If Your Citrus Is Looking Scary, Reach For The Dehydrator

From the wilting spinach in your refrigerator to those mushy apples attracting fruit flies, using all your grocery produce isn't always easy. Although reducing food waste at home can be tricky, it starts with the little things — like dehydrating citrus fruits before they spoil.

Citrus fruits stay fresh for up to one week when left out at room temperature or up to three weeks when refrigerated. But when they're dehydrated, citrus fruits last up to a year! The best part about dehydrating fruit is that it's a simple and mostly hands-off process. Simply slice your citrus into thin slices and pop them into a dehydrator to dry out. It's best to start this process early in the morning because it can take between six to 12 hours to dehydrate citrus fruit.

If you don't have a dehydrator in your home kitchen, don't worry, a conventional oven works great too. Follow the same steps as you would when using a dehydrator: Set the oven to 200 degrees, and let the magic happen. Or you can even dehydrate your fruit in an air fryer. To test if your fruit is fully dehydrated, set one slice aside to cool at room temperature then break it in half — if it snaps like a chip, you're good to go!

Dehydrated citrus fruit uses

Whether you're dehydrating oranges, limes, or grapefruit, you'll be surprised at how many ways you can use dried citrus. Want to add a little pizzazz to your cocktails? For a zesty aroma and visual flair, garnish your favorite libation with a dehydrated slice of citrus or grind the dried fruit to a powder to dust the rim of your cocktail glass.

Eat dehydrated citrus straight or dip slices into Greek yogurt for a delicate contrast of textures. Break them up into bite-sized pieces for trail mix, or use them to jazz up a bland bowl of cereal. You can even use dehydrated fruit as a nutrient-dense substitute for croutons in your favorite salad recipe. Bakers rejoice! You can crush them up and add them to a batter to impart your favorite baked goods with a bright citrus twist.

Don't limit yourself to just food and drink uses, dehydrated citrus fruits have a place in your home too. Run a string through the tops of citrus slices and hang a DIY garland above your mantle or bed for some organic decor. Or combine the dried fruit, spices, herbs, and flowers with a dash of essential oils for a fragrant potpourri that will liven up any space. Next time your citrus is going bad, dehydrate it — reduce, reuse, and recycle!