Dehydrating Oranges & Orange Fruit Leather

Orange you glad this page covers dehydrating oranges?

Dehydrating sliced oranges with the rind on is the usual way to dry oranges, but that’s just the beginning. Explore how to dehydrate oranges slices, sections, blended into orange fruit leather, powdered, candied, and dipped in chocolate.

Dehydrating Oranges

With all methods of dehydrating oranges, you’ll have an easier time if you dry seedless oranges. Thoroughly wash the oranges. Buy organic oranges to avoid any pesticides on the peels.

Dehydrating Sliced Oranges

If dehydrating oranges in slices, cut them as thinly as possible, and place the slices on top of nonstick sheets in the dehydrator. The thinner you slice them, the faster they will dry. If desired, you can cut away the peels. One Excalibur Dehydrator tray will accommodate four to five sliced oranges.

Set the temperature at 135°F (57°C). Drying times vary depending on dehydrator model, thickness of slices, and other conditions. The dehydrated orange slices shown in the photo below were dry after fourteen hours.

Dehydrated orange slices.

Fully dried orange slices will bend or snap in half. The peels will be crunchy. Around the holidays, try dipping half of each dehydrated orange slice in chocolate.

Explore How to Make Chocolate Covered Oranges.

Dehydrating Oranges in Pieces

The photos below show two more ways to cut oranges for dehydration: the “grapefruit cut” and the “peel and cross section cut.”

Grapefruit cut and section cut methods of cutting oranges for dehydration.

The Grapefruit Cut

Cut oranges in half. Using a small serrated knife, cut along the edge of each wall inside the orange and along the peel. Pop out the triangular-shaped sections with the knife. Cut larger pieces again for faster drying.

Save the juice while cutting citrus fruits.

Photo: When using the grapefruit cut, capture any juice remaining in the fruit with a juicer. Enjoy the juice as a treat while you work, or use the juice and the peels to make candied citrus peels, discussed further down the page.

The Peel & Cross Section Cut

Peel oranges and pull apart the interior into crescent moon-shaped sections. Cut each section crosswise about nine times.

With both cutting methods, place orange pieces on nonstick sheets and dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for fourteen hours, or longer if necessary. Dehydrating oranges directly on mesh sheets will shorten the drying time, but the dried orange pieces will stick to the mesh and be hard to remove. This is even more of a problem for the other citrus fruits—lemons, limes, and grapefuits. Using a nonstick sheet makes removal from trays quick and easy.

Orange pieces on Excalibur Dehydrator tray using nonstick sheet.

Dehydrated orange pieces will be slightly pliable, but will also be easy to snap in half. Once dried, try coating them in melted chocolate as shown below.

Explore How to Make Chocolate Covered Oranges.

Chocolate covered orange pieces.

Store dehydrated oranges in airtight containers.

Dried grapefruit, oranges, and mixed fruits.

Photo above: Dehydrated grapefruit and orange pieces make great trail snacks by themselves or in combination with other dried fruits like bananas and apples.

Rehydrated fruit cocktail with dehydrated oranges, apples, and bananas.

Photo: Dehydrated oranges, bananas, and cranberry-infused apples rehydrated in a thermos food jar. Makes a refreshing afternoon fruit cocktail.

Rehydrating Fruit Cocktail: Add ½ cup of cold water to ½ cup of dried fruit. If you double the water, the extra water will take on a fruity taste, which is delightful and will help keep your hydrated on the trail. For best results, soak the fruit for at least an hour while you’re hiking.

How to Dehydrate Orange Fruit Leather

Orange fruit leather is delicious and easy to make. When sufficiently dried, the leather can be ground into powder for making orange juice on the trail.

Dehydrating Orange Fruit Leather. Spread thinly on tray.

Peel oranges and cut them into smaller pieces. Run the pieces through a blender to a smoothie-like consistency. The photo above shows 1½ cups of blended oranges spread thinly on an Excalibur Dehydrator tray. Two cups of tightly packed orange pieces (400 grams) were used to yield the 1½ cups of blended orange.

Dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for approximately five hours, or until no wet spots remain. When the orange leather is almost dry, flip it over and peel away the nonstick sheet. Finish drying directly on the mesh dehydrator sheet.

Dehydrated orange leather will be pliable, slightly stiff, and dry enough to fold and tear into sheets or smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container. If left out in the open, it will reabsorb moisture from the air and get sticky.

