Oranges are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, and are one of the best fruits to have if you only have one piece of fruit, rather than your recommended five a day.
While oranges can last longer than blueberries, for example, they can still go off fairly quickly, especially if you forget.
Luckily, you can freeze them. But it is also worth knowing how long they’ll last on average.
The Shelf Life Of Oranges
If you keep the oranges at room temperature, they will last around 10 days. This is provided that they are undamaged to begin with, and it does also depend on how ripe they were when you got them, as well as the variety of the orange itself.
If you are someone who prefers to keep oranges in the fridge, they will last up to 21 days before they start to deteriorate.
If you’ve already peeled an orange, or if you’ve cut one in half, you’re best using it the same day.
The good news is that you can freeze oranges, although the texture of the fruit will change (for fruit that changes very little after freezing, check out our Freezing Grapes Guide).
This limits you in the way that you can use them once thawed, as they should be used in smoothies or juices, where the altered consistency doesn’t matter.
Once frozen, they will keep up to 4 months before they start to lose their quality.
How Do You Freeze Oranges?
How To Prepare Oranges For Freezing
The first thing you’ll need to do is to run cold water over the oranges to wash them gently. You don’t need to scrub the rind, but make sure there’s no dirt or bacteria left.
Dry them with paper towels. You’ll want to peel the oranges and section them, or just slice them into roundels. Roundels are better if you want to use the oranges as garnishes.
If you want to use the oranges for anything else, you’re better off segmenting them.
Make Sure To Clean The Containers
This is a very important step, no matter what you choose to freeze. Make sure the containers or bags you’ll be using are sterile.
Of course, there’s no need to wash a freezer bag you haven’t used, but if you’ve got an airtight container, make sure it’s completely clean.
There are two different ways to freeze oranges (see also Freezing Mandarins) that should help preserve the texture and taste of the oranges, and it depends on your preference as to which one you go for.
Freezing Oranges By Dry Packing
Dry packing oranges essentially means that you’re filling a container with as many orange pieces as you can, as tightly as possible.
This helps stop any excess air from sitting in the container, which helps preserve their flavor.
Don’t forget to leave about ½ inch of space between the oranges and the lid, as the oranges will expand when they freeze.
Make sure to write the date on the container, and freeze.
Freezing Oranges In Sugar Syrup
You can also freeze oranges in sugar syrup. While this will help preserve the texture, it does mean that they will be much sweeter, potentially too sweet for some.
To make the syrup, you’ll need to boil three parts water to two parts sugar, and then leave it to cool in the fridge for 4 hours, minimum.
You may want to use canning jars or airtight containers for this, so long as they are completely sterile and freezer safe.
Put the orange pieces into the jars, and pour the syrup over the top, making sure to completely cover the fruit.
Don’t forget to leave some room at the top, so that both the oranges and the syrup have extra room to expand when they freeze.
Seal the containers tightly, write the date, and freeze.
Freeze Oranges In Segments
If you’re short on time, or the above methods seem a little unnecessary, you can also freeze oranges in their segments. You should remove the membranes and the seeds before you do.
Place the segments on a lined baking tray as a single layer. Freeze them until they’re solid, and then transfer into a resealable freezer bag and return to the freezer.
This will stop them from clumping together.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Oranges?
The best way to thaw frozen oranges is to take them out of the freezer and leave them on the counter on a plate.
The slower thawing process should help retain some of the texture, but it will take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on how much you have to defrost.
If you freeze the oranges (see also Can You Freeze Orange Juice?) in syrup, you’ll need to drain this and rinse the oranges before you use them. This will also prevent them from being too sweet.
Once you thaw oranges, use them straight away for best results.
While oranges have a fairly decent shelf life compared to some fruits (see also Freezing Pears), it’s very easy to forget about them, so it makes sense to freeze them and then use them as you want, so long as you reserve eating them as is for their fresh counterparts.