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What to do with all that Arizona Citrus!

By, Heidi Vail

Recently my husband got on a kick making beef jerky. He loves it and has been making all different flavors. It’s really quite simple. Get the butcher to slice a roast for you. Then create a marinade.

I, on the other hand, prefer dried fruit. As most of us know living in beautiful Arizona: January is a good time for citrus! So why not try something new?? It really doesn’t take much. I use my toaster oven; it has a dehydrator setting. But you can buy a dehydrator online or do it in your oven.

Dehydrated citrus has so many uses. They are easy to prepare and naturally delicious! Here are just a few possibilities:

  • Add them in stews that call for lemons.
  • Dried oranges are perfect in hot or iced tea.
  • To flavor ice water, add a few dehydrated orange slices.
  • Dried orange slices are a match made in heaven in most cocktails, especially wine.
  • Use a few dehydrated orange slices to flavor simple syrup.
  • You can also use the oranges slices to embellish gifts and as garland.
  • Pack them in a ziplock and take with you on a hike.
  • Keep them in the car for a kid friendly snack
  • I feel silly even calling this a "recipe." After all, it has one single ingredient, oranges. However, I don't want anyone out there to miss out on this great way of preserving citrus, especially oranges.

    Preserving Citrus “Recipe”:

    1. Slice Oranges: Slice oranges with a mandolin slicer so that they are anywhere from ⅛" to ¼" in thickness. Keep in mind the thinner they are, the less time they'll need to dehydrate.

    2. Arrange Orange Slices: Arrange orange slices on the dehydrator trays, leaving room for air circulation.

    3. Set Temperature: Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees (fruit/vegetable setting). Start checking the orange slices after 2 hours. Sometimes it's helpful to flip the orange slices to the other side halfway through the process.

    4. Dehydrating Time: Depending on the thickness of the slices, it can take anywhere from 3 to 7 hours for the slices to completely dry.

    5. Cool and Store: Once the orange slices are completely dehydrated and no moisture remains, cool completely then store in mason jars.

    Hope you enjoy our little family secret to preserve one of Arizona’s 5 C’s!