Variations: Combine oranges with bananas or mangos to create unique flavors. For ideas, explore Fruit Leather Recipes.

Dehydrated orange fruit leather and orange pieces.

Photo: Dried orange leather torn into smaller pieces on left, and dried orange pieces on right. Both make great trail snacks.

Dehydrating Orange Juice Powder

If you dry the orange leather a little past the pliable stage to the snappy stage, you can powder it in a blender or grinder.

Dehydrated Orange Powder for making orange juice or "pixy stix" type candy.

Yield: Two cups of tightly packed orange pieces (400 grams), blended and dried into orange leather on one Excalibur Dehydrator tray, will yield about five tablespoons of orange powder (50-60 grams).

Reconstituting Orange Juice Powder (One Serving):

Combine 2½ tablespoons (25 g) of orange powder with 8 ounces (237 ml) cold water. Shake container several times and allow a few minutes for the powder to break down. You can sweeten the juice with ¼-½ teaspoon of sugar per serving if desired.

Orange juice made with dehydrated orange powder.

Photo: Orange juice made from orange powder served in the lid of a thermos food jar. The juice has a little froth on top from having been shaken in the thermos.

Remember Pixy Stix?

Make your own pixy stix with orange powder and sugar.

Make your own healthier variety of pixy stix with dehydrated orange powder and sugar. Add as much or as little sugar to the orange powder to suit your tastes.

How to Dehydrate Orange Peels

If you are dehydrating oranges in pieces, don’t discard the peels. Turn them into crunchy candy. Reserve one tray for dehydrating the citrus peels at the same time as the pieces.

The following candy-making method works with any kind of citrus peels, including lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Photo of lemon below shows how to cut and trim off the white part from the peels.

Cutting citrus peels for drying. Cut away the white pithy part.

Start by slicing the peels into strips and trimming away as much of the white pithy part as possible with a sharp knife. This takes a little time, but you can do it after you load the dehydrator with the orange pieces.

Place the trimmed peels directly on a mesh sheet and dry at the same time as the orange pieces at 135°F (57°C).

Dried citrus peels.

Photo: Dehydrated orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit peels after four hours.

Remove citrus peels when they become brittle, after about four hours.

Place dried citrus peels in a container and cover with juice squeezed from the fruit-cutting operation. If you accidentally drank it all, use some orange juice from the fridge.

Soak dried citrus peels in matching juice for thirty minutes.

After about thirty minutes, pour off any juice that hasn’t been absorbed by the peels.

Place the moist citrus peels back on the dehydrator tray, this time with a nonstick sheet.

Stir in a generous amount of fine sugar to suit your taste. Don’t be stingy… think tablespoons, not teaspoons. Taste as you go until it makes your tongue happy.

Pour off juice and stir in sugar. Spread sweetened citrus peels out on dehydrator tray using nonstick sheet.

Once the peels are sweetened to your satisfaction, spread them out on the tray and put them back in the dehydrator. They will be crunchy again in about four hours, and surprisingly not sticky.

Store in an airtight container.

Dehydrated Candied Citrus Peels.

Photo: Assorted candied citrus peels made while dehydrating oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes.

Dehydrate lemons and limes at a lower temperature than oranges and grapefruit.

Dehydrating oranges and grapefruits at 135°F (57°C) is efficient and works well. However, lemons and limes will turn brown at that temperature. Turn the temperature down to 115°F (46°C) for lemons and limes. They may still turn a little darker, but not nearly as bad as at the higher temperature.

In order to shorten the drying time that results from drying at the lower temperature, slice lemons and limes in half longwise, and then crosswise into very thin slices. Arrange lemon and lime half-slices on dehydrator trays with cut side facing into the fan.

Explore More: Dehydrating Lemons & Limes.

Slice Lemons thinly, cut slices in half, and dry with the cut side facing the fan. Dry at 115°F, not higher.

Photo: Drying thinly sliced lemons works better than drying sections removed using the "grapefruit" cut. Once dried, the rinds are crunchy and fun to eat as a snack.

Dehydrating oranges takes longer, preparation-wise, than drying apples, bananas, and strawberries, but you'll enjoy the sweet taste and nutritional benefits added to your backpacking diet, such as vitamins C, A, and B-complex, pectin, flavonoids, antioxidants, and minerals. Source: Orange Nutrition Facts

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