First a quick note to say message(s) received and rest assured: We have no intention of lighting our apartment on fire in the name of holiday cheer. In a prudent twist on my original plan to create a holiday candle tradition, I’ve decided it’d be a fun and wise plan to light candles on the first night the fresh tree comes inside, and to follow the lighting with rolling candles that we’d use to decorate the tree for the rest of the season, and to light the following year. See how that cycle works? Breathing easier?
But I also wanted to update you on the ornament situation chez nous. In search of a bit of color, I took 5 minutes to slice oranges and pop them into an oven set to a very low temperature. Now our tree is looking sufficiently cheery and sufficiently old-timey and sufficiently earth-friendly to make my heart sing.I’m a committed low-impact DIY-er, meaning that I like to make things myself that have a pleasant impact on a space, but low-impact on me in terms of time, and expense, and levels of difficulty. Dried fruit ornaments fit the bill.
I first wrote about making a dried fruit garland in this post, originally published a couple of years ago. The advantage of these simple orange ornaments is that the sun comes streaming through them in a way that gets a little lost with a more abundantly strung garland.They’re also terribly easy to make. If I hadn’t been taking photos to share with you, the entire affair would have taken mere minutes (not counting drying time). I used a tiny screwdriver to pierce holes near the top of each dried orange slice.
I used cotton twine to string my orange ornaments, but you can use whatever ribbon, yarn, or wire you’d like.
What you need:
Oranges (Any kind’ll do. I used two naval oranges I found lingering in the fridge drawer.)
Small screwdriver (or similarly poke-y instrument for making a hole in the dried fruit)
+ Begin by slicing your oranges into 1/3-inch rounds. (Be careful to cut the slices as evenly as possible. Thinner sections will dry more quickly and could burn or curl in a warm oven before the thicker sections have a chance to dry.) (Wash well first if you plan to include them in mulling spices or other edible treats).
+ Place a drying rack on top of a cookie sheet and arrange orange slices on top of the rack. (If you don’t have a drying rack, you can place the slices directly onto the cookie sheet, but in that case, you’ll need to flip the slices every 1/2 hour or so.)
+ Place orange slices in a warm oven set to the lowest possible temperature. (That’s about 200 degrees F for me, but if you can go lower, do). Bake oranges for 2-4 hours until dried. I like to err on the shorter side of total time spent in the oven, and allow my oranges to finish drying completely on the tree.
+ Pierce a small hole near the top of your orange (below the rind) and string with twine, ribbon, or wire as you prefer.Dried oranges make a sweet ornament to a simple Christmas tree, but they’d also make a nice addition to a pouch of mulling spices, or a simple gift wrap. And the best part? If properly dried, the orange ornaments will last and last. But once they become too fusty to keep, or if you don’t have the place to store them, or if the theme for your tree is more white and gold than, say, orange and honey, then into the compost they go, with a nary a landfill filled.
More wintry posts, this way.