Dehydrating oranges is a process that allows you to preserve fruit by removing most of its moisture, allowing for storage over a long period of time. Dehydrated oranges are great for use in baking, cooking, and even as snacks to nibble on. Thinly sliced, dehydrated oranges can be rehydrated and used in fruit salads but first, you’ll need to learn how to dehydrate oranges for that.
Why dehydrate oranges? Dehydration allows you to store large quantities of oranges without fear of spoilage, mold, or insect infestation. Dehydration is the cheapest method for long-term storage compared to some other preservation techniques. Dehydrating oranges is also an excellent way to put up excess fruit during harvest season when prices are low and oranges are abundant.
The basic technique remains the same no matter what equipment you use for the actual dehydration process. The first step is to wash the oranges. Next, prepare the oranges by slicing them into thin discs. You can cut them into as thin pieces as you want, going to a maximum of ¼ inch thickness. Finally, just follow the instructions according to whichever equipment you are using to dry the oranges.
Before we move on to prepare our oranges and dehydrate them, you need oranges! So, how do you buy the best oranges to dehydrate them? Here are some quick tips to help you buy the perfect oranges next time you are in the market.
Now that you know how to buy oranges, how do you prepare them for dehydrating?
The first step in preparing the oranges is cleaning them. Wash the oranges in a clean sink by using clean, running water. Rub the skin vigorously to remove all traces of dirt, bacteria, and germs. Do not use any kind of soap or detergent to wash your fruit. If you want to be thorough, you can use a vinegar wash to clean the oranges.
For the vinegar wash, mix three parts of water and one part of vinegar. Soak your oranges in this solution for 5 – 10 minutes, and then rinse again with some fresh, clean water.
Oranges are usually dehydrated with the peel on, so leave them on. However, if you are looking to snack on these dehydrated oranges, you can peel them before dehydrating them. Dehydrated oranges look very appealing visually when they are cut into circular discs. The mandoline is a tool that can really come in handy at this time to cut your oranges into even discs. You can easily set the thickness you desire and slide the fruit over the mandoline blade to get your slices. After you have washed your fruit, attach it to the protective holder and then slice the oranges.
However, if you do not have a mandoline or are not comfortable using it, you can also use a sharp knife. Just take your time to get all the slices as even as possible. A thickness between ⅛ of an inch to ¼ of an inch is ideal. The thinner your slices are, the better they will dehydrate, and the more evenly they are cut, the more evenly they will dry.
Now that oranges are clean and cut, you are ready to dehydrate them! We have described three of the most commonly used methods to dehydrate oranges in the sections below.
The oven is like an all-rounder who is capable of anything, including dehydrating your oranges! Given how common it is for ovens to be a part of people’s kitchens, the oven is the go-to method for most when it comes to dehydrating.
The air fryer is relatively new to the dehydrating world but is still a promising candidate to get dehydrated oranges in a jiffy. Some air fryers even have a dehydrator setting inbuilt! However, if yours doesn’t, don’t worry. Here’s how you can do it on your own.
The dehydrator is a tried and trusted piece of equipment to dry your fruits, but it also takes the most time to dehydrate them.
You can also incorporate a little sugar into your oranges for extra sweetness. Once you have your oranges cleaned and cut, simply sprinkle some sugar on one side of the orange slices. You can use as much or as little sugar as you want. Once the orange slices are all sugared up, you can use any of the techniques mentioned above to dehydrate them. When placing these sugared slices on the trays, place them with the sugared side facing down.
Before you start packing up your orange slices for storage, make sure they have cooled completely to room temperature. Only store completely cooled slices because the heat in the slices can cause mold growth really fast once stored in containers.
If you have dehydrated your orange slices so that they are still a little gooey and syrupy, store them in an air-tight container by separating each orange slice by wax paper to prevent them from sticking to one another. It is best to keep these kinds of orange slices in the refrigerator to last longer.
On the other hand, if you have dried your oranges to be completely crispy, add them to your air-tight containers until they are ⅔ full. For the first week, gently shake the containers so that any remnant heat and moisture in the dehydrated oranges distributes throughout the jar. If you notice any condensation inside the jars during this week, you need to dehydrate the oranges for a bit longer since this means that the oranges have not dried completely.
At the end of the week, if your jars are all looking good, you can fill them completely and store them in your pantry.
Garnish for a beverage: Use your dehydrated oranges as a garnish in your cocktails.
Make Flavored Water: Add a few slices of dehydrated oranges to your water to transform it into a refreshing drink.
Dessert Topping: Use the dehydrated orange slices to decorate your cakes.
There are so many ways you can use dehydrated oranges. All you need to do is get creative! They also make a delicious and refreshing snack to enjoy!
Dehydrated oranges have a lot of potentials if you give them a chance. And they are so easy to prepare! Give any of these techniques a try the next time you have a surplus of oranges, and you won’t regret it! Also, check out some of our other drying guides here.
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