Dehydrated Citrus Wheels
Winter is when most citrus fruits are at their sweetest and juiciest – and two of my favorites are blood oranges and Meyer lemons!
Blood oranges are a variety of orange with crimson, almost-blood-colored flesh. The two most popular varieties are the dark-fleshed Moro and the delicately flavored Tarocco. The former is available from December to March, and the latter from January to May. I love these ruby gems and am always thrilled to find blood oranges at the neighborhood market.
Meyer lemons are a soft-skinned fruit significantly sweeter and less acidic than their super-sour cousins. Once hard to find outside California, Meyer lemons are becoming a more common find in grocery stores, particularly in mid-winter. Meyers get their signature sweetness from a bit of mandarin orange in their family tree. Meyer lemons are great for squeezing the juice in cocktails, lemonade, or salad dressings. They are also excellent in desserts such as lemon curd, lemon cake and lemon bars, as well as savory chicken and fish dishes or tossed with pasta. And of course, the zest is divine! I’ll be making a lemon panna cotta soon!
With spring around the corner and the winter window of availability closing, I’ve decided to stock up on organic blood oranges and Meyer lemons by dehydrating them for later use.
Organic blood oranges
Organic Meyer lemons
Rinse the fruit under cool running water. Using a sharp knife, slice the blood oranges and Meyer lemons into wheels, 1/4-inch thick. Discard the end cuts where the stems were.
After slicing the blood oranges into wheels, I cut along the edge of the fruit and separated them from the peels because I didn’t want the bitter pith. (I candied the peels for use in other recipes). I left the peels on the Meyer lemons.
Arrange the citrus wheels on several racks from your dehydrator, leaving a small amount of space around each wheel for air circulation. Stack in the dehydrator, cover with the lid and set the timer for 2-1/2 hours.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, preheat oven to 170˚F.
Arrange citrus wheels onto cooling racks and place each cooling rack onto a baking sheet (you can also use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper). Place into the oven and fully dehydrate until they’re done, about 2-1/2 hours (larger or thicker slices may take longer).
Wheels should be completely dry and slightly pliable to the touch. Remove baking sheets from the oven and allow to cool completely before transferring dried fruits to a storage container.
Dehydrated lemons and blood oranges are great to use in hot teas, chopped into sauces, stews or cookies – I’m going to make coconut-citrus macaroons!
Other fruits that work well for dehydrating are tangerines, key limes, tangelos, and grapefruits. Depending on the size of the fruit and thickness of the slices, check after the first 2-1/2 hours. Remove any wheels that are fully dehydrated and rotate the racks. Continue to check every hour, removing fully dehydrated wheels and rotating the racks until all wheels are done.
Find out what’s in season in your state!
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