Do oranges go bad if left out?

Having a nice bowl of oranges left out on the side looks gorgeous in your home, and they make a room smell incredible with their delicate scent that is so familiar to all of you. But storing oranges on the side is not the best way to store this delectable fruit. Oranges need to be cool. Unlike other fruits, once an orange is picked, it will not continue to ripen.

Did you know that once an orange is picked, the clock is ticking as it is already degrading? This is why oranges stored incorrectly dehydrate within a week. 

This article exposes the truth about oranges and gives you information on how to get the very best from oranges. We will answer frequently asked questions giving you an insight into the sweet fruit.

Let’s get into it.

Do oranges expire?

Yes. This assumes that the oranges have been in the grocery store for a week and stored incorrectly before you purchased the oranges. Stored incorrectly, oranges have a short shelf life and can expire within a week.

If you have a bag of oranges and wish them to stay on the side in a fruit bowl, you can do it if you are going to eat the oranges within a week or maybe make fresh orange juice.

Otherwise, you may notice your oranges becoming dehydrated and shriveling slightly, and the orange will still taste ok at this point. Still, as oranges degrade, they lose some, if not all, of the vitamin C contained within the fruit.

Do oranges need to be refrigerated?

Yes, refrigerating oranges will extend their shelf life dramatically. Store the oranges in the fridge with the open net bag they are supplied with. The net bag allows the oranges to breathe, preventing them from premature molding in the fridge.

Once in the refrigerator, oranges (depending on how fresh they are) can last for a month, which is a significant extension of shelf life when oranges are stirred in a fruit bowl.

Should you cover the oranges in the fridge? It is a bad idea to cover oranges in the fridge. It will retain moisture and encourage mold growth on the outer skin of the orange.

Once the orange develops mold, you should discard it. Ensure the oranges are completely dry before placing them back in the fridge. To prevent the other oranges from turning moldy, rinse them in tepid water and wash them with a light detergent to prevent mold from growing.

How long can oranges sit out?

Approximately a week. It will depend on how long the fruit has been sitting in the grocery store, grocery store oranges tend not to be refrigerated, and they just get a quick wipe-over if they look worse for wear if sold individually.

Know how to select oranges and pick the freshest oranges. This will impact the shelf life of the orange stored on the side or in the fridge.

If you have an orange that is heavy with smooth skin and firm to the touch, it is likely very fresh and will have the most extended shelf life.

A fresh orange will sit on the side (depending on the room’s ambient temperature) for around ten days. Keep checking the condition of your oranges; it will pay to wipe them every day with a damp cloth to keep them looking shiny and to wipe off bacteria build-up.

Typically within a week, the oranges are not looking advertising and may have signs of dehydration and possible mold.

Oranges get a white mold and feel squidgy to the touch. If your oranges are like this, consider them as garbage and toss them immediately.

Do oranges with unopened peel go bad?

Yes, once the orange is picked, the clocking is ticking as it slightly degrades every day. If the peel of the orange is damaged and the fruit has been exposed, the orange may have been exposed to an excess of bacteria and should be thrown in the garbage.

The skin of an orange is tough and can withstand slices and blows from the packaging, so if you have started to peel an orange and changed your mind, store it in the fridge in an airtight container, it will be acceptable to eat later in the day.

How long do oranges last in the fridge?

If your oranges are fresh and firm, then you can expect your oranges to last for four weeks in the fridge. It’s a big difference from storing oranges out on the side, and you will extend the shelf life by three weeks which is a huge difference.

It is recommended that you wipe over the oranges if you have selected them individually. This will help to remove some of the bacteria load on the orange skin.

Refrigerated oranges taste much better than oranges kept on the side, so it’s a double bonus for the consumer.

Do frozen oranges go bad?

It’s a yes and no scenario. You can freeze whole oranges with no problem. In theory, Any food at 0℉ has an indefinite shelf life. Oranges are said to be best within six months to one year of freezing.

However, the story does not stop there because if you expect to defrost an orange a day after it has been frozen solid and expect the fruit to be as good as new, your expectations will be challenged.

The formation of ice crystals in the water contained within the fruit will slice and crush the cell structure of the orange segments.

Leaving you with an orange that is undoubtedly juicy but very mushy and almost impossible to eat.

Does orange juice go bad if left out all night?

The orange juice may appear ok and smell fine, but according to the FDA, orange juice sitting on the side for just two hours should be considered contaminated with excessive bacteria. The orange juice should be discarded.

If the room temperature is 90℉ or above, the time reduces to one hour before the orange juice is considered spoiled with excessive bacteria.

Can you freeze orange juice?

Yes, you can freeze orange juice if it’s store-bought or homemade. You will need a suitable storage container that will fit in the freezer, and you could store the orange juice in an airtight container.

To thaw the orange juice, you can leave it in the fridge overnight. Or, you could make a delightful orange slushy by mixing the thawed orange juice when you are able to get a fork or spoon in the container.

Should oranges be refrigerated?

Yes.  If you have kids in the house and you know the oranges will be eaten within a day or two, then there is an argument just to leave the oranges on the side and let the kids help themselves. It’s a healthy snack, so why not.

But if that is not the case, then store your oranges in the fridge. Storing oranges in the fridge will extend the shelf life to one month from one week when stored on the side.

If the oranges are in a net, then place the net in the fridge and help yourself to a delicious cold orange when you want.

How long does orange juice last in the fridge?

There are three scenarios, store-bought unopened, store-bought opened, or homemade.

Store-bought unopened cartons of orange juice typically have a shelf life of two weeks. After two weeks, the product will spoil and should be discarded.

Store-bought orange juice that has been opened and stored in the fridge typically has a shelf life of not more than seven days. If the juice looks and smells, it should be discarded after seven days despite being stored in the fridge. If you drink from the carton, the open carton could spoil faster.

Drinking from a carton will introduce bacteria into the orange juice much faster than expected. Your mouth is full of bacteria.

Homemade orange juice has the shortest shelf life of just two days, but it’s extra delicious with effort.

How do you know when juice goes bad?

Just because the store-bought orange juice has been pasteurized, you should not expect too much from the product in terms of shelf life.

If your orange juice smells funky, like a sour smell, it’s not fit for consumption and should be discarded. Orange juice becomes discolored when it goes bad and inevitably grows mold.

Typically the first sign is the smell. If it smells bad, it is bad.

Final thoughts

Most people think of oranges as being a robust fruit with their often tough exteriors. It would be easy to imagine the fruit is not so delicate.

But the truth is oranges are delicate and have to be treated as such if you wish to get the very best from your oranges.

Refrigerating oranges is going to give the best shelf life. Assuming the oranges are fresh, they will last a month in the fridge, possibly a little longer.

Storing oranges on the side is not the best idea, as they have a shelf life of just one week.

Freezing whole oranges is not the best option. The fruit will become mushy and inedible, but it could be an excellent juicing option.

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