This craft takes being at home to monitor the oven for about 4 or 5 hours, but it’s totally worth it! If you start first thing in the morning you can have it completed by noon.
Little bags of things to simmer on the stovetop that fill your home with the scent of Christmas make GREAT gifts for anyone – neighbor, hostess, teacher, mother…
I first saw this idea HERE.
I started looking through fruit dehydrating tutorials and found the baking temps and times to be all over the place, but a couple of things I found on Martha Stewart’s site said 200 degrees. Her instructions are usually tried and true, so I went with that.
Here’s what I used:
A bag of lemons
A bag of oranges
A bag of apples
Cinnamon sticks – I found these in bulk with the Christmas decorations by the cinnamon scented pinecones…
I cut the oranges and lemons into thin slices using a good knife. I used my mandolin to slice the apples to keep them uniform – my mandolin wouldn’t cut the oranges and lemons. No worries if you don’t have a mandolin, you could just thinly slice the apples by hand too. I treated the apples with lemon juice so they wouldn’t brown too much.
To help you figure out how much fruit you will need – I got about 8 slices per orange, 8 slices per lemon and 10 slices per apple.
I put the oranges and lemons in the oven on foil lined baking sheets and put the apples in a dehydrator (you can put the apples in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator). I set the oven at Martha’s recommended 200 degrees. I had no idea how long it would take, but read lots about the need for turning the fruit as it baked, so I made sure to do that every couple of hours. This turned out to be a good advice. The fruit will stick to the foil if you don’t turn it over during the dehydration process – especially the lemons.
It ended up taking about 5 hours for the citrus fruits and 4 hours for the apples. My best advice is to just keep an eye on it. I pulled some slices off while I let others stay in a bit longer. It is pretty obvious when they are dry, just don’t leave them in too long or they will burn.
Put all items in a bag with ribbon and a tag and you are done. This tag says Wishing You a Merry Christmas on one side and gives instructions on the back – Simmer contents in a small pot of water to fill your home with the scent of Christmas.
The bonus to making these gifts is your house will smell amazingly wonderful!