Friday, December 18, 2020

Simple Gifts: Dried Satsuma Peel

Heigh Ho Ho Ho, Christmas is nearly here. I finally finished up with surgical procedure after procedure last week, and am feeling like myself a bit again. 

The holidays seem to go by in a flash the older I get. And the older I get, the more old memories seem to pop into my mind.

When I was young, the winter holidays meant plenty of citrus where I grew up in the Deep South. My mother grew many different types in our yard, and we would also go buy them from the local groves. Satsumas and kumquats were always my favorites, while my mother loved the huge sweet green lemons that I have not seen since.

Bowls and baskets filled with citrus were on our table and counters during the Christmas season, often nestled in a bed of Loblolly pine boughs. The scent was wonderful and branches of kumquats looked glorious!

Nowadays, bags of "mandarins" are in most groceries. We called them satsumas. I buy them and eat them by the dozens during the holidays. 

Don't let the peels go to waste! Save the peels to dry and put in pretty jars to use during the year and give as gifts.

Dried DIY mandarin orange satsuma peels for simple gifts

Wash any mandarin or satsuma you plan to eat with dish soap, and rinse and dry thoroughly. Wash hands as well, and peel as usual, saving the peels. Using a small paring knife, scrape/cut away as much of the white pith as you can, just leaving the orange part of the peel. 

DIY dried citrus peel christmas gifts recipes

In the desert, we can just place the peel outside in the sun a few days, and have it dry. I usually do a combination of air drying during the day, and then placing in the oven at the very lowest setting, and baking with the door cracked open a bit until completely dry but not browned.

When dry, I place them in a clean jar along with an anti-oxidation packet of silica gel that I've saved from other food packages, such as come in beef jerky packages. You can also buy them. Sometimes I use a bit of coffee filter and wrap up a teaspoon of salt in it, then tuck it down in the bottom of the jar. Another small folded bit of filter goes on top, so that no peel rests on the salt directly.

Cap the jars tightly, tie on a simple ribbon, and they make a lovely gift. They keep their color well and their fresh flavor. I use them year 'round to mince and use in salad dressings and a citrus-oatmeal cookie we like.

Does anyone save peels to use later or dehydrate their own herbs or vegetables? My sister-in-law made lovely soup seasoning mixes with vegetables she dried and blended with spices, long long ago.


  1. when I dry peels I use them for decorative uses in potpourri or such. I dried herbs and use in the winter mostly basil and sage.

  2. I save a few herbs, but don't think to save citrus peels, as I don't use that much of it. And I prefer fresh veggies in soups and such. But I have debated if I shouldn't try dehydrating some things instead of freezing or canning (what little I do that is) for preservation.

  3. I've never heard them referred to as satsuma. What a sweet gift idea!

  4. I love this . . . I have been throwing my peels away. No more :) Your mentioned the song, Beulah Land Sweet Beulah Land. . . Beulah Land, where all are reunited. That was the reason I choose that name. Steve told me that he wanted me to get a big dog after he was gone. One to bark loud and be protective of me.

  5. I don't dry my orange peel but I will often save them up and make marmalade.

  6. I just found you. I dry them but typically only add them to my tea 😊. I do dry quite a few of my own herbs - like most homegrown things, so much better.
    Merry Christmas 🎄

  7. I just found you as well! I love this idea. I've dried orange slices to hang on the Christmas tree or use in a wooden bowl along with dried black walnuts and small pine cones. I love the idea of using dried peels during the year! Thank you! Jan in MA


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