Oranges have been a holiday tradition for over a century. Mid-19th century legend says they represent the golden dowries that Saint Nicholas left for maidens. At the time, oranges were viewed as an exotic luxury, reserved for special occasions like Christmas. This idea had a resurgence during the Great Depression, when oranges were put in stockings as a big splurge!
Oranges are easier to come by nowadays, but the history endures. So each year, we make dry orange slices to keep the tradition alive. In addition, the oranges are beautiful and fill the house with a delicious scent while they’re drying, especially when combined with all the warm spices of the season!
To dry orange slices without a dehydrator, slice them thinly and put them in a 200°F oven for 2-3 hours. They dry better if you put them on a rack as opposed to directly on the sheet. I would also recommend keeping your eye on them, as I burned my first batch. Check them every 30 minutes to an hour, and flip them at least once during drying time.
Once they’re totally dry, string them into garland, nestle them into a wreath, or hang them from your tree like ornaments!
NOTE: these fresh slices can only be used temporarily; they don’t contain any preservatives and won’t survive until next year. So be sure to remove them before you pack up the rest of your decorations at the end of the season, or you’ll have a mold problem next year!