Orange You Going to Eat That?

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I get a lot of my stuff from the “last day of sale” bin at the grocery store. This weekend I picked up a 5 pound box of mandarin oranges for $2 – SCORE!!!!

The last time I hit the motherlode of mandarins, I canned them in a light syrup (very yummy!)  This time, I was rather short on small jars so I am dehydrating them instead.

The cool thing about oranges (and citrus fruit in general) is how darned useful it is.  Not only can I use the fruit itself in a number of different ways, I can use the peel to make a wonderful fresh natural cleaner.

So, first things first, get your stuff together.

These oranges are not organic so I won’t use the peel for anything edible.  Last week I got some organic lemons and dried those in rings with the peel intact.
Peel  your oranges and break them into segments.  If the segments are really big, cut them in half so that they will dry faster.  Spread the segments out on the trays of your food dehydrator.  Place the peels inside a clean Mason jar.
Dry your oranges in the dehydrator for 18-24 hours or until rubbery and dry.
Fill the jars of peels up with white vinegar.  Set them in a warm sunny window for at least a week. You will end up with a fresh citrus-y smelling cleaning concentrate that you can mix 50/50 with water.  This cleaner is great for kitchens because then you aren’t spraying toxic chemicals all over your counters before you prepare food on them.  When you use the cleaner, don’t worry, the vinegar smell will dissipate quickly and leave only the fresh orange smell behind.
A lovely jar of dried lemons.
You may be wondering, what can you do with all this dried citrus?
  • Place a few slices into the water pitcher in the fridge for a splash of citrus flavor
  • Put a slice into a cup of hot tea (really yummy with cinnamon warming tea)
  • Stuff under the skin of poultry for a citrus chicken
  • Grind to a powder in the food processor for an addition to the spice cabinet
  • Toss a handful into the crockpot to make orange chicken
  • Boil some slices with a cinnamon stick for a natural air freshener
  • Put a couple of segments into your cocoa for a decadent chocolate orange beverage
  • Add smaller pieces to any baked good that needs a hit of citrus – they will reconstitute slightly during the baking process

Lots of people like to eat the dried oranges as a snack.  During a long northern winter, if the food supply were ever interrupted because of bad weather or transportation issues, these little bites would be a fantastic source of fiber and vitamin C.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Found your blog at SHTFPlan. It’s just what I’ve been looking for: a HEALTHY prepping site.

    A question on the lemons – they appear black in the photo. Is that just the camera or do they turn black, and how can you tell they’re not moldy?


    • Hi, DT – Thank you for reading and I’m really glad you like the blog!

      Yes, they’re lemons. They turn a very dark brown and unappetizing color. As far as mold is concerned, you have to be sure that the pieces are totally dry – they need to be brittle enough to snap in two. If they’re not, there is too much moisture to store from more than a few months.

      If they become suspect, better to soak them in vinegar and use them for cleaning that to risk eating them.

      This being said I have been drying citrus for a couple of years and have not run into a problem with it! We generally use the pieces up within 6 months. They also make a nice addition to some water and cinnamon on top of the woodstove for a natural air freshener.


      • I love the idea of the peels in vinegar as a cleaner. I would never have thought of that. I am so glad I found your blog!

  • What about a few minutes presoak in citric acid, like you do for dehydrating apples to prevent oxidation? I realize citrus has citric acid, but the presoak might help.

    • Hi Stacey – I haven’t tried drying them in the oven, but I can’t imagine it would be a problem. You’ll want to watch them carefully and set the heat lower than 200 degrees. Turn them frequently for even drying. However, I strongly recommend you consider getting a dehydrator – when you look at the costs for running your oven vs. running a dehydrator, a reasonably priced one will pay for itself quickly. This one is pretty reasonably priced and is a purchase you will use often:

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