There is nothing that wraps me in the seasonal warmth more than the enchanting aroma of orange slices drying, on their way to becoming yule decorations strung up around our home. This cherished solstice tradition has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember, but there's one little thing we need to talk about.
Like the heel of a loaf of bread that arguably makes the best croutons or the savory bones from your roast chicken that create a hearty broth, I couldn't help but seek a higher purpose for those leftover end bits after cutting the perfect citrus slices for our holiday décor.
Yes, I've tried hanging them up as they are, but let's be honest — capturing that golden glow of light shining through those wee stained glass windows is one of the best parts.
This leads me to the main topic of today: crafting dried orange cap mushroom ornaments! These adorable, aromatic creations not only make use of every last scrap of fruit but also add a whimsical touch to your yule decorations. What could be better?
First things first, before you set them out to dry using your preferred method, punch a decent-sized hole in the top. The stem usually provides an ideal spot for this! You can scrape them out to leave only the rind behind but I like to leave it as I find the segments dry to resemble mushroom gills! We then toss ours in the dehydrator for the day, but you can also use a low-temperature oven or even the natural warmth of the sun if you're in the right climate.
Next up, you'll need some cinnamon sticks. Okay, "Need" might be a strong word, as I often tell my kids when they're insisting on questionable things. I opted for cinnamon sticks because of their naturally hollow center, but feel free to customize this craft by using twigs from your yard and attaching them with a glue gun if you prefer! It's the end result we're aiming for; achieve it however you wish.
After a bit of searching through the bag to find just the right cinnamon sticks, I grabbed some wire snips and divided them in half or thirds for a more size-appropriate stem. Don't fret if they're a bit jagged; I managed to conceal the rough parts within the citrus rind. However, if you want to go the extra mile, sanding them down not only improves their appearance but also smells divine!
Now, you'll need something to tie it all together. I opted for jute, as we have a surplus of it around the house. However, you can use kitchen twine, yarn, thick thread, or whatever else you have on hand. Double it over and thread one end through the cinnamon stick stems, then pull it through the underside of the orange caps, leaving enough at the end of the stick to tie it all together. This creates a convenient loop for hanging. Knot the ends, occasionally doubling it up to ensure they won't slip through the stem, and there you have it!
These delightful creations are now ready to adorn your yule tree or be strung into a garland, creating a stunning display on your mantle this holiday season. Wishing you a blessed winter solstice and happy crafting!