Dried orange garlands are becoming popular everywhere this year. And after making a bad batch the first time (and 5 good batches after that), I’ve mastered how to make orange garlands the easy way. The prep time for these orange garlands is only 10-15 minutes!
Let’s talk orange garlands! Admittedly, my first round of dried oranges for the holidays didn’t go well. In fact, they were really bad! So why would I write a post about how to dry oranges for lemon garlands?
Well, I learned from my mistakes and collected some information from other sites and Instagram DMs. Then, I tried again and again – drying oranges and lemons in the oven. I made 5 nice batches of dried oranges and lemons for garlands over the course of 2 weeks.
And now, I’m pretty confident I know what I’m doing… at least when it comes to drying citrus fruits.
In years past, letting citrus slices dry for hours (like at least 4 hours) seemed too long for me.
But now that I’ve done it a few times, I realize it’s very easy. And the amount of time doesn’t really matter much as it only takes 10 minutes for preparation. And then you keep checking them from time to time. Easy!
mistakes i made the first time
Ok! This is what my dried oranges looked like after the first batch. not good.
- The oranges were seriously spoiled.
- He was very fat.
- And each one of them had a big hole in the middle.
Not exactly the holiday atmosphere I was going for.
I asked several people what their problem was and the consistent response was that the pieces were too thick. So, for the second round, I had to slice the oranges even thinner than I thought (like 1/8 inch or thinner).
Which meant I had to pick oranges, lemons, and even grapes that weren’t ripe yet.
The first batch of oranges were extremely ripe. And I think that’s why there was such a big hole between them.
Also, because they were ripe, they were very juicy. That made them harder to cut and meant I couldn’t cut the slices as thin.
What I learned for the second round
For the second batch of citrus (and all subsequent ones), I picked oranges and lemons that weren’t ripe yet. This made it much easier to cut thin slices as they were not mushy and overly juicy.
i made pieces 1/8 inch thick (Or even thinner if I could).
I also tried to keep the thickness as uniform as possible. This way if one slice needs more time in the oven, chances are all of them will. Making them all more evenly dehydrated and looking the same.
After all the slices were cut, I laid them all out on a large tea towel. Then I placed a second tea towel on top and pushed down on each citrus piece to extract as much moisture and juice as I could. I did this twice and I think it helped them cook evenly and faster.
*You can also use paper towels for this, but I don’t use paper towels, so I used cloth tea towels instead.
How to make dried orange garland
What do I preheat the oven for?
Preheat your oven 200 degreesWhile you’re cutting everything.
Once the slices are ready for the oven, place them in the oven and set the timer for 2 hours. Once the two hours are up, turn each pieceAnd then put them back in the oven for another 2 hours.
I used the middle rack for the larger oranges and the top rack for the smaller lemon slices. Some of the lemons turned out to be darker than orange, which I really like. I also love the size of the lemon slices, so small and cute.
It’s good for garlands to have a variety of sizes. And a range of colors too, IMO.
How long do citrus slices take to dehydrate in the oven?
Total oven time is approximately 4 hours. For me that was the magic number that worked well every time after the first failed batch. But times will vary depending on how thick your slices are.
Remember to turn each piece after the first two hours, so they stay dry/don’t burn.
After the 4 hours are complete, check on them. You’ll want to make sure each side is properly dried (not sticky to the touch) before taking them out.
Then, depending on your oven and how thick your orange slices are, it may take a little more than 4 hours for the garland to dry.
Oven time limit for dried oranges
- It will take 4-5 hours for 1/8 inch thick orange slices to dry completely. Like I said, mine only took 4. But this may take up to 5 hours.
- If your slices are more than 1/8 inch thick, you’ll probably need to keep them in the oven for longer than 4 hours. For example 1/4 inch slices will range from 4 to 6 hours. After the 4 hours are up, flip the citrus slices again. And then turn them again every 30 minutes until they dry completely.
- At 200 degrees, it will actually take a maximum of 6 hours to dry the oranges.
- For lemons, because they are smaller, they may not take as much time. After 4 hours on the top rack my 1/8th thick lemons were very nicely dried.
- If you’re using grapes for citrus fruit slices, you’ll probably need to go beyond the 4 hour mark regardless of the thickness of each slice. Because the grapes are on the larger side. So my time frame for grapes would be 4-6 hours. After 4 hours, make sure to flip all the slices again. And keep turning them at intervals of 30 minutes until they become completely dry and sticky.
How do you know when orange slices are dry enough?
Once the slices are dry, remove them from the oven and let them cool until they cool.
You’ll know they’re completely dry when they don’t feel soft or sticky when touched. You want them to feel crisp.
If the oranges are a little soft and you’re not sure they’re ripe, you can remove them from the oven.
Leave them to set for 15 minutes and see if they have become crunchy. If they are still soft or sticky, they will need to be put back in the oven.
How to make dried orange garland
They are then ready to be strung up as festive holiday garland. You can do this in a few ways. I used scrap pieces of fabric as my cord which I cut into strips. But you can also use ribbon, twine or yarn.
Once you have the string you want to use, you can use a knife or scissors to cut pieces of the dried oranges and lemons and then push the string inside.
Or you can use a sewing or upholstery needle with a large eye and thread your twine or yarn through it. Then push the needle through each citrus slice until they are all on the string. And then you can spread them out more evenly before cutting the string to the size you need.
Leave extra string/yarn on each side, so you can tie the garland onto whatever you’re attaching it to – a fireplace mantle, a Christmas tree, a large holiday garland, etc.
What else can I use dried oranges and citrus fruits for?
You can use leftover citrus slices for simple ornaments. Simply add a wire hook.
Or use them as decorative embellishments for gift tags when wrapping gifts.
Another option would be to use them on a door wreath instead of a tree or fireplace. It looks extremely festive without taking much effort.
So, that’s all for making a citrus garland.
It’s really easy and they are so beautiful hanging on trees, fireplaces, etc.
Let me know if you have any questions.