Drying blood oranges is a very simple and easy 3 step process – wash, cut and dry. Have some fun and play with the vibrant colour and flavour of dried blood orange. This recipe will also work for any citrus you may want to dry. Transforming lemons, limes, mandarins, grapefruit, tangelos or kumquats into an instantly fashionable garnish or flavouring is very vogue. Garnish your summer spritzer, favourite aperitif or homemade cordial with slices of preserved blood orange and lemon. Roll your margarita glass in powdered lime and a mixture of salt and sugar for some extra razzmatazz. Or use as a creative garnish on your next cheesecake, pavlova, citrus tart, lemon meringue pie or ice cream dessert. Let a dehydrator do all the work for you and watch it conveniently process a consistently high-quality product.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Drying time: 6-8 hours
Wash the blood oranges
6-8 ripe blood oranges
- Wash the blood oranges to remove any garden debris if home grown or any artificial wax that may have been used as part of commercial processing.
- Leaving the peel on, slice blood oranges 3-5 mm thick.
- Once cut, lay out on paper towel or a tea towel. Cover with the same and pat dry to remove any immediate excess moisture.
- Place the sliced orange rings, evenly in a single layer without overlapping onto the dehydrator tray. Repeat and use multiple trays as required.
- As each tray is loaded, place on the dehydrator, cover with the lid and commence drying.
- Cook at 58-60 degrees C, or at the recommended temperature specified by your dehydrator brand, for approximately 6-8 hours until the slices are dried and are not sticky to touch. Drying time will also depend upon the moisture content of the oranges, the thickness of the slices.
- Allow to cool before storing in paper bags and/or airtight container. They will go mouldy if they are stored in a plastic bag.
- Label with the name of the product and date dried as a minimum and store in a cool, dry and dark place.
- Use only the best quality produce at the peak of ripeness and flavour. Remove any bruised or damaged sections but not do use mouldy fruit.
- Some fruits and vegetables benefit from treatments, to inactivate enzymes that cause browning, once they have been cut and are exposed to the air. Unlike apples, pears and apricots, no pre-treatment is required when drying citrus as they do not oxidise.
- It is recommended that fruits are dried at 58-60 degrees C to minimise the loss of heat-sensitive vitamin A and C and to retain colour.
- Drying times can vary and will be influenced by the age, type and efficiency of your dehydrator, fruit moisture content, the thickness and evenness of the sliced fruit and climatic conditions such as temperature and humidity.
- Check the slices every hour or so and turn over as required. Remove any slices that are dried and rearrange the trays as required.
- Other items that can be recorded include dried weight, drying time and temperature, length of storage time before use - your own Best Before date - plus any other information you think is important. I have different varieties of apples, citrus and peaches so I like to note the fruit type such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady Dried Apples.
- Correct labelling assists in rotating products as the pantry starts to fill from your preserving adventures.
- Place the latest products to the back of your storage so that the oldest preserved products are always used first.
- Package dried fruit as soon as it is cool so that it does not commence absorbing moisture. Exposure to moisture at this stage or from incorrect packaging can lead to a loss of quality and the development of mould during storage.
- Home vacuum packaging is an excellent way to keep your products dry and preserve their flavour and colour. Vacuum packaging will extend the shelf life 3 - 4 times.
- Bag sealers are useful but note that they do not remove the air within the package and will not produce the same result.
- Do not store fruits and vegetables in the same storage container as there may be a transference of flavour and moisture.
- The darker and cooler the storage area the longer dried foods will last in peak condition. For every 10 degrees C lower the storage area is, shelf life is increased 3-4 times.