Learn to dehydrate oranges and create a bounty of sunshine all year long. They are perfect for snacking, for baking, for cooking, and for decor!
While citrus season is in the late winter and early spring in North America, good orange varieties are available all year round. You can take advantage of a great harvest season or a good sale at any time.
Oranges make an easy first project for dehydrators. A simple slice and dry is all that is needed! And they slices are so sweet that they make perfect snacks! And dip them in a little chocolate -- marvelous!
Let's get started!
How to Dehydrate Oranges
Quick-drying FAQ: Dry at 125°F/52°C for 18-36+ hours, until slices snap when cooled.
Wash oranges well. Even if using organic, you need to soak and wash the orange to remove any residue and wax that may be on the skins.
Soak in a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar for about 15 minutes. Scrub with baking soda if you feel it necessary.
Slice into ¼" slices (6-7 mm). I find that using a good serrated bread knife works wonders to cutting grapefruit by hand.
Tip: If using a mandoline or meat slicer, cut the end of the orange to give yourself a flat surface.
Tip 2: PLEASE remember to wear a protective cutting glove when using a mandoline. Even if you can use the guard that comes with the machine, hands and surfaces become slick.
Place slices on trays. You can pack them fairly close together without overlapping. Some airflow is nice, but they don't need a ton of space, nor will they shrink much.
Dry at 125°F/52°C or lower for 18-36+ hours.
While the recommended temperature for fruit is 135°F/57°C, oranges often brown during the drying phase as the sugars brown from the heat. Dropping the temperature can help prevent that, though you do have to add a little more time to the drying process.
You can use a liner such as silicone mesh or parchment paper, but it's not generally necessary.
Tip: Flip your slices after the three to four hour mark, and every five hours to keep them from sticking to your trays.
Test. Allow a sample or two to come to room temperature. It is fully dry when you can snap it in two easily, and there is no moisture in the cells of the flesh.
Store in an airtight container for up to eighteen months, though you'll likely get a much longer time with proper storage techniques.
How to Use Dried Orange Slices
Your dehydrated slices will look so pretty in your containers on their own, but they have so many more uses than simply throwing in a bowl of potpourri.
- Dip in chocolate to eat as treats or share as gifts - these should be immediately refrigerated and served within a few days.
- Place in a bowl of sugar for an orange-flavor sugar that can be used in baking or finishing
- Roast chicken: Place slices in the cavity or make a bed for the chicken to sit on.
- Place slices on fish to bake.
- Slip into a glass of water or tea to bring a bright orange flavor.
- As a garnish on cocktails
- Decorating (Remember to spray with a protective coating if displaying any citrus on a wreath or other decoration for any period of time to seal it)
- Simmer in a pot with cinnamon sticks, cardamon, allspice for an autumn/winter ambiance
How to Dehydrate Orange Segments
Some folks love to have dehydrated orange segments. I prefer doing canned mandarin oranges because they've had all the prep work done. However, if you are using fresh oranges, use smaller sweeter varieties to make this happen like Cara Cara, mandarin, etc.
- Wash and peel oranges
- Segment oranges and pull off the white connective tissue in the middle
- Slit the membrane on both sides to allow the moisture from the segment to escape
- -OR- Soak your orange segments in a solution of pectic enzyme to help remove the membrane (use the package directions to form the solution). This will give your orange segments the same consistency as you see in canned orange slices.
- -OR- simply butterfly the segments (cutting down from the thicker side to just shy of all the way through, and laying them out flat, flesh side up)
- Place on dehydrator trays and dry at 125°F/35°C or lower until completely dry - usually 18-36+ hours.
- Condition if storing - no need if these are being consumed in a few days.
- Store in an airtight container
Dehydrating Citrus Varieties
You can get more specific information on drying your favorite type of citrus here:
How to Make Orange Powder
Dry fruit thoroughly with the instructions above. It's important that your orange slices be completely dry before powdering.
- Break slices up into the grinder of your choice. I happen to use a NutriNinja most often, but a coffee grinder or large blender works well, too.
- Pulse your grinder four or five times before commencing to a sustained grind.
- Strain out the powder with a fine-mesh strainer, then grind the leftover bits again.
- Condition: Place powder on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a warmed (but off) oven OR back into your dehydrator in coffee filters, muffin papers, etc. to dry for 15-30 min
- Allow to come to room temperature, then store in an airtight container, preferably with a moisture absorber. Follow these tips to help prevent clumping in orange powder.
LEARN MORE: 25+ Ways to Use Fruit Powder
Commonly asked questions
Typically, most dehydrated foods are best within a twelve to eighteen month window that you dry them, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. However, with proper airtight storage techniques, you're likely to get much longer time from them.
While orange peels are edible, you need to weigh the organic vs. conventional citrus debate about clean fruit.
Orange juice is made from the juice and pulp of oranges. With dehydrated slices, you can flavor water with the essence of orange, but it's not the same as orange juice.
Time is relative when dehydrating. It depends on your machine, your home's humidity, the moisture in your fruit, how thick you've cut the slices, etc. Use the time mentioned as a window of time, not an exact. Keep drying if they aren't fully dried, yet!
And if you want to see how to make and store orange powder - watch now!
- Oranges Works with mandarin, cara cara, cuties, navel, blood, etc.
- Wash ranges well
- Slice into ¼ slices
- Dry at 125F°C / 52°C for 18-36 hours
- Dry when they snap when cooled and no moisture is evident
- Store in an airtight container