Do oranges need to be refrigerated

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Do oranges need to be refrigerated?” We will also discuss what is the shelf life of oranges and how you need to store them.

Do oranges need to be refrigerated?

No, oranges do not need to be refrigerated. Although refrigerating can enlarge the shelf life of this fruit, it is not compulsory to store them there. When stored at room temperature, oranges can last for only10 days from the date of purchase. (1)

Raw whole oranges last for about 10-21 days when they are properly refrigerated from the date of purchase (1).

Once fruits are cut, sliced or chopped, they should be refrigerated in covered containers or frozen in plastic freezer containers. (4)

What are the factors that affect Orange shelf life?

The main factors that affect the shelf life of oranges are temperature and humidity;

  • Storage temperature: Is the most important environmental factor in the post-harvest life of fresh fruits because of its dramatic effect on the rates of biological reactions, including respiration (2). 
  • Humidity: The oranges must be kept in a relatively dry environment. An environment too dry will lead to water loss, and an environment with too high humidity may lead to condensation and the enhanced growth of pathogens (3). 

How to properly store oranges?

Whole oranges will keep for a few days to a week at room temperature, but the best way to store whole oranges though, is in the fridge. 

Room Temperature

You can store your oranges on the countertop in a fruit bowl or in your pantry, but you need to know that this will only preserve your fruit for about 10 days (1).This is the way to keep your oranges juiciest and most flavorful, but this option it’s only recommended if you’re planning to use them soon.

Always store them in a cool, dry, and dark place to prevent rapid spoilage! Also, prevent storing them in spaces where the temperature fluctuates, as this can affect the shelf life.


Raw whole oranges last for about 10-21 days when they are properly refrigerated from the date of purchase (1).

When peeled and cut the outside protective layer is removed, exposing the fresh cells, rich in water, sugars and organic acids. The leakage of nutrients will promote microbial growth and the damaged tissue also provides a portal of entry for establishing a microbial colony (2). 

Cut or sliced oranges can last for up to 5 days if they are stored in refrigeration (2).


You can freeze oranges whole or segmented. Freezing is generally suitable for preserving most fruits; however, the quality of the frozen product may vary depending on factors such as the type of fruit, its stage of maturity, and the packaging method. (5)

Generally, the flavor is well retained by freezing preservation. Texture may be softer than that of fresh fruit. (5) 

They can last for about 10-12 months when kept in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. (2)

To freeze oranges, you should first wash them in cold water and pat them dry using paper towels. Peel the oranges and try to remove as much pith as you can. Divide oranges into portions or what you can do is to separate all the slices of the oranges.

Put them in a freezer bag, remove the excess air from it and freeze it.

What signs indicate when oranges have rot?

There are a few signs that indicate that oranges have rot. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the oranges.


If you spot a mold or other type of microbial growth on your oranges then it means that your oranges have gone bad and the best thing you can do is to get rid of them.

If you notice fuzzy or discolored patches, it indicates spoilage. Be careful as toxins produced by molds (i.e., mycotoxins) could be very dangerous for your health. (6)

Moreover, you should check for any significant changes in color, if you spot some discoloration or brown specks on your orange, that is an indication that your orange is spoiled.

Also, the loss of moisture in a spoiled orange or in one that has begun to spoil will be noticeable for the dehydration and wrinkling of the skin.


An orange that feels soft and mushy, then it may be a sign that the orange is starting to spoil. It’s important to remember that the more an orange ripens, the softer it gets. 

If you start noticing changes in the texture and hardness of your orange, then it’s safe to assume that it won’t be long until the orange is bad.  


If you smell something foul, musty, or something that does not quite feel like the orange itself or if the tangy smell of the orange has weakened then it is the indication of a bad orange and you should get rid of it.

Spoiled oranges may emit a fermented, musty, or rotten odor. If your orange has mold in it, you should not smell it, since mold produces mycotoxins, and if you inhale orange mold, those mycotoxins enter your body and can make you ill. (7)

Other FAQs about Oranges that you may be interested in.

Should clementines be refrigerated?

How many oranges a day?

Where are oranges grown in the US?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “do oranges need to be refrigerated?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Food Keeper.
  2. Rocha, A.M.C.N., Brochado, C.M., Kirby, R., Morais, A.M.M.B. Shelf-Life of chilled cut orange determined by sensory quality. Food Control, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 317-322. 
  3. Owoyemi, A., Porat, R., Lichter, A., Doron-Faigenboim, A., Jovani, O., Koenigstein, N., Salzer, Y. Evaluation of the Storage Performance of ‘Valencia’ Oranges and Generation of Shelf-Life Prediction Models. Horticulturae 2022, 8(7), 570.
  4. United States Department of Agriculture. Ask USDA.
  5. Food and Drug Administration. Selecting and Serving Produce Safely
  6. Drusch, S., Ragab, W. Mycotoxins in fruits, fruit juices, and dried fruits. J Food Prot; 66(8):1514-27.
  7. Balali, G.I., Yar, D.D., Afua Dela, V.G., Adjei-Kusi, P. Microbial Contamination, an Increasing Threat to the Consumption of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Today’s World“, International Journal of Microbiology, vol. 2020, Article ID 3029295, 13 pages, 2020.

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