Oranges and apples can be dried in the home oven, allowing you to create everything from potpourri to wreaths and floral decor with the finished items. Once dry, orange and apple slices or chunks retain their scent and are well preserved; they can be used for permanent arrangements. You can dry chunks, slices or peels from either fruit; drying the entire whole fruit is not recommended, the middle won't get all the way dry, causing the fruit to rot from the inside out.
Things You'll Need
Oranges or apples
1/4-inch wood dowel
Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit into slices between 1/4- and 1/2-inch wide. Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of peel if desired.
Lie the orange slices on a paper towel and press slightly to remove excess juice. Do not squeeze or squash the oranges.
Spread the oranges and peel pieces out on a cookie sheet; the slices can be close together, but shouldn't touch.
Turn the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the cookie sheet in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes with the door closed, then open the oven door about 2 inches to release steam and moisture. Let the slices bake for an additional 3 hours.
Use a spatula to turn the orange slices and peel pieces over, and bake for 3 more hours. Remove the oranges from the oven and allow them to cool. Use for wreaths, potpourri or other projects, or store in an airtight container.
Core the apple using an apple corer or sharp knife.
Slice the apple into 1/4-inch thick rings.
Thread the apple rings onto a wood dowel, then suspend the wood dowel across the top of the roasting pan. The apples should hang from the dowel and not touch the surface of the pan.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees, then insert the roasting pan. Leave the oven door ajar about 1 inch, and cook for two hours, then check the apples. If they have a dried, wrinkly appearance and are firm to the touch, they are done. If they are still soft and pliable, bake for another hour.
Remove the apples and store or use as desired.
Add a few drops of fragrance oil to dried fruit to enhance the scent if desired. Apples naturally darken as they dry; to preserve a light color, brush with lemon juice before baking.
Don't start with old or spoiled fruit; it retains blemishes as it dries. Keep dried fruit away from curious pets and toddlers; birds, bunnies and other small rodents can wipe out an entire tray of dried fruit in minutes.