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( i remember even in the 60s and 70s getting oranges apples and a variety of nuts in your stocking was a big deal
then to lol god seems long ago.......) sparky

Earlier this century, children received oranges in their Christmas
stockings. How exotic it must have been to have fresh citrus fruit in
the dead of winter. Oranges in December are no longer a rare and
special treat. However, as we mark the Winter Solstice and celebrate
Yule, we can use oranges in a variety of ways to decorate our homes.
Because of their shape and color, oranges are a natural symbol of the
returning sun.

Fragrant orange pomanders will fill your rooms with pleasant scents
throughout the yule season. In order to make a pomander, you need
oranges, whole cloves, and a small finishing nail or push pin. Whole
cloves are available in the grocery store or can be purchased in bulk at
specialty stores. You need about half an ounce of whole cloves for each
medium-sized orange pomander.

To make the pomander, punch holes in the orange skin with the nail, and
then insert the cloves into the holes. The blending of the spice and
citrus scents is heavenly. You can cover the orange completely or
create designs with the cloves. Possible
patterns include stripes, runes, snowflakes, crescent Moons, stars, and
of course, Suns.

Within a few weeks, the orange will completely dehydrate. The cloves
help draw the juice from the fruit. As the orange dries, it will turn
dark, shrink and become very light in weight. Keep this in mind as you
insert the cloves. Leave some space between them to allow for
shrinkage. While the pomander is drying, it will continue to release its
beautiful, spicy fragrance. Turn it every few days so that it will dry
evenly. When the pomander is completely dry, it can be saved for next
year's celebration. Refresh your pomander with a little essential clove
oil and store it in a sealed sandwich bag. It should last for years and
will be a nice reminder of Yules passed.

Dehydrated orange slices are very pretty and easy to make. Dehydration
results in a bright peel and translucent flesh. It preserves and sets
the color. Select small oranges with thin, smooth skin. Large fleshy
oranges with thick skins are difficult to dehydrate properly and may
spoil. Cut the oranges into slices no more than one quarter of an inch
thick. The end slices are not suitable for dehydrating. The orange
slices can be dehydrated in either a conventional oven or a microwave.
For the conventional oven, arrange the slices in a single layer on a
cookie sheet. Place them in a 200*F oven and leave the door ajar. Air
must circulate in the oven in order for the oranges to dehydrate. Turn
the orange slices every ten to fifteen minutes. The entire process will
take from two to five hours
depending on humidity and the thickness of the slices. Three hours is
average. If you use a microwave, place the slices in a single layer on a
double thickness of paper towels. Set the microwave on defrost or its
lowest power setting. Turn and rearrange the slices every three
minutes. The entire process will take fifteen to thirty minutes
depending on the thickness of the slices. You must monitor this process
very closely! When the slices have dehydrated, if you continue to
microwave them, they will blacken and burn in a matter of seconds.
Regardless of the type of oven you use, the slices are done when the
peel is leathery. Don't wait until the peel becomes brittle. The
fleshy part of the orange will still be a little
moist. Remove the slices form the oven or microwave and lay them on
towels to cool and continue drying overnight. You can create a garland
by passing heavy thread, twine or fishing line through the center of the
slices. Add cinnamon sticks, pine cones, bay leaves or cedar greens for
a lovely Solstice decoration. Individual orange slices can be hung on
the Yule tree or used to decorate wreaths. When we use them as solar
symbols, oranges in December are still special!

Views: 368

Comment by Dhoni, the binary star elemental on December 4, 2008 at 5:49pm
Great post!
Thanx for sharing the information.


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