Oranges are a nutritious and delicious fruit that can be enjoyed year-round. Many people wonder if you can freeze oranges to preserve them for longer storage. The answer is yes! Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of oranges.
How to Freeze Oranges
Freezing oranges is a simple process. Here are step-by-step instructions:
Wash the oranges.
Before freezing, wash the oranges thoroughly under cool running water. This removes any dirt or residue from the peel.
Peel the oranges.
You can freeze oranges, peeled or unpeeled. Peeling them first makes for easier use later. To peel, use a sharp knife to slice off the rind and outer membrane. Remove as much of the white pith as possible, as this can taste bitter when frozen.
Separate the orange sections.
Next, carefully cut between the membranes to separate the orange into segments. The segments will be easier to use later if they are already individually portioned.
Prepare storage containers.
Place the orange segments in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer to airtight freezer containers or bags. This prevents them from sticking together in a block. Leave some headspace for expansion.
Label and Date
Label the containers with the contents and date. Frozen oranges will maintain their best quality for 6–12 months.
Freezing the oranges in single layers first prevents them from freezing into a solid block, making them much easier to use later on.
Tips for Freezing Oranges
Follow these tips for best results with frozen oranges:
- Select fresh, ripe oranges at peak flavor. Overripe fruits tend to become watery or mushy when thawed.
- Squeeze some juice from the orange membranes over the segments before freezing. This adds flavor and prevents browning.
- For longer storage, blanch the oranges first. Blanching stops enzyme actions that can cause a loss of flavor. To blanch, dip segments in boiling water for 3 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Pat it dry before freezing.
- Use frozen oranges within 6–12 months for the best quality. Frozen oranges may last up to 2 years but can suffer flavor and texture loss over time.
Blanching oranges before freezing is recommended for storage times over 6 months. It helps maintain flavor and texture.
The Best Ways to Use Frozen Oranges
Frozen oranges are extremely versatile in recipes. Here are some of the top ways to use them:
- Add to smoothies for natural sweetness and immune-boosting vitamin C.
- Mix into yogurt, oatmeal, or cottage cheese for a nutrition and flavor boost.
- Make homemade orange juice by blending frozen sections with water.
- Use in baked goods like muffins, cakes, or quick breads. Substitute thawed orange segments for fresh.
- Mix into chia pudding or overnight oats recipes.
- Add to the pancake or waffle batter.
- Make orange sorbet by blending frozen segments with orange juice and simple syrup.
- Mix into cocktails, mocktails, or sangria.
Frozen oranges can be conveniently added to a wide variety of recipes, from smoothies to cocktails. Their uses are limited only by your imagination!
Varieties of Oranges to Freeze
While you can freeze any type of orange, some varieties hold up better to freezing than others. Good options include:
- Navel oranges are sweet, seedless, and easy to segment. Their thick skins help protect the oranges from freezing.
- Valencia oranges are a summer orange with thin skin. Best for juicing and adding to cocktails or recipes.
- Blood oranges have a unique flavor and gorgeous color. Their anthocyanin pigments stay bright red even after freezing.
- Cara cara oranges are pink-fleshed with a sweet, mild, low-acid flavor. A crowd-pleasing frozen treat.
Storing frozen oranges
Proper storage is important for preserving frozen oranges. Follow these tips:
- Use rigid plastic containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. This prevents crushing or damage.
- Squeeze out excess air and seal tightly to prevent freezer burn.
- Fill containers to the top to minimize air pockets.
- Avoid overpacking bags or containers. Citrus expands when frozen.
- Store frozen oranges at 0°F or colder for best retention of quality and nutrients.
Signs of Spoilage
Check for these signs that your frozen oranges are past their prime:
- Excessive ice crystals or freezer burn
- Loss of texture: dry, mushy, or spongy
- Loss of color—paler, translucent appearance
- Off odors or unpleasant taste
- Mold growth
Discard oranges if they show signs of spoilage. For best quality and food safety, use frozen oranges within 12 months.
In addition to thawing overnight in the fridge, you can quickly thaw oranges by placing the frozen bag or container in a bowl of cool water for 15–30 minutes. Microwave thawing can lead to uneven textures, so frequent stirring is needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze orange juice?
Yes, you can freeze orange juice. Pour freshly squeezed juice into ice cube trays or muffin tins. Once frozen, transfer the juice cubes to airtight freezer bags. The frozen concentrate will last 6–12 months. Thaw needed amounts as desired.
Can you freeze cuties?
Cuties and other mandarin oranges can also be frozen successfully. Use the same methods as regular oranges. Their small segments make them ideal for smoothies or adding to yogurt or oatmeal.
Can you freeze blood oranges?
The procedures for blood oranges are the same as for regular oranges. Their beautiful color and flavor will be preserved through freezing. Enjoy their unique taste in smoothies, sorbets, or cocktails.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen oranges?
For the best texture, thaw frozen orange sections in the refrigerator overnight. You can also thaw in the microwave in 30-second intervals, checking often to prevent overheating the edges.
Can you refreeze thawed oranges?
It is not recommended to refreeze oranges once they have fully thawed. Refreezing can damage the cell structure, leading to a loss of juice and a mushier texture. Use thawed oranges within a few days.
Enjoy those frozen oranges!
With all their benefits and convenience, frozen oranges are a handy staple. Try using them in your next smoothie, juice, baked good, or cocktail for bright, refreshing flavor any time of year!
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.