dried orange slices

Dried Orange Slices for Natural Homemade Ornaments

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Dried orange slices make simple, natural ornaments that are both beautiful and inexpensive. If you are looking for a way to add something warm and natural to your holiday decor this year, look no further! This easy, step-by-step tutorial on how to make dried orange slices for ornaments will help you create beautiful homemade Christmas decorations. Whether you are an experienced crafter or a beginner, this guide will show you how to create these impressive and simple ornaments that are sure to bring charm and beauty to your Christmas decor.

Dried Orange Slices

For many people, the holidays are a time for doing more, spending more, baking more, seeing more, being more. For me, the holidays were always exhausting—until I began to slow down and focus on what really matters. By simplifying my holiday season, I’ve been able to enjoy it much more than ever before.

A simpler holiday season has allowed me to take a step back and enjoy the holidays for what they are. A time for family and friends, memories and laughter.

Instead of getting bogged down with endless obligations, I choose more time at home being cozy. One of the things that have helped me is to try to include handmade crafts and gifts into my holiday plans. There’s just something so rewarding about making things yourself instead of buying them at the store. One of the crafts I love to make this time of year are dried orange slices for ornaments, garlands, or wreath embellishments. I think they look magical!

Interested in other crafts and gifts you can make yourself?  Here are a few ideas:

dried orange slices
My Tree with Dried Orange Slices

The Symbolism of Oranges

I also like to add dried orange slices to my holiday decor because of the symbolism they hold. Even before American Christian traditions, cultures around the world adorned their homes with elements of nature as part of Winter Solstice celebrations, including bows made of greenery, wreaths, and garlands with dried fruit. Winter Solstice occurs around December 21st each year. It is the shortest day of the year, marking the time when days once again grow longer after being dark for so long. Oranges, being just about as bright and cheery as fruit can get, are thought to represent the sun and the return of light.

Learn more about the Winter Solstice celebration of Yule here: Joyous Pagan Holidays: A History and Introduction to Yule

dried orange slices

Steps to Making Dried Orange Slices

1) Slicing the Oranges

Slice your oranges thinly, into ¼” to ⅛” rounds, so that they will dry evenly. The more uniform the thickness of each slice, the faster they will dry. Cut across the equator (or top to bottom) of the orange for a perfect cross-section.

2) Blotting the slices

To help them dry more quickly, gently blot the orange slices with a lint-free tea towel before arranging them on trays. Some people use paper towels, but I prefer the softness of a tea towel. Don’t push too hard or squish the slices!

3) DRYING THE SLICES

Oven Drying

  • If using an oven – Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Slice oranges thin (another tip is to use grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc. to have different colors)
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or on a wire rack on a cookie sheet
  • Bake for 3-4 hours- be sure to flip oranges every 30 minutes to make sure they dry evenly. If you forget this step, it’s okay, they will still be fine.

Using a Dehydrator

  • Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees F (fruit/vegetable setting). 
  • Arrange orange slices on dehydrator trays, leaving room for air circulation. 
  • Start checking the orange slices after 2 to 3 hours. Depending on the thickness of the slices, it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 hours for the slices to completely dry.

Making Dried orange ornaments

1) Pierce the orande slices

  • Using a sharp pair of scissors, a knife, or other sharp tool, pierce the orange slice and twist to make a small hole large enough to fit the string through. 

2) Cut String to length

  • Cut the string or twine to the desired length for hanging.  Make it slightly longer to accommodate tying a knot on the end.
  • Thread the string through the hole created in step one. 

3) Add wooden beads

  • Bring the two ends of string together and wrap with a small piece of scotch tape to keep the string from unraveling. 
  • Add one or two wooden beads to the string. 
  • Tie a knot on the end.  Enjoy!
dried orange slices

Concluding thoughts

I hope that you enjoy making these dried orange slices, and that they bring you a bit of sunshine in the middle of winter. They smell so delicious while drying! This is such a simple project, but makes your home feel so warm and happy when you make them! These make great tree ornaments and add a bright pop of color to any greenery you hang on your tree this season. They are just as beautiful by themselves as they are sprinkled around a wreath or garland. Making these orange slices makes me feel like I am bringing in the welcome warmth of summer at this cold time of year.

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