In Breton language, “December” is the well named “miz Kerzu” that means “the very dark month”: and it is indeed the time of the year when everything invites us to seek light, colour and softness at home.
After this year so difficult, upset and overwhelming, how good it is to find those December lights and all these rituals that connect us to happy days, to benevolent thoughts and to the beauty of a candle that shines in the night!
To decorate our Advent wreath and invite the Christmas spirit to breathe a little here, this year I have prepared a batch of delicate dried oranges that have kept all their promise 🙂
Here is a really simple way to enjoy their soothing scent and their lovely color for a long time:
- a 38 x 44 cm / 15 x 17,3 inches oven rack
- 5 to 6 medium oranges - organic if you want to eat them and ideally seedlessYou can of course vary the citrus fruits and dry them at the same time as long as the thickness of the slices is the same.
- Wash the oranges and dry them well. With a sharp knife, cut them crosswise into thin slices (3 to 5 mm), trying to be as regular as possible.
- Place the slices on the oven rack making sure that none of them can fall out. You can tighten them (they will retract as they dry) but be careful not to overlap so they can dry evenly.
- Put them in the oven and dry them at 70 °C / 158 °F for 4 hours on rotating heat (if you have a dehydration mode, now is the time to use it!) Leaving the door slightly ajar to let the moisture escape . The kitchen will smell very good
- After 2 hours, you can take a look to check that everything is going well and that no slice that has become smaller is found in perdition at the bottom of the oven. If your slices are a little thick, you can turn them over, if some are thinner than others and seem already dry, do not hesitate to remove them.
- At the end of 4 hours, turn off the oven and let the oranges cool quietly. They will harden and take on their final appearance once they have cooled completely. You can now admire them and store them in an airtight tin box or glass jar where they can be stored for several months.
Now that you have a nice collection of pretty translucent and scented dried orange slices, you can:
– hang them one by one to decorate the Christmas tree (the bigger ones will be perfect for that) or a wreath by passing a small strand of raffia with a needle or by using a piece of wire flexible florist type,
– create a garland by hanging them one by one on a linen or raffia thread,
– decorate the table or the Christmas buffet accompanied by fir branches and star anise,
– mix the smaller ones in a bowl with cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves for a nice spicy potpourri that you can place near a heat source,
– eat them raw: although unsweetened, dried oranges are a concentrate of orange flavor and taste and are delicious to snack on (my biggest love to eat them whole, but the skin is still reserved for thrill seekers!) ,
– decorate an orange cake or a gingerbread (by brushing a little warmed honey on both sides to fix them and make them shine),
– infuse a slice in your cup of tea for an aromatic and slightly sweet orange tea,
– cut them into small pieces to flavor cookies, cakes, loose tea and infusion,
– open the box and breathe in their soft and comforting scent as soon as you feel like it 🙂
I hope this little recipe will give you ideas to start preparing a beneficent and soothing Christmas!