Sometimes we end up with more oranges in the kitchen than any household could hope to eat. If you don’t want to give the excess fruit away or juice it, your best option is to store the oranges in the freezer for another day. As with almost everything you do in life, there’s a right and wrong way to get the job done. Would you like to learn how to freeze oranges so that they are still tasty a year later? We’re about to take you through a simple method and then answer some commonly asked questions.
How do I freeze oranges?
Before getting started, you’ll need some suitably sized freezer bags that won’t tear. Also track down a pen to label the bags, chopping board and a sharp knife. The time required will vary depending on how much citrus fruit you have; 5 pounds should only take 5-10 minutes of work.
The first step is preparing the oranges which is quick and easy. Wash the fruit in cold water to remove any unwanted dirt or spray and then dry them off. You will then need to decide how the oranges will be frozen. You have the following popular options:
- slice into circular rounds for use as garnishes on meat, poultry, and in drinks.
- chop into quarters, leaving the skin on for portion control pieces that can be used for zesting.
- peel the skin for blending the fruit into smoothies, fruit juices, or for adding to other ingredients in baked goods or desserts.
Tip: Peeling several bags of oranges with your fingers can take a long time and get messy. It is quicker to use a sharp knife and cut off the skin.
Put the individual pieces of orange on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and freeze for 2 hours. This is a useful step that stops the fruit from freezing together into one solid mass. When that happens, it’s a nightmare separating them. Have you got a lot of oranges to freeze? Stack up multiple layers on the one tray, dividing each row with paper to keep everything separate.
Once the oranges are frozen, remove them from the freezer and place on the kitchen bench. Begin filling an airtight container or freezer bags with the fruit. Don’t fill the bag to capacity as the contents will expand when frozen which may cause the bag to tear, resulting in freezer burn.
Once the bags are filled, force out as much air as possible and seal. Next, label the oranges with the date for easy reference several months later. The fruit can now be placed at the back of the freezer, the best location to avoid temperature fluctuations which occur closer to the door.
How long can oranges be frozen?
Oranges can be stored frozen for up to 12 months if they are properly packaged and aren’t placed in the freezer door. Oranges will usually be okay to eat after a year frozen, but they will have begun to lose quality. Bear in mind that regardless of how long oranges are frozen, they will not have the same freshness and quality that you get from fresh fruit. Frozen oranges are best used in juices and added to recipes rather than eating on their own.
How to freeze whole oranges
If you intend using whole oranges for juicing, then freezing them first is a great option. When it comes time to use them, the fruits texture will break down a little once thawed. This makes juicing easier and more productive.
To freeze oranges whole select a large freezer bag or suitable bag that won’t tear easily. Add the oranges and remove any air before sealing the opening. Label the bag with current date and add to the freezer. You can expect whole oranges to last for up to one year before losing quality.
How to defrost frozen oranges
To thaw oranges remove them from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight refrigerated. Once thawed, use the fruit within 4 days, but preferably on the same day as defrosting.
Does packing in syrup help?
If you are okay for the oranges to freeze in one clump then filling the bag with syrup will help the oranges retain their flavor and texture for longer. Make a simple syrup by adding equal parts sugar and water to a saucepan and heating on medium-high until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely before pouring into each bag, jar, or container. Once again, allow some space at the top so that there is room for expansion.
Can citrus juice be frozen?
Any citrus juice, including orange, is excellent for juicing with no negative effects on its flavor after thawing. People that enjoy drinking it by the glass have the option to freeze the juice in airtight containers.
Ice cube trays are perfect for portion-controlled juice which is good for flavoring cakes, puddings, or any recipe that calls for small amounts of juice. Once the juice is frozen in the ice cube tray, it is best to transfer the cubes to a freezer bag so that you can use the tray for other purposes.
Tips for freezing oranges
- Never forget to label fruit with the date as most of us will usually forget when the juicing took place.
- Freeze the fruit when it is as fresh as possible rather than leaving them for a week and letting them get soft and mushy.
- Combine apple, carrot, melon, blueberries, and banana in one freezer container for instant, chilled fruit juice.
- It is better to refrigerate citrus if you expect to use them in the next few weeks. Oranges stored in the refrigerator will last 3-4 weeks before they start to shrivel and turn soft.
If you have too many oranges at home then freezing them is a great option. To freeze them, simply wash and slice into pieces or peel, before freezing individually on a baking sheet for two hours. The fruit can then be transferred to bags or airtight containers and returned to the freezer. Your orange will now be ready to add to any recipe, whether it’s food or beverages. Orange juice lovers should also consider juicing the oranges in advance and then freezing in containers. This will provide delicious, home-squeezed orange juice whenever its needed.
What is your favorite recipe for oranges? Please let us know in the comments below.