Citrus seems to be one of the harder fruits to preserve. After all, home canned orange juice doesn't taste very good, grapefruit juice although it can be canned still has a canned flavor, and marmalade uses large amounts of sugar. Citrus is so hard to preserve because most of the goodness is in the juice, and the pith and skin (although really nutritious) have a sour or bitter taste. Dehydrating citrus wheels is the closest you can get to actually preserving the natural state of the fruit. Dehydrated citrus is a little more bitter than fresh citrus, but not by a lot. It still tastes great in tea, in lemonade or orangeade, and in recipes. I even eat the dehydrated slices right out of the water (after they're re-hydrated). Also, the skin of dehydrated citrus can be used to make a citrus powder which is again a little more bitter than zest but still very useful in a pinch or when citrus is not in season.
How To Dehydrate Citrus Slices (Oranges, Lemons and Limes)
Wash all of your oranges, lemons and limes. Be sure to use a veggie wash.
You can make citrus slices simply with a knife, just cut as thin as you can.
This is actually one of thicker slices I cut but I picked it up to show you that you can easily peel off the skin if you wanted to dehydrate the lemon skin and the lemon separately.
However, this slicer made the slicing go so much easier. I would say 99% better. If you are a serious dehydrator I would definitely consider investing in one. Honestly, I thought it was a bit of an extravagant tool so I put off getting one for until recently. I was wrong! It's just a tool that makes your life so much easier.
You get beautiful even thin slices effortlessly.
I took off the skin on some of the orange slices to grind up and make herbal tea at some point in the future.
Load up your trays.
I also saved and dehydrated the ends to make citrus powder or to stick into some vinegar (at some date in the future) and make citrus cleaner.
Here are my lemons. Yeah, you noticed the dehydrator change didn't you? I recently invested in an Nesco/American Harvest. I know a lot of people have them and I wanted to do some comparison posts. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see my review video of both the Excalibur and Nesco/American Harvest.
Here are my limes.
Again I saved the ends to make powder or cleaner at some point in the future.
I dehydrated the orange slices in my 9 tray Excalibur for about 12 hours on 135F°.
They turned out perfect.
Here is a close-up.
I dehydrated the lemons and the limes in the Nesco/American Harvest at the same temperature for the same amount of time. Yeah, they look a little over done. The actually taste just fine. I re-hydrated some to make sure and they tasted lemony and not burned or cooked. However, I wondered what the problem was so I tried again. This time at a lower setting.
These dried in the Nesco/American Harvest at 115F° for about 24 hours and they look a lot more appetizing. I would say it's a matter of personal preference (since the darker ones still tasted good) as to how long and at what temperature you want to dry them at in the Nesco/American Harvest.
Excalibur vs Nesco/American Harvest