DIY dried citrus wheel decorations
Updated: May 11, 2022
Now that we're welcoming Old Man Winter to settle in by the fire for the coming months, I wanted to celebrate the vibrant, juicy jewels that provide sunshiney pops of colour amidst the cool, crisp days... citrus!
Dried citrus wheels are such a fun and ridiculously easy DIY project for your weekend nesting, and are worth while making due to the sheer myriad ways you can use them.
They make the most gorgeously eco friendly, zero waste decorations for your home, cocktails, gift wrapping and so much more! Plus they last indefinitely — meaning you can make up a batch and store soundly until inspiration calls!
So here I'll share some of the ways to brighten up dreary days with dried citrus, plus my easy method for making them.
8 ways to use dried citrus wheels
1/ SEASONAL POTPOURRI
A medley of dried citrus tossed in a bowl with cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves makes the most warming and uplifting seasonal potpourri. Lovely as a table centrepiece. I like to sprinkle a few drops of cinnamon, clove and citrus essential oils (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin or tangerine... whatever citrus oil you have!) onto the potpourri to enhance the aromatics.
Our wholesome Thieves oil is the topical skin balm counterpart to this aromatic potpourri — with warming spices of cinnamon and clove and uplifting lemon, Thieves gets your blood moving on those cold winter days when you'd rather stay in bed!
2/ NATURAL THEMED GIFT ADORNMENT
Dried citrus wheels positively shine as a gift topper. Who even cares what's inside the package when you have this bright bundle of joy greeting you? Thread some twine through the centre (make a hole with a pin or knife tip if need be), and you're good to go!
3/ TEA, COCKTAIL & GLUHWEIN GARNISH
Impress your mates at your next dinner party by perching a golden disc of delight upon your cocktail glasses. Dried citrus also adds a zesty zing to your wintertime hot herbal teas or summertime iced teas.
And though not pictured, it would be blasphemous not to mention that dried orange wheels make THE most perfect garnish for your wintertime glühwein (mulled wine).
4/ ECO FRIENDLY PARTY DECORATIONS
Did you get the memo from Mother Earth? Tinsel, balloons and plastic glitter are OUT. Earth friendly and zero waste festive decorations are IN (forever). Look, you don't even need to have a party to string dried citrus wheel garlands around your home — I do it for the sheer beauty of it, plus they add brightness and cheer to any space.
To make a dried citrus wheel garland, thread a long piece of twine onto a large stitching needle and thread through the citrus wheels, spacing them as close or as far apart as you desire.
Some other ways to spread citrus season cheer...
5/ Hang citrus wheels on string and you've got earthy, eco friendly Christmas tree decorations!
6/ Break into little pieces and grind in your spice grinder — the powder makes a zesty rub and seasoning for roasted foods.
7/ Dip into melted chocolate, sprinkle with a touch of sea salt, set in fridge on baking paper until firm and enjoy!
8/ Forget the cherry — pretty up your cakes, cupcakes and desserts with dried citrus wheels instead!
How to make dried citrus wheels
Citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, lemons or limes)
Preheat oven to your lowest temperature (eg. 50 degrees Celsius). Line baking trays with baking paper.
Cut fruit into thin slices. The thinner the better as thinner = less cooking time. If you have a mandolin you can use this.
Arrange your citrus on the trays, being sure not to overlap them.
Place in oven for anywhere from 3 - 6 hours.
Every 1-2 hours, use tongs to flip over the citrus wheels and rotate the baking trays so the front end faces the back, and so forth (this is to ensure the most consistent drying possible).
Note that smaller citrus such as lemons and limes will take less time than oranges and grapefruit.
Given the drying time, this is a project that is best reserved for the weekend, starting in the morning, when you are happily nesting at home for the day :)
When the wheels are COMPLETELY dry to the touch, remove and allow to cool. You will probably need to remove some wheels before others.
*Eradicating all of the moisture is crucial for prolonging the shelf life of these beauties*
Once cooled, store in an air tight container or jar, out of direct sunlight.
Notes: Use within a year if you plan on eating them. As decorations, they may last several years! Once they have reached a ripe old age, add them to your compost heap.
How do you like to use dried citrus wheels? I'd love to know!
Wishing you cosy winter days filled with bright sunbeam rays x