Monday, 11 November 2013

the ultimate guide to oven dried orange slices

 I've spent the past few weeks perfecting my oven dried orange slices and hope this will encourage you to try it out at home. Doesn't the words "I made them" sound so much better than "I paid x amount of cash for these".  Making dried orange slices is one of the easiest decorations you can ever make.

Here are a few ideas for using your dried orange slices -  http://bit.ly/1bRTMKz

I use different methods (plain, icing sugar and gelatine powder), which all give beautiful results.

You will need
 oranges (very important ), any size will do.
sharp knife & chopping board
tea towel or kitchen paper
wire rack
most importantly, an oven, preheated to 225F, 110C  or Gas 1/4
(even lower if your oven allows)
My oven is gas. Other appliances may vary
Drying time in oven, approx 2-3 hours (possibly longer)
Placing finished slices on a radiator will also help to complete the dying process.
optional - fork, icing sugar, powdered gelatine, whole cloves

 Let's start with the basic 'plain' method.

Oven Dried Orange Slices
Using your sharpest knife, cut oranges into thin slices, but no more than 1cm thick. 
The thinner the slice, the quicker it will dry and the more opaque it will become. 
I usually insert a fork at one end of the orange, because I love my fingers very much.
 
  Place orange slices between two tea towels or kitchen paper to blot out excess juice.
The more juice you remove, the better they will dry! 
Place directly onto a wire rack (add any orange scraps as these can be used for potpourri) and leave to dry out in the oven for around 2-3 hours. Timing will depend on your oven and thickness of the slices.
I tried placing slices onto greaseproof paper, but they took much longer to dry out.
Turn often to prevent slices sticking to the rack and enjoy the aroma every time you open the oven.
Slices will shrink and darken in colour. When ready, remove from oven, cool and use to decorate your home.

Simple!!!
 Please note: Slices may still be slightly sticky, but they are usable and should not go mouldy.


Oven Dried Orange Slices with Cloves
 If your slices are thick enough, make small holes in the skin with a cocktail stick and insert whole cloves. Do this before you put them into the oven. This can be a little fiddly, but the end result is so pretty. As the slices are thicker it will take longer to dry out.
Any scraps of oranges can also be dried and used as potpourri, add cloves to any thick pieces.
Oven Dried Orange Slices using Icing Sugar 
Generously sprinkle icing sugar onto both sides of the slices. The thinner the slice, the better. 
The sugar gives a shiny candied effect as the slices dry.
The slices may stick (mine didn't), so do turn every now and then, just in case.

 Frosty Oven Dried Orange Slices
Generously sprinkle gelatine powder onto both sides of the slices. 
This gives them a very pretty frosty effect when dry.
These will need to be turned often as they are likely to stick. 
I turned mine every twenty minutes or so, gently prising them off the rack with a spatula, but it' really worth it. When ready, remove from oven, cool on the rack and use to decorate your home.
The orange slices may still be moist or sticky, but will eventually dry out. I recommend trying a small batch first, to see how you go. Remember gelatin powder is not vegetarian. 
  Leave on a tea towel (not a fluffy one) or on the radiator.
 
Aging Dried Orange Slices
Going clockwise you can see how the slices continue to dry out and darken over time. The lightest coloured slices (top right) are fresh from the oven, bottom right are a week old, bottom left, around three weeks old and top left were made last year. I love the mix up of shades!
Please note: Slices may still be slightly sticky, but they are usable and should not go mouldy.

 Useful Tips
 I stored last years decorations in a sealed food bag and they were fine. Other sources have recommended storing in paper bags or a towel. This year I will store mine in different ways to find the best method for storage.
 Update: November 2014
I stored some slices in a paper bag and some in a plastic bag, both with cinnamon and cloves.
Some still had a slight stickiness to them, but ALL were mould free! 


Dry scrap pieces of oranges, including peelings, to use in Potpourri.
add clove, dried cranberries and cinnamon sticks to the mix.
 Here are a few more ideas for using you orange slices -  http://bit.ly/1bRTMKz

The 'Plain' and 'Icing Sugar' methods are both edible, so don't worry too much if the children try to bite into those.

If you are vegetarian you may not wish to use gelatin. I'm not sure if you can get a vegetarian option or whether it would have the same effect. Here's your chance to experiment.

Try using lemon and grapefruit slices to jazz things up a bit. Sliced lemons look great in potpourri, especially if they still have their seeds.
dried lemon
Apparently the acid may discolour the metal rack, but mine are already discoloured so I'm not bothered, but if you're bothered then use old ones.

Always use a clean rack for each batch, you wouldn't want any brown bits on your slices.
Soak metal racks in hot water using washing powder and give them a good scrub.

Hope this guide has been useful!
Any questions, do ask and I'll try my best to answer them.

Barrina xx 

41 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this guide. Perfect! :-)

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  2. Lovely step-by-step guide! Inspiring the Christmas spirit in me already...

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  3. Thanks very much for taking the time to share this information - it is very much appreciated.

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  4. Love this. Thank you and I'm planning to make Jaffa cakes with these ~

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  5. How do you know when they are done and ready to use in crafts? I want to make them into decorations. 10 days after being in the oven for 3 hours they are still soft and sticky - I don't want them to go mouldy!?

