Do Oranges Need to be Refrigerated?

by Charlie

Whether you like to start the day with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or you like taking a piece of tangy citrus fruit with you to lunch, knowing how to properly store your oranges will ensure that you maximize the shelf life of your fruit. Not only to save money but also to reduce waste and be more mindful of your nutrition.

Not only are oranges delicious and refreshing, but they are also packed with vitamins and other nutrients that help fuel your body and boost your immune system. The vitamin C-rich fruit is fantastic for counteracting seasonal vitamin deficiency and the low-calorie fruit is may also help lose weight. The best part is that they always seem to be on sale.

Do oranges need to be refrigerated? No, oranges do not need to be refrigerated. Oranges can be stored on the counter or pantry if consumed within a few days. However, a refrigerator can preserve oranges for up to 4-6 weeks when stored properly.

When your local grocer has a great deal on oranges, it would be a smart choice to stock up on them. But how should they be stored? Do oranges need to be refrigerated? Let’s take a closer look at the best storage method for ensuring your oranges don’t go bad before you’re ready to enjoy them.

How to Properly Store Oranges in the Fridge

Before picking a spot in the fridge for your oranges, think about how long you are going to have them around. If you only bought a few and expect to eat them within a few days, you can certainly keep them on the counter. However, if you decided to buy oranges in bulk at the market, you’ll need to think about long-term storage options.

The key to keeping your oranges fresh is to store them in a cool, dark environment. You can store them in a cool cellar for up to 2 weeks. Beyond that, a fridge is needed. But once you involve a refrigerator, your oranges can last upwards of 4-6 weeks with proper care.

Buy Oranges with Storage in Mind

It can be hard to pass up a good deal, but even the best sale at the grocery store isn’t a good reason to over-purchase something that will eventually go bad. You must think about your current storage options before loading your cart. Nobody likes to get home with a bunch of delicious fruit, only to realize they have no plan for how to keep it fresh.

If you foresee your family consuming the fruit within a few days, up to a week, then a bowl on the counter or table would be enough storage space. Storing your oranges in the refrigerator is a smart plan if you want to keep your oranges at peak freshness for the longest amount of time. This can also help during times of the year when oranges may not be as cheap or as plentiful.

Depending on what you’ll be using your oranges for, you can even store them in the freezer. Whether they are whole and unpeeled, sliced, or juiced, oranges freeze extremely well and will stay fresh for up to a year, but will be safe to eat for much longer. For best results, remove as much air as possible before freezing.

Oranges Don’t Necessarily Need The Fridge

Oranges are like any other fresh fruit, they will eventually go bad and spoil. Oranges have a bit more longevity than some other fruits, however, and can last up to 3 weeks from the day they are picked from the tree. 

With the supply chain behind produce transportation, any oranges you encounter at a supermarket will often be at least a week old. This means you can still reasonably expect to get one to two weeks of simple countertop storage once you get them home. 

While they don’t need the fridge, they absolutely can reap benefits from being in cold storage. If you can obtain oranges before they ripen, in the fridge they will be able to stay fresh for upwards of four weeks before you should bring them out and start using them up. 

Another benefit of cold storage for oranges is that it helps to preserve the massive amounts of vitamin C that are present. Once oranges reach a state of ripeness, the vitamin C begins to degrade, and this helps to delay that vitamin loss. If using your oranges for the multitude of nutritional benefits, this can be something to keep in mind when consuming oranges you are ripening from storage.

Keep the Moisture Just Right

While keeping your oranges in cold storage, it is crucial that the humidity be kept within an optimal range. For oranges, relative humidity of 85% to 95% is perfect. When you remove them from cold storage, make sure to keep the surfaces dry and free of condensation, which can result in sudden spoilage. Once the oranges are out of storage and at room temperature, the humidity level is no longer of much concern, and that of the ambient air will be just fine to help finish the ripening process.

Handle With Care

Just like nearly any fruit or vegetable, oranges are susceptible to damage from rough handling, and this can lead to premature ripening and spoilage, and even spoilage before ripening has finished. Bruising a piece of fruit damages the cells and makes it more inviting for microbes and spores on the surface of the fruit. 

Just as your skin keeps things out of your body, the peel of an orange does the same for the fruit. By damaging that protective layer, the orange now has internal damage to the fruit, and a possible route for infection through the outside as well. If you plan to freeze your oranges for long term storage, bruising and interior damage can lead to “off-flavors”.

While you can exercise as much care as possible when shopping, checking out and traveling home, there will always be the potential for some of them to become damaged in the process. On the surface, this may seem like a problem, but it can also present the perfect opportunity for you to check your oranges before storing them. 

Any that are unripe can be put in cold storage to prevent ripening, any that are in the process of ripening can be stored at room temperature, and any that are damaged can be consumed first. This will help you maximize the use of your oranges by preventing spoilage and storing the oranges best suited for storage while consuming the others that may ripen or spoil first.

How to Store Peeled Oranges

One of the reasons many people shy away from purchasing fresh ingredients is that there is often prep work required before you can enjoy them. Oranges, like many other fresh fruits, have a rind on the outside that is bitter and that you just don’t want to eat. Saving time by peeling your orange ahead of time is a really smart plan, but how do you store the oranges once they are out of their natural wrapper?

Meal prepping is a great way to save yourself a ton of time throughout the week. You can peel and portion your oranges ahead of time so you, your spouse, or your kid can grab them and go for a quick snack that is both healthy and delicious.

In order to keep your pre-peeled oranges as fresh as possible, keep them wrapped tightly in the refrigerator. You can either wrap them, using plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or you can store them in a tightly covered container. When properly stored, your cut oranges will stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days.

You may also like