We can all agree that oranges are a beautiful fruit. Aside from their bright color, oranges have a perfect shape and nice texture. That’s why they are often used as decor pieces. But if you are using them to keep your kitchen looking good, you’re doing it wrong.
Contrary to what we see in pictures, oranges can’t be stored on the counter for too long. That’s because oranges are non-climacteric fruits, which means that they have done most of their ripening in the plant, and once they are picked, they are slowly dying. It’s best to keep them in the refrigerator.
Unlike apples and bananas that you can buy when they are still hard, oranges will not ripen. Instead, they will rot if not stored properly. Your storage method determines how long they last. But don’t worry! We got you covered. Here are some tips on how to keep your oranges fresh longer.
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Buying Oranges Is Not That Simple
You should never pick oranges at the store without checking each one since they are non-climacteric fruits and have already ripened in the plant.
Overripe oranges will quickly rot because many of the chemicals that cause the fruit to break down have already been released. However, if your oranges are underripe, they will not be sweet, nutritious, or juicy.
Look for oranges that have bright colors. Fruits with green skin are underripe, while fruits with dull colors are going bad. Also, purchase oranges from local producers, or markets you trust, will have fresher fruit. Most grocery stores will sell fruits that have been in transport for more than one week already.
The best way to select the right orange is by feeling them. The orange skin should be firm and heavy for its size. The fruit may have minor scratches on the surface, as this happens when tree branches rub against it. Stay away from oranges that feel mushy, spongey, or soft.
The Type of Orange Matters
Oranges with a little bit of green can be just as ripe as a bright orange. But depending on the type of orange, they will show different signs of ripeness.
- If you’re buying oranges in Thailand, don’t be surprised if they are green. That’s one type of orange with green skin, and they are just as succulent as the orange ones.
- Navel oranges receive this name from their belly button located opposite the stem. Generally, oranges with a more prominent navel will be sweeter.
- During warm weather, Valencia oranges turn orange when ripe. Still, they may turn green again as they reabsorb chlorophyll when they hang on the branch, even though they are ripe.
When to Buy Your Oranges?
The best time to buy oranges is in December. Because oranges are in such high demand and so widely distributed, most of us can get oranges year-round. Although they are widely known to be common fruits, oranges require cool temperatures to reach their peak in sweetness.
How to Properly Store Oranges
Oranges like to be in cool and dry places. The best way to store them is in the refrigerator, in a crisper drawer. You can put them in a bag, as long as it is not sealed. You can use a mesh bag that will keep the air circulating around your oranges.
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You can also store them sliced. Wash your oranges in cool water, package the sliced oranges in a sealed bag or airtight container, and put them in the fridge.
- Glass food storage containers for lunches, leftovers, pantry items, and more
- Made of borosilicate glass with BPA-free plastic lids
- Leakproof thanks to locking lid with silicone ring
How Long Can Oranges Be Safely Stored?
Oranges will stay good for two to three weeks if they are stored on your counter. If you plan on using them right away, that shouldn’t be a problem. In the fridge, whole oranges will be preserved for up to two months, and sliced oranges can last up to four days.
Oranges should be stored at a minimum temperature of 38° F (3° C) and no more than 48° F (9° C). Always keep an eye on your oranges and eat the ones that are getting softer first. If you choose to keep them on the counter, avoid direct sunlight and keep the room cool, if possible.
How to Tell if Your Oranges Have Gone Bad
You already know what a healthy orange looks and feels like, so it’s not rocket science to determine if they have gone rotten or spoiled.
Decaying oranges are broken down by enzymes by fungus or insects. You’ll notice that rotten oranges are super soft and present some discoloration. They also have mold that is usually white at first. Also, if you eat an orange that is going bad, it will have a sour smell and taste.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations says that fruits and vegetables are the most wasted food. With proper storage, you can avoid this harmful waste.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you understand the importance of proper storage, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Separate oranges from other fruits and vegetables: Ripening and decaying fruits produce ethylene. Oranges are sensitive to this gas and will go bad faster when in contact with it.
- Do not overfill containers: If your oranges are jammed together, the air won’t circulate, and it can cause physical damage to your fruits.
- Don’t assume they are still ripening: Just like we discussed here before, oranges will not ripen after they’ve been picked.
- Don’t let your oranges touch raw meats, blood, or juice.
Alternative Ways to Store Your Oranges
If you have one or two oranges that no one seems to want, you can use them to make orange juice popsicles for kids — and of course, adults.
You can also slice them and put them in the freezer to use in water. Pickle or can them if you’re into old-school cooking.
Enjoy Oranges for Longer!
Follow these tips, and you’ll never buy and eat an orange that is sweet, juicy, and just perfect!