Are you looking for a traditional nod on holiday decor? A low waste or eco friendly holiday decor solution? Then of course, you may have stumbled across dehydrated citrus and/or oranges being used in garlands, hung on wreaths or even on the tree. If you want to learn how to make your own dried orange ornaments for your holiday decorating then I have easy step by step instructions for you to follow. This craft is a wonderful family holiday tradition that I hope becomes a staple in your household.
History and Traditions
Dried citrus is a timeless addition to your decorating repetoire. It looks classic, old fashioned and is a wonderful family crafting activity to do! Traditionally, citrus ripens at this time of year (unless like me you are a cold zone grower and your garden is a desolate wasteland until spring…I digress) and there are several theories as to why an orange has become such a staple at the holiday time.
One reason is that traditionally this time of year (for warm climate growers) is when citrus comes into season. For many folks, being able to purchase citrus was a luxury item, so it became a holiday gift and was found at the bottom of stockings. Although citrus tends to be more readily available year round nowadays, the association of it being a holiday “treat” still lingers on today.
Today, the dried orange or citrus decorations are seeing a boom in popularity due to the low waste or slow living and sustainability movement. It is a classic, affordable and inventive way of celebrating the festive season. Once you start drying oranges, you will find yourself enjoying them so much you’ll be thinking of even more creative ways to hang them in wreaths and garlands.
So now you are ready to get started…really you don’t need much. You probably have these at home or can easily find them.
2 naval oranges (really any quantity is fine).
Twine for hanging
Make your dried oranges
- Start by preheating the oven to 225 degrees farenheit. Remember you aren’t cooking oranges but dehydrating them, simply getting out the mositure so they are dry.
- Slice your oranges into fairly thin slices around 1/4″ thick.
- Lay the slices out on the parchment paper on the baking sheet
- Pop into the oven for 2-4 hours (times will vary depending on so many factors such as thickness of slices, size of slices etc)
- Check your oranges frequently, turning them to allow both sides to dry.
- They will look “dehydrated” when done, some slight browning may be apparent, at this point they will be ready as once the browing starts it doesn’t take long for them to turn very brown and dry quickly.
- Leave them on the cooling rack to cool off
- Once cooled, you can start to thread the twine through them for hanging.
- I like hanging each orange individually as an ornament.
- Typically, I like to thread the twine through the centre and knot at the top to create a loop for hanging
- Hang on the tree or around the house for fun, festive decor.
As a side note, the dehydrating process in the oven varies soooo much! I burnt my first few batches until I finally grasped that moment when they just start to turn! It may take a lot of checking and a few tries until you find how long you really need but stick to it.
Now you have the skill of making dried orange ornaments, you’ll find yourself hooked on all the different fun and festive ways you can arrange dried citrus. Try variations on wreaths, such as this wreath from Better Homes and Gardens or garlands, use them as an accent on gifts, there are so many options!
Once the holiday season is done, we simply compost our citrus. It’s amazing to think that your holiday decor can now be turned into a product that will nurture your spring garden!
So, if you are interested in making this simple, low waste holiday craft then why not try it?!