Drying citrus wheels in the Breeze Food Dehydrator is such a simple thing to do with beautiful results and lots of unique uses. Use them in cocktails, garnishes, teas, and lots more. If you've never dehydrated citrus, you're in for a treat. Citrus of all varieties (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc.), make an easy dehydrator project. Simply slice and dry, that’s all that is needed. Dehydrated at a low temperature, citrus slices retain their natural colour and taste incredible.
There are tons of delicious ways to use dehydrated citrus wheels in food preparation and for presentation. Here are just a few ways you can use them:
Beyond food, dehydrated citrus wheels make wonderful decorative embellishments to use at Christmas. If you hold them up to the light they look like stained glass! We’ve listed a few beautiful ideas but for more inspiration and how-to browse Pinterest or Youtube.
If you can, choose seedless fruit. Not only are they easier to cut, but the slices come out tidier without holes where the seeds were. If you are planning on eating the fruits, freshness matters – if the fruit tastes (or smalls) off before dehydrating, it’ll taste off after as well, as the flavours intensify during dehydration. For maximum effect, choose different varieties and sizes.
The sharper the knife the better - a serrated knife is good too. You can also try using a mandolin. We found the fruit too juicy for a mandolin and a knife produced prettier, more perfect wheels. One of the keys to even drying is to ensure that the fruit are cut to a consistent thickness. Keep in mind the thinner they are, the less time they'll need to dehydrate.
The recommended temperature for fruit with a high-water content is 122°F/50°C. Avoid the temptation to increase the temperature and speed the process along. The fruit sugar in citrus can cause browning. Keeping the temperature at or below 122°F/50°C will prevent discolouration and preserve the nutrients better. The duration depends on the weather, moisture content of the fruit and slice thickness. Expect somewhere between 18- 30 hours or more if you have thick slices.
The rind/peel will dry hard first which can be deceiving. Wheels may appear dry but if you squeeze the middle, juice can be trapped in the tiny cells within the pulp. Dehydrated citrus wheels will be slightly tacky to touch when they are warm, but once they cool, they become brittle. If they snap, when broken in half, they are done. Smaller citrus, such as limes will dry faster than varieties with larger cells of juice, such as blood oranges. If slices are thick and slow to dehydrate because of trapped moisture, squeeze and perforate the cells of juice after approx. 20-hours dehydrating, to help speed along the dry time.
If the citrus wheels are dehydrated properly, you can easily store them in an airtight glass container in a cool and dry place for a year or several years even. If there is any moisture left within the cells, they will grow mold. If you plan to consume your dehydrated citrus within a few weeks, you can skip the conditioning process and not worry to much if there are pockets of moisture still left in the fruit.
Any variety of citrus
1. Wash the fruit well. You can soak the fruit in water and white vinegar for 15 minutes to remove any residue or wax on the skin. Optional.
2. Slice the fruit as uniform and as thin as possible.
3. Lay the citrus slices directly onto the Breeze Food Dehydrator wire mesh trays. Pack the wheels close together without overlapping, they will shrink in size.
4. Set the temperature to 122°F/50°C and the time to 12 hours to check in. Flipping the citrus wheels is not necessary but if you feel they are sticking, lifting each will prevent tearing.
5. Set the time for another 5 hours.
6. Test. Allow a sample or two to come to room temperature. It is fully dry when you can snap it in two easily, and there is no moisture in the cells of the flesh.
7. Remove pieces that are done. Store in an airtight glass container.
8. Continue to dehydrate until all the fruit are sufficiently dry. Check in every 5 hours.
9. To help prevent mold in storage. The conditioning process, explained here, is essential to allow all slices to come to a median humidity and dryness. Note: dehydrated citrus must be extremely dry if you plan to blend into a powder.
10. For longevity of your preserved citrus, vacuum seal in batches or store in vacuum sealed glass storage containers in a dark, cool place.