Can You Freeze Oranges?

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Today, we’re going to answer the question, “Can You Freeze Oranges?”  

In order to fully answer this question, we must first examine sweet and bitter oranges.

Sweet oranges are the ones we are most familiar with in our local grocery stores. 

On the other hand, bitter oranges are often used to make orange marmalade and other nonfood type products. 

In this article, we’ll be discussing which sweet orange varieties can be frozen, which can not, and how to freeze oranges.  

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Can You Freeze Oranges?

Yes, technically you can put oranges in the freezer. But some varieties like Navel oranges should never be frozen.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember that the quality of previously frozen oranges isn’t quite the same as fresh. However, there are many great uses for oranges that have been previously frozen.  

First, let’s become familiar with the best varieties to freeze, and which ones should never be frozen.  

What Varieties Of Sweet Oranges Should Never Be Frozen?

 Navel Oranges

Navel oranges contain a large amount of the compound referred to as limonin (limonene). This compound causes the oranges to be bitter tasting. In view of this, you should skip freezing Navel oranges and eat them fresh.

You could try freezing any other variety of orange. Some of the most popular juicing oranges are:

  • Valencia
  • Blood Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Clementines (a variety of Mandarin oranges)
  • Tangelos

If you’re fortunate enough to come across other less popular varieties found at local farmers’ markets, try freezing one orange. Then thaw it and see if you like it before potentially wasting a whole batch.

How To Freeze Oranges

Method One

Although this method is the most time-consuming, it gives you the most flexibility when thawing your orange segments.

Equipment Needed:

Step by Step Instructions:

Step One: Peel the oranges, removing as much of the white pith as possible. Do not rush through this step.

Step Two: Divide the orange into segments.

Step Three: Place your orange segments onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

Step Four: Then freeze until the segments are solid (usually an hour or so).

Step Five:  Before placing the orange segments in a bag, label the bag with a black sharpie and be sure to write either the date frozen or the “use by” date.

Step Six: Place frozen orange segments into a resealable, freezer-safe plastic bag.

Step Seven: Remove as much air as possible, seal the bag completely, and place the oranges in your freezer.

Step Eight (optional): Keep in mind that if you plan on keeping your oranges in the freezer for a longer period of time, you should place the zipper bag inside of another freezer-safe plastic bag or an airtight container. If you are using a second bag, don’t forget to remove as much air as possible from it as well.

Method Two

Even though this method is easier and less time-consuming than Method One, you must remember you will lose the flexibility of use once thawed.

Equipment Needed:

Step By Step Instructions

In the case of Method Two, it skips steps three and four from Method One.

As a result, your orange segments will be frozen in a large lump rather than as individual segments. 

If you use this method and skip the flash freezing, you may or may not be able to “break off” a few segments if needed. 

Step One: Peel your oranges as in Method One. Be sure to remove as much of the white pith as possible.

Step Two: Freeze your orange whole or halve or even quarter it. Above all, please remember, you may have to thaw the entire bag at once and use it immediately, so freeze accordingly.

Step Three: Use a black sharpie to label your bag. Don’t forget to write down the date you are freezing the oranges or the “use by” if you prefer.

Step Four: Place your orange segments into a resealable, freezer-safe plastic bag.

Step Five: Remove as much air as possible, seal the bag completely and place it in your freezer. and seal the bag completely.

Step Six (optional): Keep in mind, you may want to place the zipper bag inside of another freezer-safe plastic bag or an airtight container. If using a second plastic bag, remove as much air as possible from this one as well.

Can You Freeze Whole Oranges?

Yes, you can successfully freeze whole oranges. In this case, please follow Method Two discussed previously.

How Long Can You Keep Oranges In The Freezer?

As long as oranges are constantly frozen at 0° F they will remain safe to eat indefinitely. But, for best quality, use within 3 to 6 months.

Keep in mind, the length of time your frozen oranges will retain their quality depends on the quality of the fruit when frozen and how the fruit was packaged for freezing.

If you choose to double-layer your oranges as outlined above, it will help keep air and unpleasant odors out and help your fruit retain optimal quality.

How To Thaw Oranges

While technically, you can thaw your oranges on the counter, I don’t recommend this. 

This is because when foods are frozen, bacteria become inactive and do not grow.  But once the food is thawed, bacteria begins to grow again. 

With this in mind, if you must thaw your oranges on the counter, do so for NO MORE than two hours maximum, at which time the fruit must be refrigerated. 

Instead of thawing oranges on the counter, I recommend thawing your oranges overnight in the fridge. It is the safest and least hands-on method of thawing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Orange Zest?

Yes, you can freeze orange zest. It will retain its best quality properly frozen and used within six months.

What Other Citrus Can You Freeze?

In addition to oranges, you can successfully freeze the following popular citrus fruits using the same methods as oranges:

  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes

What To Do With Frozen Oranges?

My favorite way to use thawed oranges is in smoothies and juices.

I also like to use sliced-up orange segments in yogurt and salads. 

And sometimes, I use thawed oranges to make salad dressing or a quick pan sauce. Yum!

Can You Freeze Orange Slices For Drinks?

Yes, you can freeze orange slices for garnishes. To do this, just slice the orange without peeling and freeze as outlined previously.

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Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen

Buying what you love and using what you buy is how we roll around here. 

We try to use every part of every item we purchase, including oranges.

Many people don’t like to take the time to freeze orange segments or whole oranges. If this is you, no problem.

Instead of freezing the oranges, try juicing them first and freeze the juice. Here’s the link to my article on freezing orange juice here.

Until next time…


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