I’m excited to show you this dried orange slice garland I made a few days ago. For some time, I’ve wanted to decorate with orange slice garland. I love the primitive, Americana look of it and believe it complements our old house better than super shiny tinsel. I imagine this type of garland adorned the March family Christmas tree. (March family as in Little Women.)
Can’t you just see the girls gathered around the tree with a fire blazing? Jo writes on her latest play, Beth silently reads poetry, Meg helps Marmee sew Union Army uniforms, and Amy stares out the window wishing she had a pocket full of money.
Sometimes I really do think I was born in the wrong century, not that I would dare accept a do-over should one be offered. No, I like hot showers and good coffee and Sonic ice too much for that. So I’ll be perfectly content with an old (renovated) house, my well-loved copy of Little Women, and my version of homemade garland instead.
Anyway, I LOVE how this Christmas craft turned out. My garlands are now festooning the bookshelf, draping the mantel, hanging like ornaments from the front porch tree. Each night when the sun goes down, a spot of brightness lingers.
I think I’ll leave my natural orange slice garlands up all through winter, too. Considering that in literature the color orange (and orange fruit) symbolizes enthusiasm, optimism, happiness, and creativity—what better way to start the new year?
Half a dozen oranges
A large needle or other sharp object
Cookie Sheets (6 oranges will fill 2 cookie sheets)
Slice oranges about 1/4 inch thick. Dab with paper towels to remove excess juice. Place slices in a single layer on parchment-covered cookie sheets. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour.
Turn slices and bake an additional hour.
Turn slices and bake an additional thirty minutes.
Let cool and dry on wire rack for 24 – 48 hours.
As you can tell, this part of the process takes times and is best done when you are hibernating at home.
Once your orange slices are dry, string them by threading twine in and out of slices. I planned to use a large needle but many of the slices already had natural holes large enough to accommodate the twine. In the solid (non-hole-y) slices, I pierced the orange slice with a skewer and pulled the twine through the hole.
The process was much easier than I expected. (In other words, no needle was necessary but use a needlepoint needle if you prefer.)
I made various swags including a garland with bits of fresh rosemary between slices. Simply tie the rosemary pieces on—it’s easy. You could use snippets of fresh Christmas greenery instead. Or walnuts and cinnamon sticks.
For variety, use different types of oranges—blood oranges will result in darker slices—or mix in other dried fruit slices like apples.
If you are a stickler for evenly spaced orange slices, you might tie knots on either side of the slices so they are stationary, or add jingle bells as spacers. But I didn’t worry about this. The imperfect composition is what I love most.
The small tree on our front porch is now decorated with individual orange slice ornaments.
For the birds!
Don’t forget our feathered friends! Certain bird varieties—woodpeckers, tanagers, thrashers, mockingbirds, grosbeaks—really appreciate a citrus snack during winter.
I know this to be fact. They told me.
I hung a loop of dried orange slices on the bird feeder as a Merry Christmas gift! This is easy to make and would be an ideal nature project for the little ones in your family.
See? There are so many fun ideas for dried orange slices. All of them are golden in my opinion.
Five days til Christmas, y’all. If you start today, you can have orange slice garland for Christmas Eve…
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.