Whether you like eating oranges as a snack or juicing them as a natural alternative to store-bought juices, this vitamin-packed citrus fruit is always good to have at home.
But how long do oranges last? The shelf life of oranges depends on where you store them. Oranges kept at room temperature have a shelf life of around 14 days. Refrigerated oranges, on the other hand, keep well for up to a month. If you want the oranges to last longer, you can freeze, dehydrate, or can them.
In this article, you will get detailed information on the proper ways of storing oranges. Additionally, you will learn some tips for prolonging the shelf life of this fruit.
Do Oranges Go Bad?
Citrus fruits, including oranges, have a long shelf life compared to many other fruits varieties. But this is true only when you store them properly.
The good thing about oranges is that you can store them anywhere. Additionally, there are other ways of preserving oranges long-term, including canning them and dehydrating.
Keep in mind that the shelf life of oranges varies depending on where you store them. Thus, pick a method that works best for you.
How to Store Oranges?
There are a few ways of storing oranges. Depending on how many oranges you have and how often you eat them, you can choose between the following storage options.
Storing Oranges at Room Temperature
If oranges are your regular source of vitamin C and you reach for them at least once in a day, the best option is storing them in the pantry or in the kitchen.
Put oranges in a basket, away from direct sunlight and heat. Also, keep them away from the sink or anywhere humid.
Oranges stored at room temperature are always much juicier. If this is what you are looking for in this fruit, buy only a couple of oranges at a time and always keep them at room temperature.
Storing Oranges in the Fridge
Refrigerating oranges is probably the best storage method for these fruits especially if you need them to last longer.
To store oranges in the fridge put them in a mesh bag. If you are using a plastic bag, don’t seal it tightly as you need to provide some air circulation for the oranges to keep well.
Keep the oranges in the produce section of your fridge if it has one.
Every time you need oranges, take out as many as you need and not the entire bag as temperature fluctuations will have a negative impact on the fruit.
If you have leftover cut or peeled oranges, store them in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic bag and eat as soon as possible.
Storing Oranges in the Freezer
There may be cases when you somehow end up with too many oranges. In such cases, the most suitable storage option is the freezer. It is also the easiest long-term storage method for this citrus fruit.
You can freeze oranges in a range of different ways. You can freeze them whole or cut, with the skin or peeled. Pick a method depending on how you are going to use the frozen oranges.
If you don’t know what you can do with frozen oranges, here are some ideas.
- Use defrosted oranges in salads
- Make refreshing all-natural orange juice
- Puree frozen oranges and use the mixture for cakes and other baked goods
Keep in mind that the texture of defrosted oranges is different from the texture of fresh ones. Once thawed, oranges are softer and their flavor may be less intense.
If the texture and the taste of oranges in the dish you are making are of central importance, we recommend using fresh oranges. Save frozen oranges for another occasion.
Frozen oranges can be thawed in the fridge or at room temperature. When making smoothies with frozen oranges, don’t bother to thaw them.
How Long Do Oranges Last?
If you store oranges at room temperature or in the pantry, away from heat and humidity, expect them to keep well from 10 to 14 days.
Cut or sliced oranges can be left at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours. Otherwise, they will dry out and go bad rather quickly.
Whole oranges stored properly in the fridge will keep well from 3 to 4 weeks. Cut, sliced, or peeled oranges, stored in an airtight container or bag will last from 2 to 3 days. However, the sooner you eat already cut or peeled oranges, the better.
Frozen oranges will keep well for 6 to 12 months in the freezer.
How Can You Tell If Oranges Have Gone Bad?
Fruits usually don’t come with an expiration date. Thus, it is always good to know the signs of bad fruit, including oranges.
There are many ways of finding out whether the oranges are still good or not.
First off, inspect the appearance. If the skin of the oranges is moldy or discolored, discard them. If there are only small spots on the skin, peel the fruit to see if it is still good inside.
Second, press on the oranges. Good oranges should feel firm or only slightly soft. If the oranges are too mushy, you should have used them way earlier.
Third, smell the oranges. The citrusy smell of this fruit can be felt even when it is uncut. If the oranges lack this smell or have an off-putting odor, they are most likely on the verge of going bad.
Lastly, cut the oranges and have a look at the insides. If everything looks and smells good, give the oranges a taste test. If there isn’t an off-putting flavor and the fruit tastes good to you, go ahead and eat it.
How to Make Oranges Last Longer?
Here are a few things you should know to make your oranges last longer.
Picking Ripe Oranges
If you want your oranges to last long, you need to start with learning how to select them.
If you want your oranges to keep well, pick the ones that are ripened just to the right degree. Oranges that aren’t fully ripe yet don’t taste good. And unfortunately, citruses don’t continue to develop once picked. Overripe oranges, on the other hand, go bad very quickly.
Pick oranges that are firm and don’t have any dark or mushy spots. The skin should have a fine texture and bright color and the orange itself should feel heavy.
Keep the Oranges Dry
If you want to make your oranges last long, do not cover them with a plastic wrap while they are sitting at room temperature. You may think that doing this will protect the fruits but it does the opposite – makes them go bad much quicker.
Third, it is essential to keep the oranges dry. If you pile wet oranges one onto another, it is guaranteed that you will get them moldy within a day or two.
Dehydrating Oranges for Long-Term Storage
If you have lots of oranges and don’t want to freeze them, your best bet is dehydrating them. If you have never dehydrated fruit, don’t be scared by the name. Dehydrating oranges is fairly easy.
Here is what you need to do.
- Wash the oranges and slice them thinly.
- Put the orange slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Put the tray into the oven preheated to 200 °F.
- Let the oranges cook for 2.5 hours.
You will find many uses for dehydrated oranges. You can use them to decorate cheese platters, cakes, cocktails, etc. Considering that dehydrated oranges last up to 2 years, you will certainly manage to make good use out of them. You need to only make sure that the slices are fully dried out as even the smallest amount of moisture left inside can cause them to go bad quickly.
Another long-term storage method for oranges, aside from freezing and dehydrating, is canning. Canning oranges is time-consuming and requires attention to detail. All steps should be conducted properly in order to preserve oranges safely for 18 to 24 months.
To can oranges, peel them and leave them whole or cut into multiple pieces. Pack the oranges into the jar and pour boiling simple syrup over them. Make sure there is half an inch of space left between the liquid and the top of the jar.
Seal the jar tightly. Make sure to follow the elevation and time instructions of the particular orange canning recipe you are using.