Christmas

This Year’s Biggest Christmas Decor Trend Is Hiding in the Produce Section

And we’re decking all the halls with it.

December  4, 2020
Photo by Jenni Yolo - IspyDIY

I’ve seen lots of tree trends bubble to the surface this year—tree collars in place of more traditional tree skirts, forgoing ornaments altogether to let fir and lights, well, shine, and to no one’s surprise, lots and lots of Scandinavian-inspired trimmings. The most popular embellishment (by far), though? Dried orange slices.

It seems like every influencer, DIYer, designer, classmate from high school, friend’s mother, and social acquaintance I follow has raided the produce section, and turned their citrus into jerky for the purpose of seasonal decor—and I love it.

Not only is this a remarkably affordable little DIY project, it also has the potential to cut back on food waste (don’t toss your old, shriveled oranges!), and is pretty versatile, too. Aside from making them into ornaments, I’ve seen them strung on twine as garlands, and tied sweetly onto presents as a final flourish.

The only real limitations of this project are how many baking sheets you have, and how much extra time you’ve got to monitor them in the oven. As it happens, I work from home now, and have the ability to keep an eye on orange slices while I tip-tap away on my computer. If you don’t, though, there are lots of options available for purchase.

Here’s how to DIY it:

What You’ll Need:

  • Oranges
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Twine

What You'll Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200—you’re going to heat the slices low and slow, to remove all moisture (but avoid burning them).
  2. Thinly slice the oranges into beautiful radial cross-sections. Aren’t they just gorgeous already? They’ll shrink up some during their time in the oven, so account for this when thinking about how many you want for your final product.
  3. Pat the slices dry to jumpstart the drying process, and lay them out evenly on nonstick (or parchment paper-lined) baking sheets. Lots of tutorials I read recommended keeping them three inches apart, but who has enough room on their baking sheets for that?
  4. Let them do their thing in the oven for about two hours, or until they’re no longer sticky, and are harder to the touch. Check on them often in their last half hour to ensure they don’t burn—you’ve got a good chunk of time invested in this!
  5. Once they’re dehydrated and cooled, you can poke holes with a pin or anything you’ve got that works (scissors? Diffuser reed? Chopstick? All good options.) and string them onto your choice of twine or string.

Now, what to do with your newly jerky-fied oranges, you cottage-core queen, you?

Use Them as Ornaments, Of Course

Tie Together Mini Bouquets

Pair Them With Wooden Beads

Add Them to Wrapped Gifts

Tuck in Some Cinnamon and Pine

Go Big with Lots of Slices as a Wreath

Have you decorated with dried citrus yet? What iteration of the above did you do? Tell us below!
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sheila Coyle
    Sheila Coyle
  • cathy
    cathy
  • David S Jones
    David S Jones
  • Matt
    Matt
  • Caroline Mullen
    Caroline Mullen
When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.

9 Comments

Sheila C. December 25, 2020
Do they last indefinitely? Can I make them a few months ahead of time or do they last from one year to the next?
 
cathy December 7, 2020
Matt H...you're a killjoy lol
 
Matt December 10, 2020
I believe the real killjoy are the starving people at Christmas, but enjoy your fun. Jesus certainly would not approve.
 
David S. December 6, 2020
My family and I have done this multiple years in a row and love the organic nature of decorating a tree with winter produce.

We often vary the size of citrus fruit between tangerines and great fruit for added variety. If you are feeling brave, then pomegranates are a little more challenging but really pretty as well.
 
Caroline M. December 6, 2020
I tried this with Mandarin oranges with less success... they got kind of piecey and shriveled in the wrong places, I think because of the higher liquid content... any tips?
 
David S. December 8, 2020
I used a baking rack on top of a pan and possible cut them a little thicker. That seemed to get a little better airflow than parchment.
 
Matt December 6, 2020
With so many people going hungry this year for Christmas, let's not advocate wasting food on decorations shall we?
 
Caroline M. December 6, 2020
Hey Matt, we’d never advocate for wasting food, that’s why I mentioned using oranges that would otherwise be thrown away!
 
Matt December 10, 2020
Maybe don't buy excess food you know you're not going to eat in the first place. It's gauche.