We use bags and bags of dried fruit in our Christmas arrangements – sliced apples, oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit, as well as whole dried oranges and limes. I have to admit that I do buy them from our wholesaler as I simply don’t have enough time to dry the quantity we use myself, but it is really easy to do and your house will smell AMAZING!
You will need:
- oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, apples, pears – I think a mixture of all of these looks beautiful in arrangements but you could just try one first to see how you get on.
- a sharp knife and chopping board
- an oven and a few hours!
It’s always useful to have an assistant on hand as a second shooter and fruit taster!
For the slices:
Start at the stalk end and cut slices across the fruit. Slice as thinly and evenly as you can – the thicker the slices, the longer they will take to dry.
Set your oven to its lowest setting – we want to dry the fruit, not bake it!
I have found it best to arrange the fruit straight on to the oven shelves, rather than on a tray as this allows the air to circulate around the fruit which means they will dry quicker and you don’t get any black bits where the juice collects and burns.
Depending on the thickness of your fruit and your oven, it should take approximately 4 hours to dry them. If you have a very steamy oven leave the door cracked open slightly to allow the steam to escape.
I usually leave the fruit to air dry for another 24 hours before using it – a sunny windowsill is perfect.
For whole fruit:
This works best with small citrus fruits such as clementines, lemons and limes.
Make 8 cuts in the fruit, from top to bottom, evenly spaced, taking care to leave the skin at the top and bottom of the fruit intact.
Again, depending on the size of the fruit and your oven you want to leave them in there, on the lowest setting for at least 4 hours.
A lot of juice may come out of the fruits so I put a baking tray on the shelf underneath the shelf with the fruit on to catch any drips – cleaning a couple of extra baking trays is much more preferable to cleaning the whole oven!!
Results are always varied – I think it depends a lot on the juiciness and ripeness of the fruit you use, the thickness of the slices and the length of time you have to realistically have your oven switched on! My favourites from this batch are the pink grapefruit as the colour of the flesh stayed really bright.
Next up on our Crafty Homemade Christmas Countdown is a beautiful scented garland, using the fruit I have dried here as well as lots of other yummy ingredients!