How to make dried orange Christmas decorations

Ingredients

  • Oranges (I prefer organic oranges for their slightly richer colour)
  • Sharp knife and chopping board
  • Baking tray and rack
  • Cocktail stick
  • Thin ribbon or string
  • For extra decoration: glitter, star anise and glue (optional)

These dried orange slices make the perfect homemade Christmas decorations. They are a natural and rustic way to decorate your tree – easy to make, and as they dry out in the oven they’ll fill your home with a delicious warm, sweet smell.

Method

1. Cutting across the middle, slice the oranges 1cm thick and discard the ends. Mop up any excess juice on the orange slices with kitchen towel or a cloth.

2. Lay the slices onto an oven rack (not onto a tray as they will stick), put into a very cool oven at 110°C/225°F, leaving the oven door slightly ajar. Leave in the oven for a few hours to dry out, checking on them regularly and turning them over so they dry evenly and don’t stick to the rack. If they start to burn or go brown, turn the oven down.

3. Once the peel is hard and the flesh is completely dry, remove from the oven and leave to cool. (Smaller orange slices may dry out faster and need to be removed from the oven before the larger ones.)

4. Once cooled, use a cocktail stick to poke a hole in the orange flesh next to the peel, then thread a 20cm length of ribbon/string into the hole, pushing the ribbon through with the toothpick. Tie the ends of the ribbon together to form a loop.

5. For extra decoration, glue whole star anise to the centre of the slices or add a little glitter to the peel. Alternatively make a garland by threading lots of slices onto a longer piece of ribbon – beautiful hung around pictures, mirrors, a mantelpiece or the tree itself.

Loved this? Read on here:

– Make your own Christmas stockings using an old jumper

– The ultimate Christmas gift guide for garden-lovers