How long can oranges last in the fridge?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can oranges last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of oranges. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot bad oranges and tips to properly store oranges.
How long can oranges last in the fridge?
Raw whole oranges last for about 10-21 days when they are properly refrigerated from the date of purchase (1).
Upon peeling and cutting, the outer protective layer is stripped away, revealing the inner fresh cells that are abundant in water sugars, and organic acids.
The release of nutrients through this process encourages the growth of microorganisms, while the damaged tissue serves as an entry point for establishing a microbial colony. (3).
Cut/sliced oranges last for about 5 days when they are properly stored in the fridge at 40°F (3).
Once fruits are cut, sliced or chopped, they should be refrigerated in covered containers or frozen in plastic freezer containers. (2)
What are the factors that affect the shelf life of Oranges?
The main factors that affect the shelf life of oranges are temperature and humidity;
- Storage temperature: Is the most crucial environmental factor influencing the post- harvest lifespan of fresh fruits, primarily due to its significant impact on the rates of biological reactions, including respiration (3).
- 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 (4).
How to properly store oranges?
According to the Food and Drug Administration, oranges, as other perishable fresh fruits and vegetables, should be stored in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below. (9)
Fresh raw whole oranges can be stored in a cool, dry and dark corner of the pantry but if you want to prolong their shelf life, then it is recommended to store them properly in the fridge.
To ensure food safety, it is essential to maintain a clear separation of raw meat, poultry, and seafood, as well as the kitchen utensil used for handling these products, from fruits and vegetables that are intended to be consumed raw (9).
If you have peeled, cut or sliced oranges, you have to refrigerate them. The best is to place them in a freezer bag or airtight container. If using a resealable plastic bag, squeeze out the air before sealing it.
To ensure the safety of produce, you can contribute by making informed purchasing choices:
- Opt for produce that shows no signs of bruising or damage.
- When purchasing pre-cut, bagged, or packaged produce, select only items that are refrigerated or kept surrounded by ice.
- Remember to pack fresh fruits separately from raw meat, poultry and seafood when bringing them home from the market (9).
Can you freeze Oranges?
Yes, you can freeze oranges whole or segmented. While most fruits can be frozen successfully, it’s important to note that the quality of the frozen product may vary depending on factors such as the type of fruit, its stage of maturity, and the chosen packaging method (5).
Generally, flavor is well retained by freezing preservation. Texture may be kind of softer than that of fresh fruit. (10)
They can last for about 10-12 months when kept in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. (3)
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.
Frozen oranges can be defrosted by setting the bag on a plate and thawing in the refrigerator overnight, by running warm water over the bag, or by microwaving the oranges. They can also be cooked or blended into drinks directly from frozen.
What are the signs of spoiled Oranges?
There are a couple of indicators that point out bad oranges. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the oranges. Appearance
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. (7)
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.
In addition, a spoiled orange might have a dehydrated and wrinkled outer skin, indicating that it has lost its moisture.
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’s mold, those mycotoxins enter in your body and they can make you ill. (6)
Can you get sick from eating spoiled Oranges?
Yes, if you eat spoiled oranges you can get sick due to the presence of harmful microorganisms such as Salmonella, certain strains of Escherichia coli (e.g., E. coli O157:H7), Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter, Shigella and molds (6,7,8).
Some pathogenic fungal species found in spoiled oranges are: Rhizopus, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria and Mucor. (8)
Consuming spoiled fruit contaminated with bacteria or mold will usually cause illness within 1 to 3 days of eating it. However, sickness can also occur within 20 minutes or up to 6 weeks later (9).
Food borne illness can sometimes be confused with other illnesses that have similar symptoms (9). The symptoms of food borne illness can include:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal pain
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can oranges last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of oranges. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot bad oranges and tips to properly store oranges.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Food Keeper.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Ask USDA.
- 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.
- 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.
- Garden-Robinson, J. Freezing Fruits. North Dakota State University.
- Drusch, S., Ragab, W. Mycotoxins in fruits, fruit juices, and dried fruits. J Food Prot; 66(8):1514-27.
- 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.
- Oviasogie, F.E., Ogofure, A.G., Beshiru, A., Ode, J.N., Omeje, F.I. Assessment of fungal pathogens associated with orange spoilage. Academic Journals, Vol. 9(29), pp. 1758-1763.
- Food and Drug Administration. Selecting and Serving Produce Safely.
- Andress, E.L., Harrison, J.A. Preserving Food: Freezing Fruit. University of Georgia. National Center for Home Food Preservation.