Oranges are vibrant, round fruits that have the most wonderful flavor combination of sweet and tart. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals, so there’s absolutely no guilt in munching on them anytime.
You can buy navel oranges nearly any time of year, but they’re in peak season between November and January. That’s when they taste best.
But if you’re like me, I like to keep these refreshing fruits on hand all year long. They’re perfect for a mid-day snack, can be turned into a tasty orange marmalade, and used in a variety of baked goods.
In the summer months, I especially love using them in smoothies and sherbets.
If left on the counter at room temperature, oranges will only last about a week. They do fare better in the fridge, where they’ll stay fresh for 3 to 4 weeks. But what if you want if you want to keep them longer?
To preserve your oranges even longer, you can freeze them!
Surprised? Many think that oranges won’t freeze well since they have a high water content. As you may know, food items that contain lots of water expand as they freeze, causing them to break or burst. When this happens, they lose their integrity, often drying out and tasting bland.
But such is not the case for oranges! Sure, frozen and defrosted oranges aren’t as yummy as fresh ones, but they’re still surprisingly good.
You can use them in baked goods, throw them on top of salads, blend them up in your smoothie, and so much more.
Here are 3 of the best ways to freeze your oranges.
How to Freeze Oranges
Frozen oranges will keep well for up to six months. Here are two ways you can do it:
Method One: Dry Packing
- Wash the oranges under cold water. Dry them with a clean paper towel.
- Peel the oranges, taking off as much of the white tissue as you can.
- Break each one into four sections.
- Transfer the oranges into either a freezer-safe bag or a canning jar. If using the Ziploc bag, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze. If using the jar, leave ¼ inch of space at the top and cover tightly with the lid.
- Label the container with its contents and the current date and freeze.
Method Two: Syrup Packing
This method takes more time and effort, but it allows the oranges to keep their fantastic flavor and texture. It will also help preserve the color of the fruit.
As you probably deduced from the name, you’ll need to make a syrup to execute this option.
- Prepare the syrup in advance. To make – boil 3 parts of water and 2 parts sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar is well dissolved.
- Refrigerate the syrup for 4 hours.
- Place peeled and quartered oranges in a canning jar.
- Pour syrup over the oranges until they are soaked. Leave ¾ inch of space at the top to make room for expansion.
- Cover the jar with the lid as tight as you can.
- Label the jar with its contents and the current date and freeze.
Method Three: Juice Freezing
Don’t want to go through the hassle of freezing your oranges? Freeze the juice instead!
- Follow steps 1-2 of method one.
- Squeeze out the juices with an orange juicer.
- Pour the juice into ice cube trays.
- Freeze the trays.
- Take the cubes out and transfer them into a freezer-safe bag. Squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze again. Orange concentrate will keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Thaw Frozen Oranges
Method One (Dry Packing): Take the oranges out of the freezer and defrost at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours.
Method Two (Syrup Packing): Follow the step above. Drain and rinse the oranges before use.
Consume thawed oranges within 3 to 4 days.
Method Three (Juice Freezing): Thaw the cubes in a microwave for 20-30 seconds. Or let them defrost at room temperature for several hours.
Note: Although you can eat thawed oranges as is, you may be disappointed. But don’t worry! There are many different ways to use your newly thawed oranges. They work as excellent ingredients in salads, yogurts, smoothies, sherbet, and juices.
So, orange you glad you froze them oranges?
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to clean your container by washing it in soapy water. If using a canning jar, boil the lids for at least 5 minutes to make sure they are sterilized.
- Grate some of the peel before freezing to get orange zest! You can freeze orange zest in an air-tight container, and it will last for up to 6 months.