Yes, you can easily freeze oranges and they will last up to 12 months. Oranges can freeze whole, sliced, juiced or in halves. You can even freeze orange zest for future recipes.
If you want to learn more about freezing oranges and keeping them fresh for a good long while, keep on reading!
Can You Freeze Oranges?
Almost every orange is able to be frozen. We will say up front that freezing oranges, just like freezing most fruits and vegetables, will decrease their quality, flavor, and texture as time passes. This is unavoidable but you can mitigate it a bit by employing some of the techniques we list below and using your oranges quickly.
You can freeze all kinds of oranges and orange juice. The best way to freeze them is peeled slices using a combination of flash freezing and long term freezer bags. When kept at a constant sub-zero temperature, frozen oranges can last up to a year. They can easily be thawed in the fridge, on the counter, or tossed right into a smoothie, drink, cocktail, or other recipe.
Frozen oranges also work best in recipes and smoothies. Essentially, anything that does not need the orange to retain it's original shape and texture can use frozen oranges.
Not all oranges freeze equally. The University of California did a study on Naval oranges and found freezing them will result in poor results. Oranges, when frozen, develop limonin; a compound that has a very bitter taste. Naval oranges have a higher level of limonin than other types of oranges. So, freezing Naval oranges will be very disappointing if you try it.
However, other varieties of oranges and juice are fair game. Incidentally, you can also freeze limes and many other types of citrus fruit, like grapefruit and, lemons using the same methods we discuss today.
|Time To Freeze||depends on method|
2 to 4 hours (flash freezing)
12+ deep (freezing)
|Time to Thaw||2 to 4 (in fridge)|
<1 hour (on counter or under running water)
|Freezer Life||up to 12 months|
Why should you freeze it?
We say this a lot but finding a great deal on produce is really hard to pass up. You can buy more for the off season knowing that you can freeze oranges and have them all year around. We also like to freeze orange juice in ice cube trays to add some extra flavor to our drinks.
The chart below will show you exactly how much longer you can extend the life of your oranges simply by freezing them.
Frozen Vs Non-frozen
|Freezer Life||Fridge Life||Shelf Life|
|up to 1 year||up to 1 month||up to 1 week|
You are going to need the following supplies:
- oranges or orange juice
- cookie sheet (for flash freezing)
- ice cube trays (for juice)
- Freezer bags
- Sharpie or marker
- knife and cutting board (for slices, wheels, and halves)
- pot or sauce pan (for syrup packing)
- Mason Jars (for syrup packing)
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
How To Freeze Oranges
There are several ways to freeze oranges. We will cover them in 3 sections; Without Peel, With Peel, and Juice.
Note: All of the methods below recommend you label the bag, jar, or other storage container with the contents, freezing date, and use by date.
We will start freezing peeled oranges since that is the most likely way you will want to freeze them. Obviously, your first step in each of the below methods is to remove the orange peel.
Dry packing is the easiest of the peeled methods.
- Cut your orange into slices. Wheels and halves are possible, but much more difficult without the peel.
- Use a knife to remove the seeds, if you like.
- Place the orange slices into your labeled freezer bags.
- Place the bag in your freezer until they are frozen.
Note: This method is quick and easy. However, when dry packing the oranges all freeze together at the same time and will likely freeze into a single clump; making it difficult to use only what you need.
A way to avoid that is to...
Flash freezing is, more or less, when you pre-freeze individual (just like when you freeze kiwi) slices before the deep freeze. this allows the moisture in the slices to stay within each slice until they freeze.
- Cut your orange into slices and remove the seeds the same way as you would when dry packing.
- Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Place the orange slices in a single layer on the cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for about 2 to 4 hours.
- Once they freeze, take the slices off the cookie sheet and put them in a labeled freezer bag.
- Put the bag back into the freezer for long term storage
Here you will find a couple of freezing methods that leave the peel on the orange if that is something you prefer. The peel gives the orange a little extra bit of protection and also will give you the option of making an orange peel zest in the future.
Obviously, this means you are taking the orange, as is, and freezing it. This process is quite simple. All you need to do is:
- Label a freezer safe ziplock bag with both the freeze and use by dates
- Place a whole orange in the bag
- Squeeze as much air out as you can
- Put the bag in the freezer
Wheels, slices, or halves
If you want to keep the peel on, this is the best method. You can do this using the dry packing or flash freezing method listed above.
- Cut your orange in half, wheels, or into slices.
- Determine your method of freezing
- Dry Packing
- put them in a labeled freezer bag
- squeeze out all the air
- put in freezer
- Flash Freezing
- Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Place oranges in single layer on cookie sheet
- Freeze for 2 to 4 hours
- Put oranges in labeled freezer bags
- Place bags in freezer for long term storage
- Dry Packing
Syrup Packing (best with slices; peel on or off)
You've probably seen fruit at the store or the farmers market preserved in syrup. You can freeze cherries this same way.
You can do it on your own and it's really easy but does take some extra time to prep the syrup.
- Boil a 2:3 mixture of sugar and water on your stove top (measurements based on the amount of oranges being preserved)
- Once the sugar has dissolved, take the pot off the heat and cool the syrup in the fridge
- Once you're ready, prepare your oranges the same way described in the other methods.
- Put the slices in a Mason jar; being careful not to over pack them as the oranges will need room to move and have syrup cover everything completely.
- Pour the syrup into the Mason jar until the oranges are covered. Leave a bit of air space in the top of the jar; just like in canning. Around an inch, give or take, of headspace should do.
- Put the lids on tightly and lable them the same as you would label freezer bags; contents, freeze date, and use by date.
Orange juice can be frozen in large quantities or small ice cubes. Both of these methods will assume you have either purchased orange juice or already juiced your own.
Use a Mason Jar or some other freezer safe container to freeze larger quantities of orange juice for later.
- Fill your container with orange juice.
- Leave about ¾" of headpsace so the juice can expand while freezing.
- Place in the freezer.
- Orange Juice should keep when frozen for 8 to 12 months.
We prefer freezing as ice cubes to flavor drinks.
- Fill an ice cube tray up with orange juice. Be careful not to overfill.
- Flash freeze for 2-4 hours.
- Pop out cubes and put them in a labeled ziplock bag.
- put back in the freezer until you need them later.
How do you defrost it?
Thawing after flash freezing will give you the best results since they are less likely to be frozen together in a large clump. Stick them in the fridge overnight and they hould be defrosted by morning. If you need them more quickly, you can stick them in a bowl on the counter or put them in a seperate zipper bag and run it under cool water. Either way should have them defrost in under an hour.
The best way you can use frozen oranges is to not thaw them at all. Frozen fruit and veggies, in general, become water logged and lose a lot of their quality and texture after being frozen. They will still taste decent but not as good as you would really want fresh fruit to taste.
Just like you can do with mint leaves and frozen watermelon you can use frozen oranges as a replacement for ice cubes in your drinks. As they melt, they will give anything from a glass of water to a tasty Screwdriver cocktail an orange infused flavor.
How can I use frozen oranges?
Frozen oranges work best as an ingredient to drinks (including garnishes), smoothies, and recipes (including zesting the peel).
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.