DIY Dried Citrus

Every year for Christmas, we divvy up our showroom into various Holiday themes. We stay strict to the plan to make sure every room stands out with its own unique twist. This year, our 'Napa' room was transformed into 'Citrus Pine'. We added lush layers of different pines, rich jewel tones, golds, and topped it all off with winter citrus touches. As the plan was being formed and ideas were whirling, we knew it needed that extra something to really make it pop. In the middle of the night (when all great ideas seem to happen) I had a vision with layers of dried citrus draping from the metal frame we have hanging from the ceiling. The next morning, I researched a few recipes and then hit the kitchen. The first couple of batches were mixed with trial, error, and a lack of patience due to excitement, but after those I had it down. Four bags of oranges, 4 grapefruits, 2 bags of limes, and 2 bags of lemons, later, I had my crop ready to go. Not to mention, my house smelled amazing!

Seeing the vision come to life was so fun and it ended up being such a magical touch. We've had so many questions about the garland, so we wanted to share the recipe with you!

Tips before you get started...

  • A mandolin is the best way to cut your fruit. This will give you perfect looking slices as well as keep the consistency for even cooking.
  • If time allows, let your fruit dry out for a few hours. You will need to absorb as much liquid as possible.
  • Flipping every hour seems excessive, but it will ensure an even and consistent finish.
  • After about 3 hours, closely monitor to ensure your fruit is not browning.

The Recipe...

  • Preheat oven to 225
  • Using a mandolin, slice your citrus approximately 1/4 inch
  • Lay your fruit between paper towels or cloths and press down to absorb as much juice as possible. If possible, let your fruit dry out for a few hours.
  • Place fruit on parchment lined cookie sheet. Slices can be slightly touching, but cannot overlap. TIP: Sprinkle cinnamon sticks on top of your fruit to get an extra festive scent while baking.
  • Bake for approximately 4 hours, rotating fruit every hour. NOTE: Lemons and limes require slightly less time than oranges or grapefruit.
  • When you take the citrus out, it will still be slightly sticky. After a couple days, your fruit will begin to dry out more. To dry out, line fruit between sheets of parchment paper.

And that's it!

Now get creative! Here are a few ways to use your dried citrus...

  • Turn into a garland! String a needle and thick thread through the meaty part of the fruit towards the top near the skin. Use on your Christmas tree, hang in front of mirrors, or drape with wood beads for a layered look.
  • Glue pieces and a little greenery onto a simple Boho-Style hoop wreath.
  • Add to pine garlands or wreaths for a Tuscan winter look.
  • Add drops of essential oils to the citrus and place in a bowl for potpourri.

Have you tried to make this dried citrus? What did you do with yours? We would love to hear back!