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It was love at first sight: a humbly-sized Christmas tree hung with dried orange slices. This encounter took place on Saturday night, when I attended my town's annual winter festival. The tree had been entered in a Christmas tree decorating competition for local school children. The "orange tree" sure got my vote. What a pretty sight it made with all the Christmas lights reflecting brightly off the glistening citrus slices!

Later, I resolved to try it out for myself. If you want to have a go, you will need the following:
  • three or four large oranges
  • a sharp carving knife
  • glitter and/or ground cinnamon (optional)
  • fishing line or ribbon
  • a needle or a pointy-tipped knife
Step 1) Slice the oranges crosswise in quarter-inch slices. Discard the ends.


Step 2) Lay slices flat on a baking sheet. Use paper towels to blot away excess juice.
Step 3) If you like, gently rub ground cinnamon into the slices. Cinnamon makes them smell amazing. On the other hand, they won't catch the light as well. I made some with and some without.
Step 4) Bake in a moderate oven until dried. I found some wonderful baking tips at the Create a Prim website. This writer recommends laying the slices directly on the oven rack instead of on a baking sheet. She also suggests an oven temperature of 275oF for the first hour, then 225oF for two additional hours. If you prefer to use a baking sheet instead, the site Moms Budget recommends spraying the slices with non-stick baking spray. (I ended up putting mine on a baking sheet, but next year I think I'll take Create a Prim's advice and put them on the oven rack.)
Step 5) If you like, decorate the slices with glitter once the slices have cooled. Then, thread each slice onto a length of fishing line or ribbon. Now they can be hung on the tree.

If you liked this idea, just remember: dried apple slices make pretty Christmas decorations, too!

Orange and apple slices not only look beautiful -- they smell delicious as well! Be creative in how you use them. In addition to their most common role as tree ornaments, they can also be strung onto garlands, tossed into holiday potpourri, fastened onto Christmas wreaths, and arranged artfully on the holiday dining table.

Using dried fruits as Christmas ornaments is an old-timey tradition that's coming back into fashion. Why? They are simple to make, inexpensive, and naturally beautiful. As you hang them on the tree, think of your citrus slices as an antidote to the expensive and stressful shop-stravaganza that the holiday season has become. Enjoy!


How to dry orange slices for Xmas ornaments(click thumbnails to view gallery)

Slice your orangesBlot orangesPrepare to bake!MmmmOranges on the tree


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  • Alison

    I heard about this when I was researching about how to keep cats out of a Christmas tree. Apparently, cats don't like citrus smells. It inspired me to try this. I may get some other kinds of citrus for color. Limes? Lemons? Either way, it smells good to me, but not to my 10-pound cat. Hopefully this year the tree will win!

    Reply
  • pm318

    I just added pink grapefruits to my orange slices, they are are a beautiful color and look really nice on the lower branches as they are quite big

    Reply
  • 2 Comments / 1 Pages

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