Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Handmade Christmas (pt 3) Dried Orange Garlands

What is it about oranges that so sums up Christmas? They are said to represent the gift of Gold in the Nativity story and in the days before electronic gadgets and must-have toys they were an essential, and much anticipated stocking gift. The glorious orangey scent blends so well with spices - cinnamon, cloves and ginger to create a quintessential Christmas fragrance that fills my home thanks to a couple of well placed essential oil burners that I keep topped up over the festive period.

Piles of mandarins and clementines in their little red net bags fill the fresh fruit section of the supermarket at this time of year and a fair few of them have found their way into my shopping basket and home, where they are currently residing in a basket with some unshelled walnuts looking oh-so-christmassy.

This year I decided to have a go at making some orange decorations and, rather than buy ready dried orange slices, I thought I'd do it from scratch and dry some myself. After all, how hard could it be?

So first of all you need a couple of nice firm oranges. Not the above mentioned clementines et al but the big ones you might juice for breakfast if you were feeling a bit decadent...

Cut them into fairly thick slices - about 5-10mm

and lay them all out on a baking tray.

Pop them in the oven on it's lowest setting for a couple of hours until they are completely dried out.

Then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool...

et voila! Dried orange slices ready to be made into pretty, festive decorations!

Well that's the theory anyway...

As you can see some of mine turned out a little too crispy round the edges and not quite as 'pretty' as the commercially dried slices. But I did them myself and that's what counts :)

And strung together on some red gingham ribbon I think they pass muster!

The rest look very pretty displayed in this little glass jar and, although they may not look perfect, they smell divine.
Which is, after all, the whole point!

Now I have some presents to finish off as there are only 10 sleeps till the big day :)


  1. Wow! I had never thought of doing this myself, I'm going to try it this afternoon!

  2. That's a great idea and I have been meaning to find out how to dry oranges. Thanks I can go do my own now ;-)

  3. really beautiful and creative xx

  4. really beautiful and creative xx

  5. Lovely, and thanks for the reminder, I made some of these years ago, this is an ideal thing to do with the children, from another Anthea!

  6. I think I'd be trying to candy them before drying out, as that will preserve the brightness of the flesh, as well as make them a bit translucent and look lovely when the light shines through it.
    Gently simmer them in a sugar and water mix on the stove until the skin goes translucent, (lots of fruit candying recipes online if you need specifics) then let them drain and dry. Gently baking them in the oven on a cooling rack will help harden them up,a s candying can make them a bit gooey.
    I haven't actually tried this because I'm too lazy...but hope this helps someone else. :)

    1. Thanks for this tip, Sasha! Might give it a try this year...


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