choice for performance and price.
Check price of the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer here
Here are some other questions people are asking about dehydrating oranges:
How long does it take to dehydrate oranges in a dehydrator?
It takes anywhere from 3 - 7 hours to make dehydrated orange slices in a dehydrator and to know they are completely dry. Flip your oranges about halfway through to help them from sticking to the dehydrator and to ensure a more even dry. Also you can flip your trays around if the fan is located at the bottom of your dehydrator. This also helps dry them all at the same rate.
How long will dehydrated oranges last?
As long as the oranges slices you dehydrate are completely dry and are properly stored in an air-tight container, they can last up to two years. This goes for most dried fruits.
Are dehydrated oranges a good snack?
Yes, you can eat dehydrated oranges. Citrus has such a high water content in it, that when it is dehydrated, what is left is a very chewy, highly flavorful snack, although you may find it a bit tart. Dehydrated oranges can be a good snack, especially if mixed in with other things such as a trail mix or nuts and sweet snacks such as dark chocolate.
Can you dehydrate oranges without the orange peel?
You can dehydrate oranges without the peel, but if you are going for the aesthetic quality of dried citrus fruit, maybe for gift wrapping, potpourri, tags or any other garnish or décor, the peel really adds that beautiful element. If you only want to dry oranges for snacking, then you can carefully remove the peel with your fingers and slice and dehydrate your oranges.
Do dehydrated orange slices taste good?
Dehydrated oranges are highly concentrated in flavor and taste quite different from the fresh oranges that you know and love. They are also quite chewy. This is all due to the high water concentration of ripe oranges, and without that water present, you are only left with concentrated orange remnants. Go ahead and try dried oranges, it is a matter of taste and preference.
What do you use dehydrated oranges for?
Dehydrated oranges are used as a garnish in cakes, cupcakes, hot and cool drinks and as décor in garland, potpourri, gift wrap, gift tags and cards. They can also be strung together for garland or wreaths.
How do you store dehydrated fruit?
Dehydrated fruit is best kept in an airtight container such as a Mason jar. Alternatively, you can vacuum seal your dried fruit as well, keeping in mind that it may not hold its shape or composition as well as in a glass container, but that will keep them protected and dry for a long time.
What is the best food dehydrator for oranges?
If you are looking specifically for a dehydrator for oranges, you are going to need a dehydrator that has an even distribution of temperature throughout the layers so that the fruit dries evenly.
There are typically two food dehydrator designs: the stand up design and the cylindrical design.
- With stand up dehydrator designs, the fan tends to be read mounted allowing the air to move evenly through your drying racks
- With cylindrical designs, the fan is mounted on the base
- When the fan is mounted on the base, the air has to pass through layers to get tp the next level up all the way tot the top, so you often have to rotate your trays to get an even dry.
Wondering what else you can dehydrate for snacks, preserves and use as décor?
How To Dehydrate Strawberries For A Healthy Snack!
How To Make The BEST Apple Chips
Which DEHYDRATOR is the BEST?? (article)
The BEST DEHYDRATOR (Check today's price!)
Here are some other resources you may be interested in:
BEST Ways To Use Natural Beeswax In Your Home!
Shop for the BEST USA-made cast iron cookware HERE
Beekeeping Equipment List | How To Start
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Hi Wendy, your oranges should last quite a long time if they are totally dehydrated. Decomposition happens when fruit is not dehydrated enough as the bacteria grows in the moisture left inside. If you want to go further, you could try encasing them in epoxy resin. A good resource is www.resintalk.com and there you can learn how to encase dried items in resin. Best of luck!
I was wondering if I could varnish or otherwise seal dehydrated citrus slices to be used solely for decorative purposes only.