Dried Citrus Slices for Water and More!
I love adding a slice of fresh lemon or orange to my water or tea. It really helps me get in my bodies required water for the day. Especially when exercising where I lose A LOT of water through sweating.
Having fresh slices of citrus on hand isn’t exactly convenient. My solution is to dehydrate mine so that I can have them on hand any time I want. Not only do I add them to my water and tea but I use them for soups and cooking too. As long as they are dehydrated thoroughly, they won’t go bad and I can make a big batch at one time.
One of my first kitchen appliances that I actually called “my favorite” was my food dehydrator. I originally purchased it after buying dried veggie chips at the grocery store and wondered how I could make my own. I did a little research and found out that food dehydrators don’t have to be super expensive.
What I also learned was that by dehydrating foods or heating them a very low temperature, they retain their natural nutrients and attributes. When we cook at higher temperatures, we lose some of those awesome benefits because they are cooked or boiled away. That’s why nutritionists will tell you that it’s much healthier to eat raw fruits and veggies rather than cooking them so you can maximize the benefits.
The dehydrator I use is a Nesco dehydrator. It’s one of the most inexpensive ones out there. Since I was just starting on my dehydrating journey, I got myself a 20% off coupon and went to my local Bed Bath & Beyond. I ended up paying a little over $50.
Let me tell you, I’ve really gotten my money’s worth out of this handy dandy super easy to use dehydrator. I’ve had my dehydrator for almost a year and have used the crap out of it! Sometimes I’ll have it running for days at a time.
I dehydrate all kinds of things:
- Fruits (citrus, bananas, pineapple, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, apples, pears, etc) to use in homemade granola or just to snack on.
- Veggies (bell peppers, chickpeas, kale, spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes, etc).
- Herbs to use in my recipes
- I’ve also dabbled in making my own jerky
Making dried citrus slices is among the list of super easy, almost fool-proof things to dehydrate. There are only ingredients: citrus and coconut palm sugar. You can use regular sugar if you want but I prefer coconut palm sugar for several reasons. I love the taste of it (it resembles light brown sugar) and it’s lower on the glycemic index list.
I sliced my organic citrus about a quarter inch thick, maybe a little less, spread them out on parchment paper and sprinkled with coconut palm sugar. I rubbed the palm sugar in with my fingers to make sure it got it into the rinds as well.
You can actually dehydrate all the foods listed above in a conventional oven but it does tie up your oven for a long period of time but if that doesn’t matter to you then you can set your oven to a temp of 200 degrees.
Make sure you flip the citrus half way through the drying process whether you are using an oven or dehydrator.
- Your choice of citrus. I used 1 pink grapefruit, 1 seedless orange and 1 lemon (all organic)
- ¼ - ½ cup of coconut palm sugar (or white sugar)
- Slice citrus about a ¼ inch thick, maybe a little less if you can.
- Place slices on parchment paper and sprinkle with coconut palm sugar.
- Either place citrus in your dehydrator trays and set to 135 degrees for 8 to 9 hours, flipping halfway through.
- Or place citrus on the parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for 6 hours, flipping halfway through.
- After drying, take a piece or two from the dehydrator or the oven and let it cool for a few minutes to see if after cooled all the moisture is out of the slices. The rinds should be very hard and no moisture in the flesh. If there is still moisture, the slices can go rancid so you want them as dry as possible so they have a long shelf life.
I like to snack on my slices, not so much the rind because it can be bitter sometimes but when I use them for water, tea or cooking I include the whole slice, rind included. One slice flavors my water perfectly and lasts through a couple of refills. Plus you get a little dose of vitamin C with your water.