Dehydrated citrus not only looks cool, it also helps prevent food waste because you’re able to use citrus much longer than its typical shelf life! In the valley, we know many people who have citrus trees that produce more fruit than they can consume in a season. Dehydrating citrus is a perfect way to capture the season long after it's over.
We spent some time over at the Flower Bungalow to use all the different kinds of citrus that grows on her property to make some stunning cocktail garnishes! Audria even makes garland by stringing the dehydrated citrus to decorate her gorgeous midcentury bungalow.
So what is dehydration and how do I do it?!
Dehydration is the simple act of removing water. So, when you remove the water from lemons, limes, grapefruits, blood oranges, tangerines, it’s still everything that fruit is. Fragrant, citrusy, but a new kind of beautiful!
What you are wondering now is why bother? Why not just use the lime, lemon, orange right now? I mean it’s here, I’m here...seems like a lot of waiting for some citrus. Dehydrated citrus makes it so easy to garnish a cocktail without having to cut into a fresh lemon. For us, it helps prevent extra food waste when crafting cocktails at home.
We also love having this stocked on our home bar. Dehydrated citrus can be stored on the shelf so they’ll be ready to go whenever you need a fancy garnish! No need to refrigerate and they will last indefinitely!
You also don’t need some fancy or expensive food dehydrator to make this attractive cocktail garnish. Your oven will give you perfectly dried citrus every single time.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Citrus cut into wheels about ⅛” thick
- Too thick and it will take longer to dehydrate and be inconsistent
- Too thin and the fruit will be extremely fragile and break or burn
- Grapefruit should be cut into half-wheels as they are too large to fit into a normal cocktail glass.
- Sheet pan lined with parchment (foil is not ideal as it will conduct and transfer heat)
- Or use a drying rack on top of a cookie sheet
- About 6-8 hours of cooking time
How to make them:
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash and dry your citrus. Cut into ⅛” thick and remove any seeds you see
- Line the slices on the sheet making sure not to crowded, but know that the fruit will shrink a bit so they can be close-ish.
- Place on the middle rack of your oven (if you have convection turn it off OR reduce your cook time by ⅔ the amount)
- Cook for 3-4 hours and check in on your project half way through. They will be ready when the pieces are dry to the touch and stiff, about 6-8 hours in total (try not to overcook!)
- Remove and let cool to room temperature. Store in a dry, dark place in an airtight container and use within one year
There you have it. This is an easy way to take your cocktail to the next level and feel better about using up any extra citrus you may have on hand. Give this project a try next time life gives you a few extra lemons!