Each year I have been trying to learn something new about citrus, specifically oranges this year since we have a very large orange tree in our backyard. Last year I did a citrus post about things I tried then, and this year I wanted to try something new. I forget where I saw the original post but someone was taking their orange peels and dehydrating them and adding them into herbal tea and I have seen people dehydrate lemon peel and grind it up in the past and wanted to utilize the abundance of oranges we have hence the vitamin c power experiment began.
Vitamin C is nutritious and good for us, duh. When you take the peel of citrus and dehydrate it, it essentially locks in all the nutrients and creates this little concentrated goodness. I personally love adding this to baked goods and smoothies. I want to try to make my own vitamin C serum and saw this recipe but haven't tried it yet.
First step, pick and wash your oranges, if you don't have a tree or know a guy, you can purchase organic oranges. I use a fruit and veggie wash to ensure that there are no heebie jeebies, dirt or critters on them and then dry the oranges off really well. I found that using a bristle brush really helps get into all the grooves and pores of the orange to make sure it is super clean. Then dry them thoroughly. What worked best for me was to just dry them with a towel and let them sit on the counter overnight but you don't have to do that step as they are just going to go into the dehydrator to dry anyways. I got distracted ok, there it is, squirrel brain got me again.
Once the oranges are all clean and dry you will want to peel them with a potato peeler or a knife if you are skilled (which I am not) or just don't have a peeler. Be careful. Start from the top of the orange and work your way down, you don't need them to be super long strips, we aren't trying to impress anyone here.
You can kind of see what I did above as to how I peeled them. Try to avoid getting the rind as this will make your powder bitter. This process took the longest for me besides the waiting for everything to dry. Carpal tunnel did not approve of holding oranges and a peeler for so long so I had to take many breaks during this process.
Ok, once everything is all peeled and pretty, lay your slices out onto a dehydrator rack or cookie sheet.
Dehydrator: Stick it in the dehydrator for 7.5 - 8 hours at 130F.
Oven: Heat your oven to 200F for 25-30 min or until the ends curl up and everything is nice and dry. If you are going to dry them in the oven you will want to cut the peels up even smaller before placing them int he oven so they dry faster.
Once the orange peels are completely dry and have cooled, you can grind them up and store them in an airtight container for several months.
One recipe I am looking forward to making is herbal rose and orange tea but I have to wait for my roses to bloom so I can dehydrate some petals. I have seen several tea recipes that use dried orange peel cut up (not ground into powder) with dries rose petals, lavender and other herbs to make a refreshing tea and I am stocked to try some homemade tea recipes.