Ok, so let’s dive in. Today I’m talking about five reasons why you need to dehydrate citrus this Winter. We’re talking dehydrated lemon, limes, and dried oranges. I love dehydrating food. It’s a great way to extend the season of your homegrown produce. Think about it… Fresh oranges in the fruit bowl might have a shelf life of a month. By dehydrating the orange, that lifespan then becomes (if stored correctly) a year. Now obviously fresh fruit is hugely beneficial, but when you’ve got an abundance, like a laden lemon tree in Winter, dehydrating provides the perfect way to increase its useability. Ahhh the possibilities!!!
What type of citrus can I dehydrate?
All of it! Try using…
- Oranges – all varieties. I generally use navel oranges to make dehydrated orange slices, however, Blood oranges are especially beautiful when they are dried into slices. they’re also perfect when you have a cold as they have more vitamin C than any other orange variety. Be sure to use firm oranges or you’ll lose a bit of orange juice in the slicing process.
- Mandarins – Obviously you can’t cut mandarins into slices. Instead, peel and dehydrate the mandarin pieces instead.
- Grapefruit makes beautiful large slices. Bonus points if you use a pink grapefruit!
What to do with dehydrated citrus
Using dehydrated citrus as a cocktail garnish is an absolute essential in our house. Think dried lemon slices in limoncello, dehydrated limes in a good mojito (my fave), or orange slices in a big jug of Pimms on a Summer’s day. With the citrus season in full swing at the moment, I always dehydrate blood orange slices for a bit of wow coming into the Summer season. After drying, pop them in an airtight jar, so preserve them now and enjoys those cocktails all Summer long!
Do you know how every festive season your Pinterest home page is full of homemade dried orange slices perfectly turned into the most creative and beautiful Christmas tree decorations or citrus garlands you’ve ever seen? It all starts with some dehydrated orange slices or whole oranges. Last year for the holiday season, I decorated the store Christmas trees with a combination of dried citrus wheels, fresh bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks tied together to make homemade ornaments. This year I’m thinking about creating holiday decorations with dried slices of oranges, cinnamon, and foraged greenery as well as a matching wreath for our front door.
Infusing water with dehydrated citrus slices (or any other dried fruit really) is an easy (as well as sugar and calorie-free) way to flavour still or sparking water. Instead of water you can also try adding them to tea or ward away those colds and flu with a good hot toddy. Add a dried lemon slice and a little honey to a mug of boiling water with a shot of Irish whisky. When I lived in London I worked in this dingy Irish pub and I’d make these every day for punters. Personally, I like my whisky straight, but whatever floats your boat!
Decorated cakes with dehydrated citrus wheels. Not long ago I made a lemon and coconut layer cake for a family birthday. I wanted to keep it quite simple, so I dehydrated lemon slices and layered them down the side of the cake, and topped them with some fresh flowers. Job done and it looked amazing.
Up your salt game! Break up dehydrated lemon centers (not the skin) and pop them into your blender. Pulse until they are pulverized and add a little salt and maybe some fresh herbs to make an easy flavoring for chicken and fish. Use it as a finishing salt and sprinkle wherever a little lemon flavor is needed. Roast chicken stuffed with lemon salt butter anyone?
How to dehydrate citrus slices in a dehydrator
- Wash and dry citrus fruits
- Remove any stalks. With a sharp knife, or a mandoline slicer, slice each piece of fruit into thin slices. I aim for 3-5mm thick when I slice oranges.
- Lay fruit slices flat in a single layer on a dehydrator tray.
- Turn the dehydrator onto the dried fruit setting and leave to dry for 8-10 hours until there is no moisture left. The thickness of the orange slices (or citrus slices) determines how long the process will take. Thicker slices will require more time than smaller pieces.
- For best results when storing, leave to cool. Store the dehydrated fruits in an airtight container or jar for up to 12 months
A bit about dehydrators…
With the right equipment, dehydrating is one of the easiest ways to preserve fresh produce. While you can totally dehydrate citrus in the oven using parchment paper and a baking sheet, I find a simple dehydrator is super easy to use and gives a tasty, consistent result.
A dehydrator works by preserving the produce through a drying process at a constant low temperature over a period of time. \ My dehydrator is a Fowlers Vacola ultimate dehydrator. I’ve also used the Cuisinart dehydrator. It’s a really good entry-level option. It’s a bit smaller than my Fowlers Vacola, but it work really well and is a great option if you are just starting out.
How long does dehydrated citrus last?
As long as the citrus wheels are dehydrated fully, you can easily store them in an airtight preserving glass jar for up to 12 months.
I always make sure every Winter that I dehydrate enough fruit to get me through the Summer season. Because… cocktails!
Love preserving? Here are a few recipes you might like…
- Dehydrated figs
- Caramelized balsamic onion and thyme jam
- Strawberry and thyme cordial
- Roasted cherry tomato sauce
- How to make dehydrated strawberries (with a dehydrator)
Let me know in the comments your favorite way to use dried citrus fruits
I love dehydrating food. It’s a great way to extend the season of your homegrown produce. Use dried citrus slices in your cocktails, as homemade festive decorations or even grinded up into a finishing salt.
- All the citrus fruits! Try lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and limes.
- Wash and dry citrus fruits
- Remove any stalks. Slice each piece of fruit into 3-5mm slices.
- Lay fruit slices flat on a dehydrator tray.
- Turn the dehydrator onto the dried fruit setting and leave to dry for 8-10 hours until there is no moisture left.
- Once cool. store in an airtight container or jar for up to 12 months
Keywords: Preserves, Dehydrated, Citrus, Oranges