If you do a fair amount of preserving, like I do, it means there is often a surplus of fruit in the house. Sometimes it's a bowl of Quince, left out to ripen, or a bag of apples, being kept in the produce bin in the fridge to keep them fresher. I really like the look of having fruit around main living areas of the house, and it inspires me to create, too.
I recently did a post on Sugared Fruit, and in the last couple months have posted photos of bowls of Seckel Pears and Meyer Lemons that I was using for decorating purposes. The next logical step seems to be to dry fruit to make ornaments for our Christmas tree. Slicing and dehydrating fruit should keep me occupied while I get ready for the 10 pound box of kumquats due in the mail tomorrow.
Tray of dried fruit, left to right: apples, limes, apples, lemons, oranges.
Apples will need to be soaked for a few minutes in some type of acidulated water to keep them from turning brown.
To make acidulated water, add lemon juice, citric acid, or Vitamin C powder to tap water and mix well.
Then simply place fruit slices in a food dehydrator (or an oven on low heat) until they are dry to the touch!
Granny Smiths and Galas
Granny Smiths and Limes
A "Before and After":
Oranges and Meyer Lemons (before)
Oranges and Meyer Lemons (after -- 24 hours later)
You can use dried fruit in many ways:
- String the slices along with cranberries & popcorn for old-fashioned tree garlands.
- Wire them to floral picks and tuck them into wreaths.
- Mix them with cinnamon sticks, cloves, mini pine cones and other fun stuff to make potpourri.
- Wire them to evergreen swags draped over mirrors.
Or maybe the easiest way to use them: string them on a piece of ribbon or cord and hang them on the tree...
Or hang some apples outside on boxwood for the birds.
Besides preserving, I make a lot of other things. I love to cook on a daily basis -- preserving is a only a small fraction of my time spent in the kitchen. I especially enjoy making things with my hands, especially those that don't cost much money, like soap and skin care products.
One reason I haven't been blogging for a few days is that I have been busy preparing for the holidays. On Sunday I spent a few hours making garland and as a result, my fingertips have been too sore to type!
I couldn't resist making garland though. The fresh evergreen boughs were free -- trimmings from a local Christmas tree lot. I used about $2 worth of floral wine and some garden twine. My intention was to make about 30 feet, but I think I made about double the amount.
Once I got started, I couldn't stop!
About half the reason why my fingertips are too sore to type.The other half is inside the house.
We hung it on the house, but we didn't stop there. The leftover garland ended up inside the house: on the stair railings, along the tops of mirrors and I still have some left....it's a good thing I made extra because I don't think my fingers can handle another day spent twisting wire!
This cedar garland runs along the top of my wine glass / linen cabinet, which stands about 7 feet high. In other words, it's not at eye level, so I could simply set the amber globe lights loosely on top of the garland without being too much of a stickler about covering wires.
I then used floral picks to randomly place the wild berries, dried orange slices & "pears". I have to confess the pears are artificial. The fresh ones just go bad much too quickly inside the house, especially that close to the ceiling, where it is usually warmer. I could replace them each week, but that sounds expensive and the artificial ones are so darn cute!
A little closer view: