Dried orange slices are a surprisingly versatile thing to have stocked in your pantry. They last for ages and can be used as decorations, garnishes and even aromatics in your cooking. Of course, they also make a great healthy snack.
We’ll get onto more uses for dried orange slices later, but first we’ll discuss various methods of making them and answer some common questions you might have.
Here we’ll cover three methods of making dried orange slices, using an oven, a microwave and, in case you’re lucky enough to have one, a food dehydrator. The first steps, however, are identical.
Choose your oranges
To prepare your dried orange slices, first you need to choose the right type of oranges. It’s best to use seedless ones if you can find them. They are much easier to slice thinly and the end result will look prettier and more consistent.
Assuming you’re not just trying to use up a big bag of oranges, you might want to consider the size of the orange. This will depend on what you plan to use them for, although it doesn’t matter a huge deal if you have nothing specific in mind.
Larger oranges will generally be more bitter, which makes them good for aromatics (as part of a mulled wine spice mix, for example). You might also consider their size ideal for Christmas decorations. Smaller oranges, like clementines or tangerines, tend to be sweeter, which makes them better for topping cakes with or healthy snacks (especially for kids’ packed lunch boxes).
Select your tools
Aside from the oven, microwave or food dehydrator you will be using to dry your orange slices, you’ll also need something to slice them with. You’re better off using a mandoline slicer if you have one. Otherwise, a sharp, good-quality knife should do the trick. Dried orange slices need to be cut too thinly for dull, low quality knives.
Slice your oranges
The thinner you slice your oranges, the less time they’ll take to dehydrate. They’ll also look better. Too thin, however, and they may curl up and look deformed. The sweet spot is between about ⅛ to a ¼ of an inch (approximately 3 to 6.5 cm).
Now let’s move onto the drying.
How to dry oranges in the oven
To dehydrate oranges in the oven, cover an oven tray with baking paper and spread your orange slices out across it. Ensure that none of them overlap.
Step two (optional)
Even though you will get better and more reliable drying results from using a dehydrator, the oven can work wonders bringing out the flavour of any spices you may want to add. Why not try sprinkling a small amount of powdered cardamom, cloves, cinnamon or fennel over the orange slices before popping them in the oven?
Set your oven at 95°C / 200°F. Bake the orange slices for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the thickness and how dry you want them.
How to dry oranges in the microwave
Lay out a double layer of kitchen paper on a microwave-proof plate. Spread your orange slices out on top. As with the oven method, make sure none overlap. Then place another double layer of kitchen paper on top.
Put the plate in the microwave. Select the defrost setting and set the microwave for 7 minutes.
Remove the plate from the microwave and discard the kitchen paper. Return the orange slices to the plate and microwave for a further 5 to 7 minutes on the defrost setting.
How to dry oranges in the dehydrator
Spread the orange slices out on the dehydrator trays. Make sure to leave plenty of room between them for the air to circulate.
Dehydrate the orange slices at a temperature of 60°C / 135°F. This can take up to 7 hours, but you should check them after 2. You can help speed up the process by flipping the orange slices over occasionally.
How to use dry orange slices
Here we’ll answer some frequently asked questions on using dried orange slices.
Can you eat dried orange slices?
Yes. They’re delicious.
What can I use dried orange slices for?
Many things, including:
Christmas decorations. Place them in a Christmas garland or wreath, or tie some thread through them to hang them from the Christmas tree.
Homemade pot pourri. Mix with pine cones and/or dried flower petals for a pleasant home scent.
Mulled wine. Use them as aromatics when heating wine, along with star anise, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods.
Summer soups. Cook them in summertime soups to impart their citrusy flavours.
Cocktail garnish. They work great in everything from Sangria to Aperol Spritz.
Cake decorations. Spread some out over the icing or pop a single slice on top of cupcakes.
Healthy lunchbox snacks. Dried orange slices make a great vitamin C-packed snack at any time of day.
How do you store dried orange slices?
Use a glass jar with a tight-sealed lid and store them in a cool, dark place.
How long do dried orange slices last?
Properly stored dried orange slices should last for up to two years.
Can dried orange slices go bad?
Not if they’ve been stored properly, but if you see discolouration or green mould appear, discard immediately.
What other dried fruit and vegetables can I make?
We’re glad you enjoyed making and using your dried orange slices. There’s certainly no shortage of other dehydrated treats you might want to try next.