Round and zesty, oranges are probably the first to come to your mind when talking about fresh juice. But these tropical goodies are more than a great source of vitamin C. Used in cakes, smoothies, cocktails, salads, oranges are essential in your fruit basket.
Depending on the part of the world where you live, finding fresh oranges at the market can be a piece of cake (or not). And once you find plenty of them juicy and ripe, you know it is an unmissable opportunity. However, even though you may be nuts about oranges, eating them all at once is not really a good idea. To ensure you have a stash of zesty fruits even during the off-season, you can try to conserve them.
Today’s article provides you answers to the most common questions about freezing oranges. So, if you have ever wondered if it is a good idea to freeze oranges or how to do it best, keep reading.
How To Make Oranges Last For Longer?
Kept on your counter, fresh oranges can last for up to 1-2 weeks. The temperature and humidity in the room can influence how soon they might go bad. To make the most of their vitamins and sweetness, you can try to control these factors. Or if you have a larger amount of oranges, you may want to conserve them for more than a season. The most common options to prolong the shelf life of oranges are:
When refrigerating oranges, you should only use the special produce section. This ensures they are good to consume for up to 3 or 4 weeks.
Dehydrating oranges is a rather time-consuming process. You should peel and slice them. Place them in a single layer on a tray and leave in the oven at 200 degrees for about 2-3 hours. The best part of dehydrated oranges is that you have a healthy snack lasting for up to two years.
If you consider canning oranges, you will enjoy more of their pulp and properties for about two years. But brace yourself, you need to be patient in preparing the sugar syrup and clean, peel, cut the fruits. Plus, you need to sterilize the containers as well.
For those on a tight schedule or just big fans of comfort, the good news is you can simply freeze oranges. Frozen citrus fruits last for six to 12 months and are great for cocktails or smoothies or in baked goodies.
Can You Freeze Oranges?
The short answer is yes, you can freeze oranges. Pretty easily actually and convenient, especially if you are on a rush. You just wash them, cut them as you prefer, place them in a sealing container and then in the freezer.
The longer version of the answer is still yes, but there are some downsides to this method. The consistency of the fruit will be, inevitably, affected by frost. That means your frozen oranges will not taste the same as when they are fresh. And you may need to allow some time for defrost when you want to consume them. But you can use them to make cocktails or smoothies, sherbets or cakes with no worry.
Why Freeze Oranges?
There are several benefits to this method of preserving fresh oranges.
First of all, you can save up time, as the steps necessary are only to prepare the fruits and put them in a container. Once you store them in the freezer, there is no further action needed.
There are several ways of preparing oranges for freezing. You can divide them (circular slices or bite-size pieces) or keep them whole. Also, it is up to you if you prefer to peel them or freeze them unpeeled. Your choice will depend on how you want to use the frozen oranges (to decorate a cocktail, in smoothies etc).
Also, you get to enjoy a large amount of the fruit juice and nutrients even after a long time. Other methods reduce the proportion of liquid preserved in the pulp (like dehydration).
Not to mention, there are no extra conservatives or sweeteners involved. That means your oranges remain healthy and low in calories, just as when they are fresh.
Can You Freeze A Whole Orange?
If you wish to get freshly squeezed orange juice in any season, freezing the fruits whole is an option. The upside is that you can actually get more juice from the fruit after thawing.
So yes, you can definitely freeze the whole orange. Just pick ripe fruits, rinse them with water and wipe them dry. You want to avoid soap, so no chemicals impact the integrity of your frozen fruits. Place them in a sealing bag and try to take air out as much as possible. They will stay safe and edible in the freezer for up to half a year, enough for the next season to come.
If your freezer is already crammed, you can also try to squeeze the juice and simply freeze the liquid. This can save you some space and make consumption even easier.
Can You Freeze Orange Pieces?
Freezing orange slices or segments is possible, but will take a little bit of extra time. That is because you will need to divide the fruits accordingly.
Before freezing, consider if you plan to take the peel off or not.
If you need to decorate your drink with some fruits, unpeeled slices are great.
If all you need is bite-size pieces for a salad, peeled orange carpels can work pretty well.
Preparing oranges for freezing includes:
- cleaning /removing the peel
- removing as much as possible of the white pith
- cutting the fruits in the desired shape (round, square)
- putting the pieces in a sealable container.
If you want to use single portions (like a slice for a cocktail), we recommend pre-freezing. That means you should place the orange pieces individually on a baking sheet in the freezer. Make sure to leave space in between them and freeze for about four hours. After that, you can collect them all in a sealable bag.
If you simply need chunks of frozen oranges for smoothies, let’s say, skip this step. Just place all your pieces in the sealable container.
Try to create a vacuum effect and take as much air out as possible. Place your bag in the freezer. You can enjoy your orange pieces preserved like this for up to 12 months.
How To Unfreeze Oranges?
So far, the process is pretty much a piece of (orange) cake. Yet how about when you unfreeze oranges? What exactly should you do to enjoy the best qualities of ice-preserved oranges?
Well, there are several options available. You can decide based on how much time you have available and what you plan to use them for.
- Thawing in the fridge – may take up to four hours, but it saves a lot of the orange (pieces) quality. For temperature-sensitive cake recipes, this might be a wise choice.
- Defrosting on the counter – works great for fruit salads or to decorate your home-made drinks. You can take out some pieces about an hour prior to serving for the best results.
- Using them frozen – replace ice cubes with orange pieces in your summer drinks or even in your glass of water. Add them in your blender to make a refreshing smoothie in no time.
How To Use Frozen Oranges?
You can trust your guts on this part, most of the time. Frozen oranges will match your smoothie mix for sure. You can also use them in cake recipes, to make cocktails or in fruit salads.
Feel free to even eat them plain. They might not taste exactly as the fresh fruits, but they will satisfy your cravings.
Given their versatility and delicious taste, it is no wonder that we want to have oranges at hand all year round. Freezing them is a very convenient and time-saving option, so why not give it a try?
Let us know in the comments what you use frozen oranges for. And keep an eye out for our next articles. We have some tips and tricks up our sleeve we want to share with you. Curious already?