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    1. Firstly, I must apologize for not answering sooner. I rarely look at my blog and I haven't been receiving notifications, as they have all ended up in my email junk box.

      Answer: Pressing out as much juice as possible helps. You can leave the slices for a longer period, in the oven, but remove as soon as the rind starts to brown. Mine are still a little sticky (even last years batch, which I've just unpacked), but most importantly they are mould free! The 'plain' slices were less sticky. Hope this is helpful!

      Here's how I used mine http://bit.ly/1bRTMKz

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  6. loved this, will dry today as it is really difficult to find good natural christmas decorations.
    Have you any thoughts on long christmas garlands - about 2 feet long that you can swag over a fireplace or place in the middle of a table?
    averill

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    1. Hi Averill, firstly, I must apologize for not answering sooner. I rarely look at my blog and I haven't been receiving notifications, as they have all ended up in my email junk box.

      Here are a few ideas for using your slices http://bit.ly/1bRTMKz
      Hope this is useful!

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  7. Mine were sticky too - I put them in the microwave in between paper towels and it helped!

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    1. Mine are still slightly sticky, but I like your idea of using the microwave, will try that out myself. Thanks for the tip!

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  8. Thanks so much for this comprehensive guide. I'm inspired to have a go and put them on presents.

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  9. Thank you for helpful tips and information

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  10. Great pics and tips...thanks so much...I am really looking forward to getting going on these... Merry Christmas x

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  11. thank you so muh for saying that your slices are still a bit sticky when they come out the oven, I thought I had done it wrong and almost threw the batch away, I wish I had read your blog before and not after!!

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    1. haha! glad you didn't throw them out. You can leave them longer in the oven, until they just start to brown, as long as you check often and don't let them burn x

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  12. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

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  13. great tips - thanks for sharing

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  14. Hi I made the orange slices according as you described - wonderful smell whilst they were 'cooking'
    but disappointed that they did not continue to smell orangey - is that normal?

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    1. Hello, sorry for your disappointment. Unfortunately they do lose most of their scent. Occasionally, with mine, I may catch a whiff of scent, but I do use them more for the visual effect. Maybe you could try adding a few drops of orange essential oil. Think I might give that a try, as I use them all year round as potpourri.

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  15. Hi, thanks for all of the great advice. Do you know if there is any way to keep then from turning dark or at least prolong it? Secondly, do you know if apple slices also turn dark after time? Lori

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    1. Hi, Lori, unfortunately, they will eventually darken and I'm not sure if there is any way to keep the orange colour. Off the top of my head, maybe coat with pva glue, but not sure if that would work, something i might experiment with,sorry! I assume it would be the same for apple slices, but don't quote me :) let me know if you find a solution :)

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    2. Yes apple slices will turn brown as well, but they look nice for about 3 months

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  16. I'm very interested in trying this but want to know if you've tried soaking the slices in vanilla or cinnamon before drying and if they still came out fine and smelling of the vanilla or cinnamon?

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    1. Hi Robin, I've never tried that, but sounds like a great idea. If you do try let me know how it goes. Maybe adding a few drops of vanilla extract/oil, or dusting with ground cinnamon once they're dried may work.
      Barri

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  17. I'm very interested in trying this but want to know if you've tried soaking the slices in vanilla or cinnamon before drying and if they still came out fine and smelling of the vanilla or cinnamon?

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  18. Yum, this sounds like it would be a great recipe for Christmas!

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  19. Karenlcoco@gmail.com19 December 2015 at 03:42

    THANK YOU! Tried this several years before but this is the best method. Didn't know they darkened. Used a mandolin to slice about 1/2 cent. Dried beautifully. Am keeping in cardboard box and hanging with garden twine.

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  20. Great, thanks. Almost got it right without consulting a method. Habe add a bit of ginger and cinnamon powder and my slices will be going into the oven shortly. They are orange which no one uses here in Portugal, lots of pips and very bitter (like lemons). Have used a few in my marmelade which l am busy preparing at the moment and also making for the first time!!!!

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Hope it went well �� one day I will try to make marmalade.

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  21. I've made a few batches of these now, the first batch by putting them in the oven 3-4 hours then on top of radiators to dry completely, then had the idea of just putting them straight onto radiator for day or two and they've worked really well. During cold weather rads on anyway so saving on electric too. I've also done apple slices(soak in lemon juice first to keep white) then dried same way which turned out ok as well. I'm storing them in a small box next to radiator and so far so good.

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    1. Very happy that it's going well for you and saving energy too is always a good thing! xx

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  23. Is there anything more Autumnal than this recipe? I'll have to make a batch of these for my mulled wine.

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  24. Thank you for the recipe and nice photos. Best wishes, Jane

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  25. Great, thanks for comprehensive advise... but have you any recommendations for whole orange when it has been scored and cut? Any advise greatly appreciated. Lx

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  26. Thank you! I usually pierce the orange skin with cloves, but they don't usually keep for too long, maybe few weeks. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Good luck! Bx

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  27. By far, the best tutorial for this that I have found. Thank you so much for posting it!
    ~Medea

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  28. Am on batch 1 and all looking good so far. You might like to know that there is such a thing as vegetarian gelatine. Easy to find in the baking aisles in the supermarket. In the UK anyway.

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