Oranges are one of my favorite fruits. They are as tasty as they are refreshing. You can eat them as a snack or when you go for an outdoor adventure. You could also make amazing orange juice with them.
I tend to buy lots of oranges just so that I have them on hand. If you are like me, you have probably asked yourself this question; how long do oranges last?
The answer is dependent on several factors including storage and how long they had stayed after being harvested.
However, it is safe to say that oranges last for three weeks when you store them at room temperature and for approximately 2 months when you store them inside the refrigerator.
Before we get into the many details about the shelf life of oranges, let’s talk about oranges a little bit.
First things first, oranges are not only flavorful and juicy but also packed with vitamins. Oranges are very rich in vitamin C. Therefore, they strengthen the body’s immune system and help in fighting off infections.
Scientific research has revealed that people who consume foods rich in vitamin C are less likely to get sick. Additionally, oranges play a great role in weight loss.
If you are trying to lose weight without getting a vitamin c deficiency in the body, you should definitely incorporate oranges into your diet.
Seeing how amazing oranges are, you would want them to last for the longest time possible. The first thing to do is to pick the best oranges when you are buying them. Here are a few tips and tricks for when you go orange shopping.
How to pick the best oranges
The most obvious thing you should look out for is the aroma of the orange. Oranges usually have a pleasant, fruity, and fresh aroma. The stronger the aroma, the riper, and fresher the fruit.
When choosing oranges, go for the ones that are smaller in size. Small oranges taste better compared to the bigger ones. Another thing you should consider is the weight of the orange. The one that feels heavy is juicier compared to the lighter ones.
When picking oranges, make sure you observe the skin. Fresh and ripe oranges have flaky, porous skin that can peel easily. If the orange skin is non-porous, chances are that the orange is not as ripe as it should be.
Contrary to public opinion, the color of the orange does not necessarily determine how ripe or unripe it is. Some oranges can have green skin yet they are ripe and juicy and others can have bright orange color yet they are not ripe or juicy.
One interesting fact that I have learned about oranges is that the ones harvested in November and December taste better compared to those harvested in the other months. You should definitely buy oranges between November and January if you want a taste of the juiciest and most flavorful oranges.
How to properly store oranges
After choosing the best oranges, the next thing you need to figure out is how to store them properly. You have two main choices.
You can either store them in the refrigerator or at room temperature depending on how long you want them to last.
Here are a few tips on how to store oranges properly.
- If you are storing them at room temperature, store them in a dark place.
Let’s say you bought a few oranges and you’ll eat them within seven days. There is really no need to store them inside the refrigerator.
Just store them in a dark place and they will remain fresh for one week. The pantry would work just fine in this case.
- Store them in a cellar if you want them to stay fresh for longer than one week
Yes, cellars are a pretty great option for storing oranges if you want them to last longer than 7 days. The humidity and temperature in the cellar will keep the oranges fresh for up to two weeks.
- Store them in the fridge if you plan on keeping them for more than one month
The refrigerator is the best place to store oranges if you plan on keeping them for a month or more. I will go into the details about storing oranges inside the refrigerator down below.
Storing oranges inside the refrigerator, how long they last?
As I mentioned above, the best way of extending the shelf life of oranges is by storing them inside the refrigerator.
The best way to do this is by placing the oranges inside the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. Doing this will regulate moisture and consequently increase the shelf life of the oranges.
When refrigerated, whole oranges can last for approximately two months. Make sure you check on them once in a while to ensure that they do not go bad.
Now, what about that orange you peeled but could not eat all of it? Peeled oranges should also be stored inside the refrigerator. They can only last for two days before they lose their flavor.
If you mistakenly leave the orange at room temperature, make sure you eat it within one day. It would still be safe to eat as long as you stored it away from direct sunlight. This rule applies to cut oranges as well.
Can you freeze oranges?
Yes, you can freeze oranges. If you plan on keeping oranges for longer than a month or two, you can freeze them. However, you should note that oranges should not be frozen whole.
This is because oranges have a high water content so if you freeze them whole you will end up with a mushy orange that is not palatable.
If you want to freeze your oranges, you should first peel them and remove the seeds. For them to last longer, I recommend coating the oranges with sugar syrup.
Once done, place the oranges in an airtight container and place it inside your freezer. The oranges will stay fresh for approximately one year.
Since oranges are acidic, canning is a great storing option. The oranges can be canned in a simple water bath and they will last for a very long time. Here is how to can oranges at home.
You will need;
- Sanitized jars
- Water/ fruit juice/ syrup
First, you need to wash the oranges thoroughly. Peel the skin and then separate the orange into sections. Once done, remove the orange seeds and the piths.
Place the oranges into sanitized jars leaving at least an inch of space at the top. Pour the water/ fruit juice/ syrup onto the oranges and seal the jars. After you do this, follow the necessary canning procedure.
Canned oranges can stay fresh for up to one year.
How can you tell that your oranges have gone bad?
Like every other fruit, oranges go bad. It is important to know the most common signs of spoilage so that you do not eat oranges that have gone bad. Here are some of the most common signs that your oranges have gone bad.
- Tender skin and white mold
Oranges that have gone bad usually have very soft skin compared to the firm skin of fresh oranges. White mold starts growing on the skin of the orange and eventually spreads out until the entire orange is covered.
If the orange skin is soft and you see mold, just discard the orange because it has gone bad.
- Rotten or fermented smell
Fresh oranges usually have a pleasant, fruity, and zesty smell. If you smell your orange and it smells rotten or fermented, it has gone bad and you should discard it. Your sense of smell is one of the best ways to confirm whether your orange is spoilt or not.
- Dark patches
Oranges should not be discolored or have any dark patches. If you look at the orange skin and notice dark patches, chances are that it has gone bad. You can also observe the skin, if it is soft in addition to having the dark patches, throw it out. It has definitely gone bad.
- Shriveled skin
This is very common with oranges that have been stored inside the refrigerator. When you leave them inside the refrigerator for too long they tend to dry out and consequently shrivel.
These oranges are usually very hard on the outside. Although they may not exactly have gone bad, they would probably not be edible. The best thing to do is throw them out.
Oranges are amazing fruits. You can eat them whole or use them to make tasty juices. Proper storage can help lengthen the shelf life of oranges.
When stored at room temperature, oranges can stay fresh for a week. If they stay for longer than that they start losing their flavor. In the refrigerator, they can last for one or two months.
If you want a long-term storage solution, you can try freezing or canning them. The oranges will be safe to consume for a very long time.
Whichever way you choose to store your orange, ensure you check for any signs of spoilage before eating them.