Dried Citrus Decor

Citrus has long been used as festive decor during the holidays. The citrus season is from December to late March and is when they are absolutely the tastiest. Of course, these days, we can get fresh fruit all year long. But before shipping and refrigeration practices, citrus was purely seasonal, especially for us northerners. Imagine having to wait 9 months before being able to eat an orange, make a lemon meringue pie or have a margarita! Eek. It definitely makes you appreciate the mighty citrus fruit much more. Since they were so highly valued, giving them as holiday gifts was a common theme because it showed appreciation…..I mean, c’mon – the fruits themselves are already perfectly segmented to share with loved ones!

Because people were gifting it, it’s no wonder citrus made its way into the decor of people’s homes during the season of giving. Garlands of orange slices and lemon leaves, potpourri made with citrus and cinnamon,  clove-covered pomanders stacked in bowls, would adorn many people’s homes back then and still do today. Unfortunately, the fruit decor would come down after the holidays and not be seen again until next winter holiday season. Sniff Sniff.

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I think citrus is beautiful all year round, so even though it is March and citrus season is ending, I am going to make the most of it while I still can. Time to slice and dry. I am very attracted to the look of citrus garlands – especially in windows. Sunlight is something that we are seeing more of now that it is Spring and catching those sunbeams with natural citrus slices will look lovely. Let’s see what we can do.

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Look how lovely the colors are!

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I do not have a dehydrator (YET!) as it is one of those kitchen gadgets that I have been floundering about purchasing for years (seriously). Who knows, after this little craft experiment, I may finally break down and buy one. Any suggestions on what brand are welcome!

Until then, I will use my oven. I set it to the lowest temperature I could, 170 degrees. Make sure you can at least get as low as 200 degrees – I don’t think any higher temp will get you the right results and you would probably burn your citrus slices. Slow and low is best. From all I have read – 2 hours on each side should work. But, it all depends on the thickness of your slices. Obviously – the thinner they are, the quicker they will dry. So, some may be done at different times. All you have to do is check the slice to see if it is still tacky…..if so, leave it in the oven.

After the first 2 hours, I realized that some of my thinner slices were sticking to the sheet pans and when I tried to flip them, they tore apart. So, I recommend keeping the slices pretty solid looking.

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After a total of 4 hours, I noticed that the lemons were browning and not staying their lovely light yellow hue. Because there were so many seeds in the lemons, there were holes in the slices which did not help when they dried. Not very pretty. However, the oranges, limes and grapefruit were perfect.  Oranges and limes being the best.

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Time to get crafting. Using a simple needle and thread, I strung together the orange slices to create a garland to hang in the window.  Perfection. I have a pile of grapefruit and lemons and limes and oranges to create with and they will all look so lovely in the windows when the sun begins to shine through tomorrow. I can’t wait to get that photo….

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Until then, here is a picture at dusk. Such a simple craft and there are bunch of different ways that you can use your dried citrus slices. GIt can be used for garlands in the windows, for your mantle, for a bowl of potpourri, in a hand poured candle, as decor on a gift, as an ornament and even in a wreath for your front door. So many options! All it takes is some citrus fruit and some time in the oven – go get creative! Let’s hear your ideas too!

Good morning! Here it is:

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