Oranges are such a delicious and versatile fruit that you probably have some in your kitchen right now.
Maybe you have extra oranges around the house or you’ve just harvested from your own backyard orange trees. What do you do with all these oranges?
If you’re looking for a great way to use and preserve oranges and make something really unique, try dehydrating them!
Read this article to learn how to dehydrate oranges, how to store them, and all the different ways you can use them.
Why Should I Learn How to Dehydrate Oranges?
Dehydrating oranges is super simple and you only need one ingredient: fresh oranges! Homegrown or store-bought will both work just as well.
There are so many uses for dehydrated oranges that you might not have thought of. You can use them not just in food, but also to decorate your home, gifts, and more.
And whether you grow or buy your oranges, they’re very budget-friendly to begin with.
You don’t need anything special to make perfect dehydrated oranges. Even though the process is so easy, dehydrated oranges will impress your friends and family.
As a bonus, your whole house will smell like delicious juicy oranges while you wait for them to dry–but be patient!
Dehydrating oranges is a great and long-lasting way to use up extra oranges. All it takes is some simple preparation and time.
How to Use Dehydrated Oranges
Dehydrated oranges are surprisingly versatile, and not just in recipes! For such an easy process, there’s a lot you can do with them.
Delicious Ways to Use Dehydrated Oranges
As you might expect, there are tons of different ways you can use them in the kitchen. What could be better than the fresh taste of oranges long after the season has ended?
They make a beautiful garnish for dishes and cocktails or as a mulling spice in warm fall and winter drinks like apple cider and mulled wine. Add them while the liquid, then pop a slice in the finished drink.
You can do the same thing with soups and stews to add a pop of citrus flavor. As they rehydrate in the broth, the oranges will release their oils for a bright and delicious recipe.
Dehydrated oranges pair perfectly with baked goods and make a lovely presentation. To get your chocolate fix, just melt some chocolate to dip the oranges in.
You can also just eat them plain. They make a perfectly crunchy and healthy snack you can bring with you anywhere. They make a nice sweet pick-me-up during your workday, or a little extra sugar when. you’re out hiking or walking.
Decorating with Dehydrated Oranges
Because dehydrated oranges are so pretty and last for a long time, they’re also a really interesting and fun way to decorate.
You can’t go wrong with adding them to homemade potpourri, much nicer and more affordable than what you’d buy in a store.
Dehydrated oranges are so fun to use for arts and crafts, whether you’re making something more intricate or looking for interesting things your kids can craft with.
They’re a gorgeous holiday decoration to string around your house or Christmas tree.
Step Up Your Gifts with Dehydrated Oranges
Bring your gift wrapping to the next level for your loved ones by pairing a couple of orange slices with springs of evergreen, twine, and brown craft paper for a thoughtful and unique wrapping that you made yourself.
You can even give dehydrated oranges themselves as the gift. Find a pretty jar and layer them in so that they’re nicely displayed in the glass. Now your friends and family can enjoy them all year round, too, and they’ll appreciate receiving something that came from your heart.
Methods for Dehydrating Oranges
There are two different ways you can dehydrate oranges: in a dehydrator or in the oven.
Either way, the preparation is the same.
Start with fresh oranges, preferably ones without seeds. Wash and dry the oranges well and leave them whole. You don’t need to peel or remove any of the skin or rind.
Using a sharp knife or mandoline slicer, cut the oranges into slices about 1/4 inch thick. It’s okay if they’re a little thicker or thinner than that, but try to make them all uniform so they dry at the same rate. You also don’t want to make them thinner than 1/8 inch or they’ll be too delicate.
Keep in mind that the thickness you end up with will change how long it takes to fully dehydrate the orange slices.
If you plan to make them into sweet snacks and want to dress them up a little you can coat them in sugar and spices before they go into the oven or dehydrator. Cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg are great spices to use, and take your pick of white sugar, turbinado sugar, coconut sugar, or whatever else you have on hand.
Which Method Should I Use?
If you already own a dehydrator or plan to invest in one, that will be the easiest way to make your dehydrated oranges.
There’s no need to worry if you don’t have one, though; your oven will work just as well.
Total drying time can vary quite a bit for both methods, so check on them frequently to get used to the process and figure out what works best for you. Since oranges have so much liquid in them, it can take a while to fully dehydrate them.
Using a Dehydrator
If you’re using a dehydrator, start by laying your orange slices flat in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Make sure there is room for air to move throughout the space.
Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees, or use the fruit and vegetable setting if the model you’re using has one.
Let it run for 2 hours, then start checking on your orange slices. You may want to flip them over halfway through so they dry more evenly.
They’re finished once they’re completely dry and brittle.
Dehydrating Oranges in the Oven
The beauty of dehydrated oranges is you don’t need to use a dehydrator if you don’t have one and don’t want to purchase one. If you’re using an oven, set it to 200 degrees or lower, if possible. A lower temperature will increase your total drying time.
Roll parchment paper out onto a cookie or baking sheet and arrange the orange slices flat in one layer. Make sure they aren’t touching each other to ensure they can’t retain moisture anywhere.
Let them bake for about 3 to 4 hours, checking on them every so often. Flip each slice and rotate the tray halfway through. If it takes longer than that for them to fully dehydrate, continue to flip the oranges and rotate the tray every couple of hours until they’re finished.
It can sometimes take even up to 12 hours for the oranges to dry out, so keep a close eye on them. Once they feel dry with no remaining stickiness, they’re ready to go.
Shelf Life of Dehydrated Oranges
Once fully dried, dehydrated oranges can potentially last for years if they’re stored the right way.
Moisture is what causes food to rot or spoil, so dehydrating oranges is a great way to keep them long-term.
If you use them for decor, you can keep them for years with no issues. If you plan on cooking with them or eating them, it’s best to use them within a year before they start to lose their flavor.
How to Store Dehydrated Oranges
To get the longest possible shelf life out of your dehydrated oranges, they need to be properly stored to keep them dry and protect them from moisture in the air.
Let them cool completely so you don’t end up with any condensation. Put them in something you can fully seal that’s airtight and will keep moisture and humidity out. Ziploc bags and mason jars are both great options.
Choose a cool, dark space to keep them in, like a cabinet or pantry. Always be careful to fully seal whatever you put your dehydrated oranges in any time you open it up to use them.
You don’t need to worry about putting them in the freezer; since all of the moisture has been removed already, keeping your dehydrated oranges frozen won’t preserve them any better and may actually add more moisture back in inadvertently.
Try Dehydrating Oranges and Get Creative!
There are so many fun things you can do with dehydrated oranges. Whether it’s beautiful decor in your home, a special secret ingredient in one of your favorite recipes, or just a quick and delicious snack, you can really do whatever you want with them.
They look and taste impressive, but now that you’ve learned how to dehydrate oranges, they’re so easy to make and you don’t need any special equipment.
There’s so much more to know about oranges! Head over to our Orange Trees page for blog posts about different kinds of oranges and how to enjoy them, plus lots of helpful growing and care guides.