With the whole Hygge, Scandi, Japandi decor trend going on these days, what’s more natural and pared-down than a brown paper-wrapped gift adorned with a dried orange slice? Add a pretty sisal bow, a twig or two, and a hand-made gift tag, and your package will really wow the beholder. Especially in that sea of commercial gift wrap and foil bows.
Dried citrus is a simple addition to your holiday decor. It’s a delightful throwback to Old World holiday decorations that were made out of natural elements or homemade goods, like popcorn.
You can add the same nostalgic beauty to your Christmas by hanging dried citrus garland on the mantel or decorating the tree with DIY dried orange ornaments. Here are some great ideas for incorporating dried citrus into the holiday season.
How to dry orange slices
Before you can craft any dried citrus project, you need to dry some orange slices.
• Oranges, in different sizes and types (ie. kumquats, mandarins, Blood oranges, etc. and even grapefruit and limes) depending on your intended craft
• Baking sheet
• Parchment paper
1. Cut the oranges into thin slices, anywhere from 1/4-inch to 1/8 inch. You may need to dry them in batches depending on how many oranges you need for your project because you can’t overlap them to save pan space or they won’t dry out properly.
2. Place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 175°F oven for four to six hours, flipping the oranges halfway through. The amount of time needed for this will vary depending on the thickness of your slices. It’s important to cook the orange slices slowly at a low temperature so they don’t burn or brown. Turning up the heat won’t speed up the process!
Optional: If using a dehydrator, divide the citrus slices into batches of 15 slices or whatever your dehydrator capacity will accommodate. Place each batch in the dehydrator for 5 to 6 hours.
3. The oranges are done when they’re crisp to the touch. Make sure the oranges are completely dried before removing them from the oven as they can develop mold over time if there is any leftover moisture.
Dried citrus can last up to five years if stored properly, so drying them out completely is key. You need to store them in an air-tight container in a cool, dry area to prevent any humidity from reaching them.
Festive Citrus Potpourri
This smells like fall and winter and every awesome holiday rolled into one! It looks fantastic in a bowl on your table as a centerpiece, or can be wrapped up in pretty cellophane as a gift. Or put it in a pretty bowl and wrap it all in cellophane for an especially impressive hand-made gift.
• Dried orange slices
• Dried blood orange slices
• Dried apples (optional)
• Whole star anise
• Cinnamon sticks
• Dried putka pods
• Whole clove
• Essential oils
You can also use mini pinecones, dried flowers, wood shavings or shapes (like stars or trees), acorns, walnuts and any other natural items you’d like to use.
Scented oil recipe:
• 8 drops of clove oil
• 10 drops of sweet orange oil
• 3 drops of balsam fir oil
• 3 drops of cassia oil
• 2 drops of bay oil
You can also use a single scent if you prefer, or none at all if you have allergies.
1. Mix the oils together in an empty and clean dark glass bottle and swirl to combine.
2. Add 8 drops of the oil blend for
every 1 cup of dried plant material and toss to coat. I like to make my potpourri in a plastic zip-top bag to make blending the scent easier. But be gentle and don’t shake too hard!
3. Arrange in a pretty bowl. You can add holiday sparkle while still maintaining a natural look by arranging the potpourri around tiny LED seed lights.
Festive Citrus Garland
This is a fun craft everyone can enjoy, just like stringing popcorn. If you don’t want to make garland, you can make individual ornaments instead. You can also use the slices, along with ribbon, to adorn a natural spruce or pine wreath.
• Dried orange slices
• Wooden beads (natural or coloured)
• Jute string (natural)
• Tape and scissors
• Optional: Alternate the slices with anything you can think of such as bay leaves or sprigs of greenery like pine, cranberries, halved cinnamon sticks or wooden stars. You can also stud the slices with cloves to add that extra holiday spice to the air.
1. Using the tip of the scissors, poke two holes in each orange slice about one inch apart near the top, or near the rind on the right and the left sides, depending on whether you want the string to thread along the tops or the centre of your slices. This allows them to lie flat, more or less.
2. Tie tape tightly at one of a length of string (as short or as long as you want your garland to end up) to prevent it from raveling as you work. This also makes it easier to thread it through the holes you’ve made in the slices.
3. Create a loop at one end of the string as a hanger, or leave it loose for tying. Knot a wooden bead or two at this end as an anchor and thread an orange slice onto the string about an inch in. Leave another inch of space and knot a bead or two onto the string. Leave another inch of space and thread another slice onto the string. Continue until you’ve created a garland.
4. Yes, it’s that easy!
These also make wonderful hand-made gifts everyone will love.