Edible Ornaments

December 15, 2010

And now, a break from the two part Guatemala series to remind you, it’s time to make your Christmas ornaments!

And, no, I don’t mean clothespin rain-dear.  I mean completely edible, compostable, stained-glass dried citrus.  Just look at this tree:

And this dried orange wreath:

They are really easy to make and the paper thin fruit slices just seem to glow when they’re back lit.  My house smells lovely now as I’m drying oranges from a friends tree, and I have to keep reminding my husband not to eat the pretty ones!  Their sweetness is so concentrated when their dried that they taste like orange candy, he even eats the peel!

Add variety in size and color by also drying blood oranges, lemons, and different kinds of grapefruit.

Drying citrus in a dehydrator:

Slice the oranges in thin disks
Place on your drying trays and dehydrate at the “fruit” setting for 4 to 6 hours.
When they appear to have lost all their juiciness, take them out and let them cool.

Drying citrus in an oven:
(From Marthastewart.com, sugar optional)

  • 1 navel orange, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat. Top with orange slices in a single layer, and generously dust with sugar. Bake until the peels are dry and the flesh is translucent, about 2 1/2 hours.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Oven-Dried Orange Slices – Martha Stewart Recipes

To hang them on a tree:
-Pierce with a typical ornament hook, or…
-Thread with needle and thread through the rind and tie a loop, or…
-Pierce a small, vertical hole in the “stained glass” portion and lace a ribbon through it, tie a loop.

To make a wreath:
Thread the slices with needle and thread and tie to a metal wreath frame or fasten to an evergreen wreath.

Completely Compostable:
Don’t want to undo the wreath or undecorate the tree?  Use all compostable materials.  It’s ok, you’ll make new ones next year and the house will smell delicious, a new holiday tradition.  (Though you may have trouble keeping people from eating them off the tree!)

-100% cotton thread or straw twine instead of wire.  Just tie the ornaments onto the branches.
-Use popcorn and cranberry garland, thread popcorn and cranberries (dried or fresh) with a needle and thread.  Add eggnog and a movie to the evening and you have another beautiful holiday tradition.
-Pine cones of any size.  Fun to gather, easy to tie to the tree, just don’t use glue!  Loop the thread or twine around the base of the cone.
-Dry more fruit:  apples, persimmons, kiwi
-Use wooden branches for a wreath-frame instead of wire.

I admit, I do add lights and ribbons, so I have to remove those.  In fact, I still undecorate and toss the ornaments and garland in the compost and take the tree to the curb for city pick up.  (You don’t want Christmas trees in your back yard compost.)  However, if you live in a more rural area and have a place to leave the tree to dry (for fire wood, maybe?) then you can leave it decorated and the birds will take care of the ornaments before they get a chance to break down.  It is ok to throw the wreath in the compost (city green bin or backyard compost).

I know, it’s tough not to want to save those things, but think about how much fun it is to “build Christmas” each year, especially with the help of friends and hot chocolate.

Have some special ornaments you just need to hang?  Me too, we have a collection of glass blown ornaments made by a family member.  But I display them elsewhere in the house, hung decoratively from curtain rods or in a big glass bowl.  They help spread the Christmas spirit from room to room without having to put up a singing Santa Clause or glittered snowman.

So, slow down, and make some Christmas this year (and eat some too!)

Up next:  Pumpkin Butter (fall is finally over) and Fig Preserves

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2 Responses to “Edible Ornaments”

  1. mom said

    You are right, the house smells wonderful when drying the fruit.! We will leave a bowl with few to nibble on. Your tree is amazing and so are you!

  2. I am agree with you and really like your dried orange wreath.

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