Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Crafty Christmas

Turn your oranges into some truly a-peel-ing festive decorations.

Orange, cinnamon and cloves. To me those three scents signal the start of the festive season.
In our house, Christmas was always a time of making and baking and as soon as December starts I get the urge to bake or craft or cook. After all, is there anything cosier than staying home on a cold winter day with the smell of fresh pastry wafting from the kitchen while you deck the halls with boughs of holly?

There are actually a lot of uses for orange peels (we’ll get to them in another post) but here we’ve collected some of our favourite ideas for using the to decorate your home.

How to dry oranges

Equipment:
A sharp knife
Kitchen paper
A wire rack
Oven preheated to 110°C (or lower if possible)
Baking parchment
[Optional:]
Icing sugar
Cloves
Cookie cutters

  1. Decide what shape you want your orange peels to be. You can create long strips and curl them into rose shapes; use cookie cutters to cut the into Christmas trees, stars or gingerbread men; or just use the shapes that come naturally when you peel them.
    If you have whole oranges which are ageing and no longer good to eat, you can cut them into slices or leave them whole but score deep cuts around the sides.
    Once the orange is dried it will become hard and brittle, so make any holes or cuts that you need now.
  2. Using kitchen paper, gently press the oranges to release some of the liquid. This is particularly important if you are using parts with the fruit still attached. You can leave the orange pieces to sit wrapped in kitchen paper while you wait for the oven to pre-heat.
  3. Decide if you want to stud your peels with cloves (personally, I love the smell of clove and orange together, but some people find it overpowering.) Using your knife, make small cuts in the skin and insert the cloves stem first.
  4. Sprinkling orange slices with icing sugar will give them a slight shine once they are dried. Sprinkle both sides and tap off the excess before putting them into the oven.
  5. Places the orange pieces directly onto the wire rack in your oven. If you have smaller pieces that will fall through, line the rack with baking parchment.
  6. Drying time will depend on the size of your orange.
    Oranges pieces: 2-3 hours.
    Whole satsumas or clementines: 4 – 7 hours.
    Large oranges: 15 hours.
  7. If you have coated your orange pieces in sugar, turn them over after 1.5 hours to make sure they aren’t sticking.
  8. Remove the oranges from the oven and leave them to cool. You can also leave them to sit on a heater to finish off.
  9. Get crafting. Here are some of our favourite ideas:
Orange Peel Roses
Beautiful orange roses by Idunn Goddess

These pretty roses can be created using fresh peel or dried to help them keep throughout the Christmas period.

Tiny Christmas Stars
Tiny Christmas Stars by totallybydesign

Create thread holes in these little stars for a pretty, natural alternative to store-bought tree decorations. Little ones can help thread these onto rustic garden twine to make cute decorations of their own.

Pretty Botanical Garland
Pretty Botanical Garland by Patti Estep

Patti Estep mixes orange slices with other herbs and plants to make this rustic and fragrant garland.

Orange and Pine Cone Hanging Decorations
Pine and orange hanging decorations from krokotak.com

Adding brightly coloured wood or plastic beads creates an eye-catching decoration that can be re-used year after year. Simply replace the orange peels when they get too brown or brittle.

Orange Peel Potpourri
Orange peel potpourri
Orange Peel Potpourri by Mary Ylisela

Mary Ylisela adds nutmeg and star anise to this lovely, fragrant potpourri. Place a dish of it near the front door so your Christmas guests are greeted by a fresh and cosy scent.

Orange and Clove Pomanders
Pomander by the lovely wild
Patterned pomander by simplebites

Get a little bit of history this Christmas by making these lovely orange pomanders. Both of these version use fresh oranges, but I prefer them dried slowly in the oven or on the radiator to ensure they have a longer life.

Have your own waste-free Christmas craft idea? We’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments below or contact us.

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