DIY: A Dried Fruit Garland for the Holidays by

Issue 100 · Thanksgiving Feast · November 25, 2013

DIY: A Dried Fruit Garland for the Holidays

Issue 100 · Thanksgiving Feast · November 25, 2013

If you want a bit of insight into how I turned out the way I did, consider the year that my mother declared that we'd have an "18th century Christmas." While our friends made lists that included American Girl dolls, Adidas Samba sneakers, and fluorescent-haired trolls, my sisters and I were left to scratch out lists that included wishes for woollen mittens and scarves. The guideline was that all the gifts needed to be homemade, or at the least, something that children in the 18th century might have received. These days, the concept sounds kind of ideal. But I assure you, it took some convincing to get us onboard.

On Christmas morning, our stockings hung heavy with oranges and walnuts and beeswax candles. We all did our best to look amused. 

Photographs by Erin Boyle. Photography shot with the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR camera, with Dual Pixel AF technology and built-in Wi-Fi.

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for my mom's scheme at the time, to this day I have a major soft spot for anything that smacks of, well, an 18th century Christmas. This year, I made a dried fruit garland to deck my halls. Make yours this week to hang for Thanksgiving, and add it to a piney garland for a wintry look come December.

N.B. In case there's a historian in the crowd, it should be noted that the history of decorating wreaths and garlands with dried fruit dates from the early 20th century and the height of Colonial Revival, and not from the Colonial period itself. The thought of sacrificing an orange for décor would have been unthinkable to the colonists. ...Details.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Assorted apples, pears, and oranges
  • Walnuts
  • Upholstery needles
  • Twine
  • Cookie rack
  • Cookie sheet

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 1: Choose a variety of brightly colored apples, pears, and oranges for slicing. 

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 2: Slice fruit into 1/4 inch slices, through the center of the fruit. Prepare to sacrifice your first few fruits (make fruit salad from the duds!) because it takes a bit of practice to get a clean cut.

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 3:  Place sliced fruit on a cookie rack on top of a cookie sheet.

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 4: Bake at 150 degrees for from five to six hours. Yes, you read that right. This is a project for a lazy (and chilly) afternoon at home. N.B. The next time I make a garland, I might try air drying the fruit (See Justine's Dried Vegetables to see how).

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 5:  When the fruit is visibly dried, remove from the oven. 

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 6: Use an upholstery needle to thread the dried fruit onto thin twine.

Step 7: If you decide to include walnuts or cinnamon sticks, use a hammer to gently tap the top of the needle through the top of the harder surfaces of your nuts and spices.

dried fruit garland for the holidays | gardenista

Step 8: Hang your finished garland in a sunny spot and enjoy all season.

For more garland projects, see Dried Hydrangea Garlands for Fall and DIY Video: Easy Holiday Garland.



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