Orange slices have been used in crafting for hundreds of years. Their beautiful scent and natural look bring warmth to any craft. If your next craft calls for dried orange slices, follow these options for drying this delectable decoration.
Use a dehydrator. The easiest way to dry an orange slice (or any fruit, for that matter) is to use a dehydrator. These are basically boxes that remove moisture from food, preventing the food from going bad. Over time, the orange slice will dry out so that it can be used for crafting.
To make dried orange slices using a dehydrator, start by cutting your orange into ¼" slices. If you have some, dip each slice of orange in some lemon juice to help preserve the beautiful orange color. Follow the instructions on your dehydrator in terms of the length of time to leave your orange slices to dry. Expect the process of drying the slices to take anywhere from 6 - 10 hours. (Ensure that your dehydrator is on the fruit setting!)
Use your oven. Another way to dry orange slices for crafting is to use your oven. It's the closest substitute for a dehydrator if you don't have access to one. Again, cut your oranges into ¼" slices and try to get as much moisture out of them prior to placing them in the over. Don't squish them flat - just blot up the orange juice from each slice with a paper towel. If you want, sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon onto each orange slice before you dry it for added aroma. Remember to dip them in lemon juice for color too!
Once your orange slices are prepared for drying, place them directly onto the center rack in your oven. (If you use a baking sheet, you'll have one burnt side on each orange. The heat needs to flow evenly through each orange slice in order to dry it.) With all of the orange slices in the oven, turn the heat to 275˚ for an hour. Then lower the heat to 225˚ for 2 more hours. Throughout this process, check on your orange slices. Try to flip them over every half hour or so to help them dry more evenly. (Opening the oven from time to time also releases excess moisture, another trick that speeds the drying process.) Remove the dried orange slices from your oven after 3 hours. They may still be a bit moist in the middle, but they will finish drying on their own as they are cooling down.
Harness the power of the sun. If you're lucky enough to live in a warm climate where there is plenty of sun, you can also dry orange slices for crafting outside. All you need is an old window screen. Cut your oranges into ¼" slices and lay them flat on the screen. Blot off any excess juice with a paper towel. Then elevate the screen off of the ground so that air will flow freely around and through it. Make sure your screen is in a sunny place. Flip your orange slices every hour or so, depending on the strength of the sun that day. This process of drying orange slices for crafting will take approximately 4 - 6 hours.