Don't you just love this time of year !
Cosy dark nights and a real crispness in the air - and I'm pleased to report that, after years of trying to master the art of drying fruit slices, I have finally cracked it.
I have had numerous failed attempts in a conventional oven, I usually end up leaving them in too long or am impatient by not cooking them on a low enough heat, so this year, after a lot of searching I found these instructions http://www.ehow.com/how_12070841_dry-oranges-decoration-microwave.html which uses a microwave, and I have got the most amazing professional looking results
I used a nice quality orange, which was really juicy and very fragrant, and even though they have now dried completely, they still smell lovely
I did have a senior moment and cut the first orange the wrong way - the navel of the orange should be facing out to the side and not at the top, but as I love oranges, it wasn't wasted and went down a treat
I cut mine as thin as I could without harming any fingers along the way, but that is just a personal preference and they look just as good slightly thicker
I found that after microwaving, there was still a lot of surplus juice in the slices. I used a clean piece of kitchen paper and carefully pressed out as much liquid as I could, without damaging the segments and then put them somewhere warm to dry
With the air-drying part of the process, I kept them as flat as possible and turned them every day to try and stop them curling up too much
Due to the fact that they were thin, mine did only take a couple of days to completely dry out, and haven't shrunk much
They are a perfect partner to cinnamon sticks and are a fab way to spruce up holly
I'm now off to buy some lemon and limes to give them a go
Happy Crafting and let me know how you get on