Add natural beauty and rustic charm to your Christmas decor with easy DIY dried orange slice ornaments.
Author Margaret Wise Brown vividly describes the sights, sounds, and scents of the holiday in A Pussycat’s Christmas. The tangy smell of tangerines are mentioned twice. When I read this classic book as a child, it was the first time I ever associated citrus fruits with Christmas.
In the 19th century, oranges became part of the Christmastime tradition, according to Smithsonian magazine. This fruit was considered exotic and luxurious, and often one was placed in the toe of a Christmas stocking. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s These Happy Golden Years, Almanzo brings a whole bag of oranges as a treat to celebrate Christmas Eve.
With Christmas Eve less than a week away, Little Bear and I made dried orange ornaments to decorate our living Christmas tree. (Well, he helped by happily eating juicy slices of the fruit as I prepared to dry them in the oven.) He has been fascinated by ornaments — putting them on and taking them off the tree again and again — so I thought he would like to add a few more.
These DIY Christmas decorations brought a bright burst of color to our sweet little blue spruce tree. They look like stained glass when light shines through them.
Making festive ornaments from farm-fresh fruit was easy and inexpensive. The house smelled like my favorite homemade citrus sugar scrub, while they were in the oven. Of course, they can also be made in a food dehydrator; however, this tutorial is for orange slices dried in the oven.
Tools you may need:
- Oranges (and/or other citrus fruits)
- A knife to slice the fruit (a sharp chef’s knife or a serrated one will work)
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper
- Sewing needle with a large eye
- Twine for hanging (you could also use ribbon or wire)
Tips for Making Dried Orange Slices
- The oranges will take several hours to dry, and ideally, you will flip them every half hour, so they dry evenly. This may require a little planning ahead. As Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
- Prior to putting them in the oven, you can blot them with a towel to soak up some of the moisture.
- The slices can touch on the baking sheet. They will shrink in size, as they dry.
- Allow them to dry until they no longer feel wet. (They may still feel a tiny bit sticky.)
- Some slices may dry sooner than others. Remove them when they’re ready.
How long do dried orange ornaments last?
If they are dried and stored properly, they can last for a few years.
Do dried orange slices smell fragrant?
As they dry in the oven, the whole kitchen will smell citrusy. The scent of the oranges will be subtler after they have dried.
Can you eat dried orange slices?
Yes, dried orange slices are edible — peel and all. If you plan to snack on them, make sure you wash them before slicing, then after drying, store them in an airtight container like a mason jar.
How to Make Dried Orange Ornaments
- Preheat oven to 200°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Thinly slice citrus fruit and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 3-6 hours, or until they are dried thoroughly.
- Allow slices to cool, then thread twine through them and tie.
Optionally, you can add Christmas greenery (rosemary and eucalyptus are pretty, too) cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
More Dried Citrus Christmas Decor Ideas and Inspiration
Dried orange slices can also be used to create garlands and wreaths. They add a lovely natural touch to Christmas wrapping and handmade gift tags. Plus, they can be used in homemade holiday potpourri or as a garnish for baked goods and drinks.
Pin this tutorial for later.
Hope you found this post helpful! Drying oranges for DIY ornaments will likely become a yearly Christmas tradition here on the mountain — they’re so beautiful and simple to make. What are some of your favorite family holiday traditions?