Afternoon #EVneighbours! Wow! Can’t get over how friendly and welcoming the people here in East Village are! Found myself a cohort over in the Orange Lofts and after some wine and talking and punning....yes that’s a word, got down to some Christmas baking of sorts. Since I know we all need a little cheer thought I’d share this awesome activity we came up with: Dried Orange Slices! Not only do they make your place smell great, they have so many uses! Garland, ornament, part of a wreath, perhaps a drink garnish? Mulled wine anyone?
This was such a blast my cohort and I are already planning for more Friday afternoon creative sessions. Send me your ideas, the punnier the better! Oh, and tasty too!
Craft: Orange Slices Ornaments or Garland
Since many of us are staying home holiday season (with the recent Covid-19 restrictions), decorating indoors can help make it feel festive and fun.
The ingredients for this craft are simple, and you may even have everything you need already in your kitchen! The best part is that this craft makes your home smell so good, it is affordable, and easy on the environment!
· Sharp knife and cutting board
· Cookie sheet
· A wire baking rack if you have one OR parchment paper
· Bakers twine, yarn, thread (for hanging/stringing finished slices)
· a yarn needle if you have one
How to Make Dried Orange Slices
1. Slice orange into 1/4” or 1/8” slices; go slowly and carefully when cutting with a sharp knife in a gentle back and forth sawing method to keep the slices crisp and avoid any squeezing or pressing. Evenly cut slices are ideal and if you see any seeds just pull them out as you proceed.
2. Use paper towel or a kitchen towel to gently blot dry the slices from dripping juice
3. If you have a wire baking rack place it on top of the cookie sheet or place a sheet of parchment paper on the pan instead.
4. Lay your slices on the rack or on top of the parchment paper, as close together as possible without overlapping and keeping the slices round
5. Set your oven at its lowest baking temperature (typically 170 or 200 degrees).
6. Dehydrate your orange slices slowly for several hours at this low bake temperature, turning the slices each hour. The slices will get thinner and translucent, so check often to avoid oranges curling and get brown. Remove when almost dry and allow slices to cool and finish drying on a cutting board or rack. The oranges should feel light and look like stained glass!
How to make a simple ornament:
If you have a needle you can thread it with some twine or thread and simply poke the needle inside the orange close to the rind, pull through a couple of inches before cutting, make a loop and tie a knot. Voila!
Alternatively, you can poke a hole with a skewer, nail, or scissors (anything small and pointed) and then gently pull your twine through, cut, and tie the hanging loop.
If you have some metal ornament hangers, you can also use them; just poke it in and hang it!
To make an orange slices garland:
Consider the appropriate length of twine, thread, or yarn and the length of the finished garland.
If you have a needle you can thread it with some twine and simply poke the needle inside the orange close to the rind and pull the twine through leaving about a 12” (at the end of the first orange). Poke through about 1” apart to string your slice.
It is also easy to poke holes at 11 and 1 o’clock on each orange slice and pass the twine through. If you wrap the end of the twine with some tape it makes it easier to poke through. Space the oranges so they don’t overlap.
It’s fun to play with different types of twine, add cinnamon sticks, beads, etc. for some extra festive charm.
Any extra dried rind or slices can be displayed in a nice dish, or garnish a cheese plate, or attached to a present for decoration.
Experiment and try drying lemon and lime slices too!