Today, our focus is on delicious, juicy, neither-too-sour-nor-too-sweet citrusy fruit, oranges.
There are some questions many people are unsure of: Can oranges go bad? How long do oranges last?
Whether you have bought too many oranges, or you want to know how to pick good ones from the grocery store, this guide will be useful to you.
Generally, oranges do have a long shelf life compared to some other fruits, when they are properly stored.
But there are a couple of issues to address in order for us to answer this question accurately.
How To Tell If An Orange Is Bad?
Before we tell you how long oranges last, there are some other things that you should be aware of.
If you’re able to spot when an orange has gone bad, you won’t need to calculate how much time they have left; you’ll be able to judge it by yourself.
So let’s first cover that.
These Are The Best Tips On How To Detect When Oranges Are Rotten:
- Too soft texture: Bad oranges are very soft. It feels almost as if you can completely puncture them with your fingers.
- Discoloration: Their peel tends to go a bit discolored. It can be described as a pale orange color.
- Moist: If you didn’t notice that the orange is too soft before you peeled it, it’s likely that you would once you peel it off – it will be too squishy & soggy.
- Mold growth: In case you spot mold, you can be sure that an orange has gone bad. It will usually be white at first, and darker and green later. Any other changes on the surface of the peel are a sign that oranges are rotten – dark spots, dents, etc.
- Your senses: If everything else fails, your sense of taste and smell won’t. Spoiled oranges will have an overly sour smell and taste, and you will be able to tell that something’s off.
How Long Do Oranges Last: The Definitive Answer
For those of you who are in a hurry, check out the table. It is not the comprehensive answer, but should give you an overall idea:
|Time Until They Go Bad||Time Until They Go Bad in the Refrigerator|
|Fresh oranges||10 days||14-20|
|Cut/peeled oranges||1 day||2 days|
The expiration date of oranges will depend on many factors, the paramount being the thermal conditions.
So, as you can see, fresh oranges, if you store them at room temperature, should last for 10 days without any problems. Most likely, they will be tastier within the first 7 days, but they will be okay even after that.
It’s better if you store them in cardboard boxes than fruit bowls, but it’s not a big deal. However, keep in mind that they should not get in touch with polyethylene that would create humid conditions, and the oranges would rot more quickly.
You can extend oranges’ expiration date if you store them in your refrigerator, as they will last as long as fifteen days under cool and dry conditions. Just make sure not to freeze them. If you don’t have the place to put them in the fridge, you can go with a dark and cool cellar!
Also, coldness and darkness will significantly slow the process of losing Vitamin C, and this is one of the crucial health benefits of oranges, so it’s good to prevent its loss! Your immune system will thank you.
In addition, avoid keeping them close to any heat source (such as the stove) because this can make them go bad more quickly.
If you want to prolong the sustainability of the oranges, there’s another way to store them.
Make sure they are completely dry and wrap them in parchment paper. After that, place them in an enamel pan or a similar piece of cookware that will allow them not to touch, and put it in the fridge. They will most likely last for almost 20 days!
Another effective way is cutting the oranges into thin slices that you should place in a jar, but in layers. After each layer, you should add sugar that will prevent them from rotting quickly. Again, this will result in around 20 days of shelf life, but Vitamin C will almost entirely disappear, so we’re not in favor of this method!
If you used oranges in a dish – say, a cake – they will most likely expire faster compared to the other ingredients, same as the “cut oranges” labeled in our table.
People also wonder whether fresh oranges can be frozen. Technically, they can, and if so, they will last for a couple of months, but their nutritional benefits wouldn’t be the same. The taste would be okay, though – especially if you are going to use them for juice.
Lastly, sometimes, when you buy a large box of oranges that is labeled with the expiration date, it’s always the best idea to eat them before the date, even though they will go bad a bit later, probably.
How To Select Oranges?
You’re at the grocery store, and seemingly, oranges all look the same.
But with a few tips, you’ll be able to pick the right ones that are going to last longer than those that have already been sitting there for too long!
Have this in mind:
- As we mentioned, bad oranges are discolored, so go for those that are bright orange. Unfortunately, nowadays, with a lot of GMO food, you cannot be sure that an orange is ripe even if it fulfills this criterion, as it can stem from some artificial conditions, but just watch that there are no mold marks or dark spots on the surface.
- A strong aroma indicates that orange is fresh and ripe.
- Size is another indicator of the condition of an orange. We advise you to go for smaller ones, as they tend to taste better. Also, heavier oranges are most likely well ripe and juicier.
- Good oranges always have that typical porous texture, as opposed to the ones that are too flat and harder to peel.
- If you’re not certain whether oranges are good, squeeze them a bit. They shouldn’t be soft and spongy, which would be a sign that they aren’t fresh.
- An interesting fact is that oranges that are picked and harvested in October, November, and December tend to be the sweetest and last longer. So, if there is a harvest date, check it out!
What Can I Do With Rotten Oranges?
If your oranges are too rotten to eat them, but still have a nice smell, you can use them as kindling. Not only are they efficient as they burn for a long time, but they will smell much better than other commonly used things.
The next use is a bit peculiar, but you may need it some time (preferably not). Namely, ants seem to hate the smell of an orange. If you blend a couple of orange peels and mix it with warm water, you can spray that where those pests appear, and you will get rid of them! Also, mosquitos seem to be repulsed by the smell of an orange.
Orange zest keeps all the benefits and lasts much longer than the actual orange, so you can use it for many recipes.
Just make sure to remove the flesh, and then you can use the zest for different things, such as jams, cakes, etc. If you aren’t ready to use it all at once, you can peel the oranges, grind them to create zest, and keep it in a jar in the fridge. Check out our article on does jam go bad.
It’s also a good idea to add the orange peel in your tea, as it will infuse a subtle, citrusy note to it.
If you completely dry out the orange peel, you can grind it so that it has the texture of the powder, and the substance can be added to various cosmetic products. For instance, it makes for a wonderful body scrub if you add it to your bath.
Vitamin C is good for your skin because it is an antioxidant, so this will not only result in a nice scent but also in health benefits – it will aid the natural regeneration process of your skin cells.
In any case, use out all soft oranges as soon as they have gone bad because they can spoil others that they are stored with!
We hope that we’ve provided you with all the vital information on How long do oranges last.
Remember: Oranges are healthy and one of the primary sources of Vitamin C, but only when they are top-quality!
Besides, food safety eliminates any risk of foodborne illnesses and is a key to living a healthy life.
So, follow our advice when picking the fruit at the supermarket and storing it, and you’ll enjoy all its benefits.