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How To: Freeze Oranges

Wondering how to freeze oranges? I've got you covered with this easy to follow guide to freezing oranges. Whether you've got an overachieving tree in the yard or scored a heck of a deal at the store, we'll get those oranges preserved in no time!

It always happens at the worst time, like a Sunday night after freezing rain, 20 minutes from closing time, and we live 18 minutes from the store.

But hey, when else would you browse through the grocery flyers and see that oranges are on super sale?

I mean, if you're me, that's when it always happens, followed closely by all 4 of us scrambling to get in the car and go buy more oranges than any one person should buy at one time.

My smoothie master, Kevy, goes through many, many oranges for our daily smoothies, so I do my part, and stock the freezer with frozen fruits, like blueberries, strawberries, cherries, pineapple, and now oranges!

This how to freeze oranges guide is dedicated to the smoothie master.

Frozen orange pieces in a bowl.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Oranges are non-climacteric fruit, which means they will not ripen further after picking. The fruit will continue to respire, and the cells within the fruit will continue to break down and get softer and juicer, but it won't get sweeter! So it's important to grab fresh, ripe oranges at the store.

No. 2 --> Be aware of your time constraints, oranges are best is consumed or preserved within a week of hitting your counter. If you've got fridge space, they can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 weeks before the quality starts diminishing.

No. 3 --> Lining your cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper will make it much easier to remove the frozen orange pieces, especially if your fruit is ultra juicy!

No. 4 --> Freezing the orange chunks on the baking sheet before transferring to a container ensures that you won't have a frozen mass of orange in a bag that you'll need a chisel and hammer to chip away when you want some oranges.

No. 5 --> Decide how you want to freeze your oranges before you start. There are so many options; whole, sliced, segments, chopped. Personally, I skip the freezing whole, and sliced with peel attached. I never use oranges that way, so it seems like more work on the back end.

Key Ingredients

Oranges: This recipe works for any and all oranges. I used California navel oranges for these photos because it's December, they're in season, and reasonably priced right now. But this guide will work with mandarins, satsuma, clementine, and any other orange or citrus fruit.

When choosing your fruit, look for oranges with a yellow-orange peel throughout, and are firm and heavy for their size. Avoid picking oranges that have bruises or cuts to the peel.

A basket of oranges.

How To Freeze Oranges

Prepare oranges:

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or a flexible cutting board. You don't need to line the baking sheet, but it will make your life much easier once the fruit is frozen, trust me! Set aside.
  2. Wash all oranges in hot, soapy water and dry before continuing.
  3. Either peel by hand or slice off the peel and pith of the oranges. We are using our oranges primarily for smoothies, so I was cautious to remove most of bitter white pith.
  4. Break the oranges into segments, or coarsely chop. I chopped my oranges into eighths, I find that size freezes quite quickly and blends up nicely.

Freeze oranges:

  1. Layer the cut oranges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until oranges are frozen, about 2-3 hours.

Package oranges:

  1. Once the oranges are fully frozen, remove the tray from the freezer and lift the corner of your parchment paper or silicone mat, don't fret if the oranges are stuck together, they'll fall apart once you start bending them.
  2. Transfer frozen oranges to freezer-friendly packaging or vacuum seal.
  3. Label all bags and return to freezer until ready to use. Don't forget this step! There's nothing worse than cleaning out your freezer and coming across UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects) and tossing them because you can't remember what you put in the bag or when you put it there.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

I froze two 10 pound boxes of oranges and yielded A LOT of frozen oranges! Each box netted me two full baking sheets of chopped oranges. This recipe is infinitely scalable and is only limited by your orange stock and your freezer space!

Storage:

Frozen oranges can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for at least 6 months. I prefer to vacuum seal my oranges, as I find the quality is preserved for longer.

Overhead view of frozen oranges in a bowl.

How To Use Frozen Oranges

There are many ways to use frozen oranges, here are a few ideas!

  • Smoothies, naturally. We pack our smoothies full of oranges every day!
  • Baking, use your frozen orange segments or pieces in baked goods.
  • Ice cream or sherbet, well that one is just self explanatory!
  • Savory dishes, like orange chicken.

How To Thaw Frozen Oranges

  • NOW! -> Thaw oranges in the microwave: transfer frozen oranges to a microwave safe dish and thaw on the defrost setting, stirring often.
  • SOON! -> Thaw oranges in cold water: transfer frozen orange segments to a freezer bag and seal before submerging in cold water until softened.
  • LATER! -> Thaw oranges in the fridge: transfer frozen orange chunks to a lidded container and place it in the fridge for 10-12 hours or until completely softened.
Frozen orange segments vacuum sealed in a bag.

Don't Toss The Peels!

There is so much usable food leftover from this project that it would be a shame to just toss it!

Before preparing your oranges for the freezer, use a vegetable peeler and peel away the flavorful orange peel, leaving as much of the bitter, white pith as possible, and use your peels to make more food!

  • candied orange peels
  • orange vinegar
  • use orange peels instead of lemon to make homemade orangecello!
  • orange oil
  • orange flavored salt
  • etc.

Once you've exhausted all the awesome ways to use the orange peel, I recommend composting the pith. While it can technically be eaten, I am not a fan, so I toss it in the compost pile to return nutrients to the soil for my plants!

More How To Freeze Guides

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📖 Printable Recipe

Frozen oranges in a bowl.
Yield: 4

How To: Freeze Oranges

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freeze Time: 3 hours
Packaging Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Have you ever wondered how to freeze oranges? Maybe you have a tree that's producing too many oranges? Or maybe you bought a bulk bag of oranges. Here's how to freeze those oranges for later!

Ingredients

  • Fresh, ripe oranges

Instructions

Prepare oranges:

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or a flexible cutting board. Set aside.
  2. Wash all oranges in hot, soapy water and dry before continuing.
  3. Either peel by hand or slice off the peel and rind of the oranges.
  4. Break the oranges into segments, or coarsely chop.

Freeze Oranges:

  1. Layer the cut oranges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until oranges are frozen, about 2-3 hours.

Package Oranges:

  1. Transfer frozen oranges to freezer-friendly packaging or vacuum seal.
  2. Label all bags and return to freezer until ready to use.

Notes

BATCH:

This recipe is infinitely scaleable and is only limited by your orange stock and your freezer space!

Storage:

Frozen oranges can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for at least 6 months. I prefer to vacuum seal my oranges, as I find the quality is preserved for longer.

thaw frozen oranges

  • NOW! -> Thaw oranges in the microwave: transfer frozen oranges to a microwave safe dish and thaw on the defrost setting, stirring often.
  • SOON! -> Thaw oranges in cold water: transfer frozen orange segments to a freezer bag and seal before submerging in cold water until softened.
  • LATER! -> Thaw oranges in the fridge: transfer frozen orange chunks to a lidded container and place it in the fridge for 10-12 hours or until completely softened.


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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 7Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

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