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Not really cooking-related, but I thought I might ask here anyway. I got some signatures on an orange, and want to preserve them for as long as possible. Should I peel the orange? Freeze it? I heard something about moisture-controlled refrigeration?

I'm willing to spend up to about $40 US, so of anyone has any ideas about this that'd be helpful. Thanks!!!

EDIT: Picture of what I'm trying to preserve

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This is highly unusual and I doubt that there is a method which guarantees that the signature will remain legible. I recommend that whatever you try, you make a test run on an orange without sentimental value and see if the ink stays in place. It is possible that a non-cooking method (e.g. epoxy embedding) will work best in your case. –  rumtscho Aug 12 '13 at 17:54
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Dehydration may be a reasonable option as well... –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 12 '13 at 17:59
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To make it clear: if an answer appears which centers around a method producing non-edible results, we will have to delete the answer as off-topic. But I think we can keep the question itself, as it can produce interesting culinary answers. –  rumtscho Aug 12 '13 at 18:01
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Could you post a picture so we know what we're working with and trying to help you preserve? –  wax eagle Aug 12 '13 at 18:18
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If it were me, I would have it encase (dipped) in polyurethane, poly resin or acrylic as you would in making a paperweight. –  Diana Aug 13 '13 at 1:13

2 Answers 2

Whole fresh oranges, refrigerated, should last 1-2 months per Eat By Date.

You can freeze orange peels (or any citrus) very successfully.

When you have a sufficient quantity, you might choose to candy them, which should last at least several weeks if stored in a cool, dry environment, probably months if well dried as part of the candying process.

You can also try freezing the juice, but the quality of fresh orange juice tends to be ephemeral. You may be better off enjoying it immediately.

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Candied peel preserves well, but it may change its visual properties drastically. So maybe not too good for a signed orange. –  rumtscho Aug 12 '13 at 17:52
    
In truth, I had no idea what "signatures on an orange" meant.... I assumed it was a translation artifact. If it is meant in the sense of an autograph, well, drying them is probably the best bet--but that would't be a cooking question. –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 12 '13 at 17:53
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Asking how to preserve orange peel under the constraint that its visual appearance is undisturbed is a cooking question, even if the motivation behind it is far from culinary. So I think that we can provide some options. But I agree that there will be other options outside of a cooking field, which may work better here. –  rumtscho Aug 12 '13 at 17:56
    
From a culinary point of view, I stand by this answer :-) –  SAJ14SAJ Aug 12 '13 at 17:58
    
+1 Freezing whole peel for visual and oil, freeze juice for active ingedient use –  TFD Aug 12 '13 at 22:43

Speaking of dehydration, it is possible to dry out a piece of orange peel. If you do it properly so it does not rot or get moldy, it will last for years, although it will gradually use its aroma. The problem is that it will shrink when dehydrating, resulting in a worse-looking surface and possibly distorting the signature. A largish section is also practically impossible to flatten, so you will have to live with a curled piece-of-sphere shape. The end product is very stiff and somewhat brittle, with irregular surface whose color is a darkened, somewhat dirty looking orange, not the bright hue of the fresh peel.

You can find instructions for drying orange peel for use in teas or as ground spice. The way we used to do it at my parent's home was to put a single layer of peel pieces on a high shelf and let them sit there for a few weeks. This will not work if your climate is humid, so you might prefer a method using a dehydrator or a low oven.

This site has not only instructions, but also a good picture of the end result. They remove most of the pith (the white part) to prevent bitterness, but in your case, it is preferable to leave 3-4 mm to ensure structural integrity. You can leave all of it if it is a thin-peel variety, but remove some if it is very thick, because you risk rotting and bad texture and geometry.

enter image description here

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