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.
Preheat the oven to 200—you’re going to heat the slices low and slow, to remove all moisture (but avoid burning them).
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.
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?
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!
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.