Did you know that 73 million tons of oranges are grown worldwide?
If you’re going through lots of oranges because several in every bag go bad before you get around to eating them, then freezing is a great idea.
This will help you save money and lower your ecological footprint!
Here’s the deal: Frozen oranges will change in texture, but you can use them in smoothies and fruit salads rather than eating them alone.
Should You Freeze Oranges?
The downside of freezing oranges is that they won’t be nice to consume on their own. Because oranges have a high water content, their texture changes and goes mushy after thawing.
However, you can use orange segments or sections in baking, fruit salads, and smoothies!
This is important: the only oranges you shouldn’t freeze are Navel oranges. When you freeze Navel oranges, a bitter compound called limonin is formed.
The Easy Option For Freezing Oranges
If you’re short on time, here are the step-by-step instructions for you to freeze your oranges:
- First up, peel your oranges.
- Divide the oranges into sections or segments – segments if you want them to defrost faster.
- Remove all the membranes from your orange segments.
- To flash freeze, lay your orange segments on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Then wrap the whole thing in cling film and pop it in the freezer for 2 hours.
- Now your oranges are frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container, and they won’t stick together. Pop that back in the freezer, and you’re done.
Step 4 – for flash freezing – is optional, and you can skip it if you need to save time. However, flash freezing will stop your orange segments from sticking together, making portioning afterward much easier.
Therefore, unless you’re planning on blending all your oranges in one go, flash freezing will likely save you time.
To thaw your oranges, portion out as much as you need, and use clean utensils for doing so. Then, pop the segments into an airtight container in the refrigerator to thaw for 2 hours.
If you’re planning to blend your oranges up in a smoothie, don’t worry about thawing beforehand!
The Slightly Harder Option To Freeze Oranges: Wet Pack
Now, this method will take slightly longer, but it will help preserve your oranges for longer. This involves submerging your orange segments or sections in sugar syrups, which helps preserve the color and texture of your oranges.
That also means your oranges will be tastier to eat and more like their less-thawed counterpart. However, they will have higher sugar content.
If you want to wet-pack your oranges, here are the instructions:
- Fill a freezer-proof canning jar with orange sections.
- Make 40% heavy syrup (we have instructions on how to make sugar syrup here), and pour over your oranges. Be sure to leave at least 1.5 inches of empty space at the top to allow the syrup to expand – otherwise, you run the risk of your canning jar exploding.
- Pop the jar in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use, simply drain out the syrup, rinse the orange segments under water, and leave them to thaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few hours.
How Long Frozen Oranges Last
If you dry pack your frozen oranges without sugar syrup, expect your frozen oranges to last for up to 6 months. They’ll still be good for up to 9 months, but you’ll enjoy their best quality if you use them up in under half a year.
If you’ve chosen to store your frozen oranges in sugar syrup, it pays off: wet-packed frozen oranges last for up to a year.
What To Use Frozen & Defrosted Oranges In
Wondering what you can use your frozen oranges in? Here’s a quick breakdown so they don’t go to waste:
- Baking: Think cakes and other sweet treats.
- Fruit Salads: Thaw for a few hours beforehand, and defrosted orange segments go great in a fruit salad, where you don’t notice the texture change much.
- Smoothies: Don’t even worry about defrosting for this one. Just chuck them in frozen to your fruit smoothie and enjoy!
- Ice Cubes: Use your frozen oranges as fruity ice cubes in your drinks on hot days!
Now, what you plan to use your frozen oranges in matters for how you freeze them. For example, you may prefer sweeter oranges in your fruit salad, so use the wet pack method.
Or you might want to keep the sugar down for health purposes when you make your smoothie – in which case, a dry pack is the best option.
Oranges: Alternative Storage Methods
Before you go, let’s cover the other ways to store oranges so you know you’re picking the right storage method.
If you’re planning to eat your oranges within the next few days, room temperature is fine. Make sure it’s a dark, dry, cool place without heat or direct sunlight.
Also, it’s important you don’t pile them up on top of each other. This will encourage moisture to collect between your oranges – and moisture quickly leads to bacteria!
However, for any longer than two days and you should store your oranges in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 2 weeks.
The Round-Up On Freezing Oranges
Freezing oranges is a great idea if you’ve bought a ton on sale or you want quick segments you can throw into your morning smoothie.
Here’s a summary of the main points:
- Frozen oranges last for up to 6 months if dry-packed and up to a year if wet-packed. Scroll up for the instructions.
- You should use 40% heavy syrup to wet pack your oranges.
- You can use thawed oranges in baking and fruit salads, and frozen oranges in smoothies or as ice cubes.
- Oranges only last a few days at room temperature and up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, so freezing is a good option if you know you’re not going to use your oranges up within a few weeks!