Clementines are a citrus fruit from the mandarin orange family. Of the two citruses present in the Mandarin Orange family, the clementine is sweeter and easier to peel than its counterpart; the tangerine.
Clementines are very versatile which can be used in smoothies or to make jams. They can also be used in cakes. There are various recipes for this citrus and our love for this citrus can make us stock up on it. So, how do we preserve it?
Can you freeze clementines? Yes, you can. Contrary to some opinion that you cannot freeze citrus, you can freeze clementines. Frozen clementines can last up to a year, but you shouldn’t freeze clementines for direct eating as the fruit would become mushy upon thawing.
Clementines can be divided into 7 – 14 segments, it contains nutrients like Vitamin C and antioxidants. This small fruit can help synthesize collagen, helping to improve skin health. The list of health benefits is a lengthy one. This just adds more weight to the fact that clementines are not a fruit to be thrown away so easily. Hence, the need to preserve is paramount.
How to Freeze Clementines
Freezing clementines are an easy task. When freezing clementines, do not freeze the fruit as a whole. Freezing fruits like clementines, that have a very high water content, would result in some serious texture damage for the fruit.
So in a few easy steps, let’s see how to freeze clementines while reducing the risk of texture damage as much as we can.
Step 1: Peeling and Sectioning
It is not as hard as it sounds. Remove the peel from all of the clementines you wish to freeze and separate them into their natural segments or sections. You do not even need to use a knife for this process. Just your hands would do if the fruit is ripe enough. Be careful not to squeeze the fruit too hard as this could make the sections burst and ruin your freezing process.
Step 2: Pre-freezing
Fruits with high water content or a lot of moisture tend to clump together upon freezing. This might not be a big deal for some, but it could make usage upon thawing a lot messy. So how do you go about pre-freezing?
Get a baking or cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper. The Parchment paper is to prevent the clementine segments from sticking to the baking or cookie sheet. Now, lay each segment individually on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Exercise the liberty of putting enough space between each segment. Place the baking sheet into the freezer and let it freeze for about 30 minutes. Before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Storage and Freezing
After the segments have been frozen solid, it is time for storage. For this step, all you need is a Ziploc bag or airtight freezer bags or containers, and a sharpie with labels. Place the frozen segments into whichever choice of a storage container. I would advise that you use heavy-duty airtight freezer bags as your clementines could be in the freezer for about 10 – 12 months.
Ensure to expel as much air as you can from the bags or container before sealing. This will help you to prevent mold in the stored clementines. Using the sharpie, write the date of storage on the labels. Stick them to the bags so that you can easily keep track of how long it has been stored.
How to Thaw Frozen Clementines
Frozen Clementines are a delicacy in its own right. It could be used in its frozen state to add flavor to smoothies. But if you want to use your frozen clementines to make jam, then you need to thaw. To thaw frozen clementines, take them from the freezer and put them in the refrigerator to thaw at a moderate temperature.
Take note of the texture damage we mentioned before. Your clementines would be mushy as fruits with high water content are supposed to.
What Can I Do With Frozen Clementines?
The uses of a frozen clementine vary and the list is not short either. A frozen clementine can serve as a condiment to varying types of smoothies. Do not forget that clementines pack a punch of flavor regardless of their small size.
Apart from smoothies, it can be used in baked goods like cakes and cupcakes. Frozen clementines can also be used in fruit salad – I would advise that you eat the salad before the clementine fully thaws.
How to Recognize Spoiled Clementine
Periodically go through that basket of clementines to check for spoilt fruits. Overripe clementines releases a gas that speeds up the ripening process in the other fruits that surrounds it. So if you fail to catch an overripe fruit on time, it could ruin the whole basket of fruits.
So, how do you recognize overripe or spoiled clementines?
The first thing you check for is how soft the fruit is. If the fruit is beginning to get soft then, you should use it that day. If you notice that the fruit has become too soft or you see signs of decay or mold. Then you should throw away such fruit. Exercise caution, when you’re about to eat fruit that has gone soft.