Recently, when browsing through a store, I saw some potpourri with some beautiful dried orange slices. It got me wondering if I could do this myself. The oranges looked so pretty and I figured they would be very nice to have around for crafting. After a little internet searching and a failed attempt, I finally nailed it. This is a good project for a day you know you will be hanging around at home, as it takes several hours in the oven.
Buy yourself a nice big bag of the citrus of your choice. I bought some lemons, grapefruits, and oranges.
Cut the fruit into slices that are about 1/4 inch thick. Try to make each slice about the same so they will cook consistently. On my first attempt, I was not as careful about the consistency of the slice sizes and some of the fruits overcooked while others never properly dried out so it is important to keep the slice size consistent. Remove the stickers and seeds.
After you have prepared your fruit in even 1/4 inches slices, place them on a clean dish towel. Get another towel and press down to soak up some of the juice. This will help speed up the drying process.
Place a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. I put a piece of parchment paper underneath. What is great about this set up is that it allows the air to circulate underneath the fruit but also catch the drippings.
They look so appealing all sliced up (no pun intended...ha). Put them on the lowest setting on your oven. I baked them at 170°F. If you have convection setting, use that. On my first attempt, I baked them at 200°F (without the convection setting) and as I mentioned above, it was not an even bake. if you don't have convection, open your oven door slightly. This helps circulate more air and speeds up the drying process. I put the timer on hourly to check on them and after about 4 hours the lemons and oranges were done. The larger grapefruit slices took a little longer, about 6 hours.
They should be dry and crisp. If they feel sticky, keep baking until they are dry. If there is any moisture, they will likely mold. Once they feel done, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely. I put them in a bowl and let them harden a little further.
They are just so pretty to look at and there are lots fun uses for these.
I took my leftover peels, added them to a ball jar, and covered them with some vinegar to make a glass cleaner. I'm letting them soak so I will let you know how that works out.
You can make two kinds of potpourri. You can make a dry potpourri by adding essential oils and some spices and keeping them in a bowl as both a pretty decoration and a room freshener as in the picture above.
The other option is to put all your dry ingredients and some spices in a ball jar to use for stovetop potpourri. To rehydrate you just add the dry ingredients to a saucepan on the stove, cover with water, and simmer over low heat. These make such pretty and thoughtful holiday gifts.
You can use the same ingredients for either version. For spices, I used cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and star anise. I also had cinnamon oil. I used it for candy making when I originally bought it but noticed on the label that it is also great for simmering on the stove. You can add all the dry ingredients to the jar and put a couple of drops of the cinnamon oil and or essential oils and create a nice label to give as a gift.
You can add some pinecones, pine needles, or dried flowers. Go on a little treasure hunt outside.
These oranges and lemons could also be used to flavor your tea. For gifting they could be put in a cellophane bag in a tea cup.
You can tie it with ribbon to hang as an ornament or on top of a present. Would be wonderful paired with a cinnamon ornament.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope this stirs up some ideas for some winter holiday crafting.