From the Kitchen of Angie St. John
This time of year, my shriveled up citrus reminds me that I need to use it. However, some I don’t get to quick enough…then the light bulb goes off - dry them! Fruit themed ornaments are always fun to make this time of year and I like to string garland, too. I try to dry fruit every year and the fresh aroma is one of my favorite parts. You really could do a number of things with the dried fruit…string it to hang individually or glue it onto a wreath.
You could also just simply leave it out in a bowl for display and scent.
Drying fruit is a fun project to do on a cold, snowy day at home with the kids. It's also fun to take the kids to the grocery store and select the fruit they want to use. At the end of its time indoors, we place our dried fruit on a tree in the yard for the little critters to enjoy in the heart of winter. How will you use yours?
What you will need:
Choose the fruits of your liking: citrus, kiwis, apples, bananas, pineapple, mangoes, prunes. I chose to use citrus for my dried fruit.
2 lemons cut into ¼ inch slices
2 limes cut into ¼ inch slices
1 blood orange cut into ¼ inch slices
1 orange cut into ¼ inch slices
*use skin of citrus to make cute shapes such as a heart!
1. Preheat your oven to 200F (or 170F if your oven can go lower) and make sure to set to convection oven settings. Then, line a tray with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Use a very sharp knife to slice the citrus into slices no more than ¼" inch width. Note that if the slices are thicker, they will take longer to cook.
3. Place the citrus slices onto the parchment lined tray and bake anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the size of the citrus. In my experience, lemons and limes take the least amount of time followed by oranges.
4. After about 2 hours of baking, flip the citrus so the side facing the parchment paper is now exposed. Also, rotate the tray so that the citrus that was closest to the glass is now in the back of the oven. Continue this process every 2 hours as needed.
5. Once the fruit has no more moisture and is brittle to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool completely.
6. Once cooled, use them as decorations to your liking. Arrange in a bowl, string garland or ornaments using ribbon, twine or clothespins, use a glue gun to attach them to a wreath…the list goes on and on, use your creativity!