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How to Store Oranges

These are fresh ripe oranges on a woven wicker basket on a wooden table.

How many times have you bought a kilo of fruit, and then a few days later, you find it rotten? Well, I guess we have all done it. When such fruits go bad, it’s a waste of money and produce that you don’t get to enjoy. In today’s post, we will round up some of the best ways to store oranges.

If you have been throwing away fruit due to going bad, fear no more as we outline some of the best storage practices. Proper storage of oranges is imperative in ensuring they stay good, edible, retain nutritional value, retain flavor, retain juiciness, and keep peak quality as long as possible.

Storage methods used in preserving oranges vary based on how long you need to keep them fresh, the type of orange you wish to preserve, and the way you intend to serve them. Most importantly selecting oranges for storage, avoid dry, mushy/ wrinkled ones as they are signs of already beginning to spoil.

For preservation and storage, select oranges with a fragrant scent, smooth skin, and ones that feel heavy for their size. Don’t buy unripe oranges to let them mature afterward. Now let’s get into some of the best ways to store your oranges fresh for a long.

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Store Whole Orange

This is a close look at a bunch of oranges with leaves on a wooden table.

Fully ripe oranges store well in their own rinds. Store the oranges whole without washing them to prevent the accumulation of moisture on the skins. Water on the rind can lead to the formation of mold, bacteria growth, and spoilage.

Store the oranges at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. At room temperature, oranges may have a shorter shelf life. They may only last for several days or up to a week, depending on the state at the time of purchase.

Keep them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks – three weeks or as per your preference. You can opt to keep the oranges in a net bag or an open bowl so that air can circulate freely around the fruits.

Did you know Valencia Oranges are best suited for juicing while Navel Oranges are ideal for eating? For navel oranges, the bigger it is, the sweeter the orange.

Slice up the Oranges for storage

This is a close look at pieces of sliced oranges with the fresh ripe ones by the basket.

This is also an ideal way of storage. Wash the oranges before slicing. Use a clean knife and cutting board to deter cross-pollution. Slice or section the oranges as per your preference, then package the sliced oranges in a sealed bag or airtight container.

Store the sliced, packaged oranges in a refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately four days. For prolonged storage, freeze the sliced pieces in a sugar syrup made from boiling 2¾ cups of sugar for every 4 cups of water. Freezing the sliced oranges. This way, it can store them for up to 12 months.

Cut, peeled, sliced/sectioned oranges can only last a long time, for a few hours at room temperature and a couple of days in the fridge. Do not keep sliced oranges in a metallic container; rather than keep them in an airtight, nonreactive package such as a plastic bag.

Freezing Fresh Oranges

These are frozen Mandarin oranges in a bowl.

Freezing is best suited for more extended storage. Orange juice freezes better than the whole fruit. Ideally, it is best to juice leftovers for freezing. For orange segments, they should be peeled and separated to be frozen in an airtight freezer bag. Frozen oranges and orange juice should be used within about six months.

Alternatively, you can cook, rinse, dry, and zest your segmented orange for freezing. This freezing option involves putting a few pinches of zested rind in the compartments of an ice-cube tray. Squeeze and fill them up with fresh orange juice.

Keep the tray in the freezer as the cubes become handy flavoring agents. Some of the uses of frozen juice include;

Frozen orange juice popsicles are essential for providing vitamin C to kids or added to dishes to make a delicious citrusy taste.

You can use frozen juice (lime) to preserve guacamole with avocado to keep it from going bad.

Pickling Orange Fruits

A close look at a jar of pickled peach slices.

Oranges/citrus fruits can be preserved through the pickling method. Pickling enhances the taste of the fruit. Pickling involves the use of salt and water, and then oranges are packed into an airtight jar.

Wash and rinse the oranges before you begin. Make incisions on the fruit by using a sharp knife. Make four slits. Cut a lengthwise incision on the orange and do not cut all the way through. 

Pack the sliced slit openings with sea salt, about one tablespoon per fruit. Put the fruit in a clean quart-sized mason jar. Fill up the jar with the salted fruits. Mash the oranges to fit easily.

Add extra spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves. Seal the pickling jar and wait for about three weeks before consumption. Pickled oranges can be kept for up to six months and are ideal in salads.

Selection of a ripe orange

A graphic image of freshly squeezed orange juice straight into a glass.

It is always good to spot the ripest, highest-quality pieces. A ripe orange is always unique in terms of juiciness and perfect balance of tang and sweetness. It is soft but with a nice, crisp crunch.

Picking any type of orange going by the color of the rind can be misleading. We get attracted to those with brightly colored exteriors. Did you know some dyes to look more appealing?

If you are picking direct from a tree, clip the fruit at ease with very little resistance. A struggle to pull fruit from the tree means it might not be ready to pick.

Over ripened oranges will deteriorate quickly since chemicals that cause the fruit to break down have been released. Ripper oranges have low levels of sweetness, juice, and nutritional value.

Some oranges may feature a somewhat dull color or greenish color at peak ripeness. For instance, the Valencia oranges portray a pale rind. Select an orange by the feel. It should be firm and smooth with a fine texture.

Ripe oranges feel heavy for their size. Exempt oranges exhibiting attributes such as;

  • Spongy/ squishy texture, soft spots, loss of shape
  • Blemishes, cuts, bruises, or other visible damage
  • Sour or unappetizing smell
  • Discolored areas on the rind
  • Mold growth (dark greenish/ white in color)
  • Wrinkled, dried-out, or saggy rinds

Essential practices to consider when storing oranges

A close look at small pieces of Mandarin oranges served in a bowl.

If the oranges get damp, towel dry them and air them out before storing them.

Ensure there are no moisture or water droplets on the rind

Do not cover the oranges with plastic wrap or foil. Airflow circulation is imperative

For room storage, keep the house cooler. Refrigerated oranges should be kept for approximately one month.

Ensure you keep your humidity in a high humid environment.

Storage of Oranges FAQs

How long do oranges last in the refrigerator?

If you put fresh oranges in the fridge, you can store them for at least three weeks, but not longer than two months. Cut fruit last for a couple of days.

How long will oranges last at room temperature?

If the room is not too hot, oranges kept at room temperature can last for around one week. Prolonged storage of fruits at room temperature may lead to loss of flavor and drying-up.

How long can oranges last before going bad?

The ability of the orange to last long depends on storage conditions. If you wish to keep your fruits for a couple of days, there is no need for refrigeration. But for a more extended storage period, choose either refrigeration or freezing.