Wednesday, December 9, 2020

How to Make Dried Orange and Cranberry Garland {Tutorial}

This tutorial will teach you how to make dried orange and cranberry garland for your Christmas tree! A natural and beautiful way to decorate for the holidays.
 
I first started making these dried oranges when Samuel and I lived in Berlin. We were just married and I had about two ornaments to my name. I was always trying to avoid buying too many things that we would want to bring back to the US, and since we only spent two Christmases in Germany, I couldn't really justify buying a tree-full of ornaments.

So, I decided to go with the dried orange ornament trend. I loved them so much, I have never gone back. They are just so pretty when those Christmas lights shine behind them. They look just like stained glass. 

After making them for 6 years, I feel like I have finally mastered these little guys. The first few years I made the oranges I just hung each individual one on a string (something like this is perfect). I think it's even prettier on cranberry garland, but to be fair, I am writing a note to myself in my Christmas planner for next year that says, "If you insist on doing the cranberry orange garland again, do yourself a favor and don't work on it until the kids are down for naps."

The one year old was the worst. He tried to pull all the cranberries off the end while I was stringing them on and then took a bite of each one still on the string and spat it out. He apparently thought that if he tried enough of them, he would eventually find one that was sour.


Anyway, I shouldn't discourage you. These really aren't that hard to make. Really quite easy. 

First you slice your oranges. Remember that the thinner ones sometimes curl up a little on the end, but the bigger ones take a little longer to dry. I would give you actual millimeter measurements so you know how thick to slice them, but who can actually cut an orange slice to the millimeter? Not me.


The fewer seeds your oranges have the better. Mine were kind of seedy, but that just means they will have a few holes where the seeds were. 

A trick I really found that helped this year was dabbing the oranges as dry as possible with paper towels. It just helps speed up the process a little bit by not putting the oranges in the oven too wet.

   
I layered pans in my oven. Remember the more oranges you have in the oven, the steamier the oven will get and the longer they will take too cook too. My first ones were done after 3 hours, but some of them took 7 hours. Remember if you don't have a full 7 hours to dry them out, you can always remove them from the oven and continue cooking at a different time.




 
They should not be sticky at all when they are finished. They should be nice and hard. 
 
As soon as they are dry, you can start decorating with them! You can poke a needle through the flesh part of the fruit to hang them. 
 
 

 
 
I find that a sewing needle and upholstery thread are the best for stringing them. I have used regular sewing thread before, but it gets tangled up easily because it's so thin. Embroidery thread would also work pretty well. 
 
I like to sew my first cranberry, push it to the end of my string and then tie a knot around it so it holds the rest on. Alternately you could just start stringing them onto your thread without cutting it and just keep pushing the fruits down the thread as you unwind it. 
 
I like to do about 15 cranberries between oranges, but you can do any pattern you like! You can also add a sprig of rosemary to the pattern if you are hanging the garland on your fireplace or windows to add a little green!
 
And now I'll answer a few more questions I can foresee you asking before I leave you with the "recipe". 
 
Can you eat the dried oranges?
 
Yes, you can, but they are very sour without all their sweet juice. I would suggest dipping them in chocolate or something if you really want to try them.
 
What else can I add to the garland besides cranberries and oranges?
 
As I mentioned above, rosemary is a great addition to this garland if you are hanging it on your window or mantle. If you hang it on your tree, the rosemary would not really pop much. You can add popcorn too or even wooden beads for something different!  

My oranges will not get dry and are still sticky. What do I do?

Just keep cooking them. They will dry eventually. You have to cook them at a low heat so they don't turn brown, so sometimes it can take a while. Like I said, my thickest ones took up to 7 hours. 

Can I save the cranberry orange garland to use again next year?
 
The cranberries will definitely not last, but if you get the oranges nice and dry, they should actually be good again next year! 
 


 
 
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Dried Orange and Cranberry Garland

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Dried Orange and Cranberry Garland
Author: Yammie's Noshery
This tutorial will teach you how to make dried orange and cranberry garland for your Christmas tree! A natural and beautiful way to decorate for the holidays.

Ingredients

You will need:
  • Several Oranges
  • Some fresh cranberries
  • A sharp knife and cutting board to cut oranges
  • Upholstery thread
  • A sewing needle
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with a dish towel or paper towels and preheat oven to 200ºF.
  2. Slice the oranges as thin as you can without making them too uneven. The thicker you slice them, the longer they will take to dry.
  3. Place the sliced oranges on the towel on your tray. Place another towel on top of the oranges and pat them dry to remove as much moisture as possible.
  4. Remove the paper towels and place the oranges on the baking sheet. And place in the preheated oven. 
  5. After the first hour, flip the oranges. Continue to check and flip the oranges every half hour.
  6. They will take 3-7 hours to completely dry out. I removed the first dry ones at about 3 hours and continued cooking the thicker slices until about 7 hours had passed.
  7. If the oranges aren't dry, but you need to stop baking them for any reason, just set them on the counter until you are ready to continue baking them.
  8. When all your oranges are dry, it is time to make your garland. Cut a long piece of upholstery thread (as long as you want your garland to be). Thread your sewing needle and tie a knot on it so you don't lose your thread. Sew on the first cranberry, push it to the end of your thread and then tie a knot around it.
  9. Sew about 15 cranberries onto your thread, pushing them all the way to the end, then add an orange. I like to sew two holes in the orange with the needle so that the orange is facing out. Continue this pattern until your garland is finished.
  10. Hang on your Christmas tree or use to decorate your fireplace or windows.
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