Love for Oranges
Juicy, sweet, and full of the goodness of Vitamin C, orange is one of the most popular fruits in the world. Just peel and eat it or drink its juice; it is tasty any which way. It can add a special tang to the recipes and make them more mouthwatering.
Oranges have a freshness about them, which most citrus fruits have. It belongs to the citrus species of the Rutaceae family. They are round with finely-textured skins that are orange in color. Some varieties have thick, and some have thin skins. They can range from 2 to 4 inches in diameter.
Oranges are available from winter through summer with seasonal variations, and some are sweet while some are sour. This citrus fruit has many beneficial properties, and it would be great if you could use them throughout the year.
If, like most people, you also want to know ‘how long do oranges last?’ then here is some information for you.
Types of Oranges
Though the origin of oranges is in Asia, now they are found everywhere. There are several varieties of oranges which include:
- Navel Orange: One of the most popular varieties of oranges. They are loved for high vitamin C content and low acidic content apart from having mouthwatering sweetness. There is small growth at the bottom of the fruit, which resembles a human navel. When you peel them, you will find a ‘mini orange’ at the bottom. They are also seedless and easy to peel.
- Blood Orange: Looks wise it is very different from other oranges with its bright red flesh. They are smaller than navel oranges but bigger than tangerines. They have a unique flavor that you may find similar to oranges mixed with raspberries. They are best used in salads, sauces, and marmalades. They are very juicy.
- Tangerine: These are smaller in size and sweeter than the average oranges. They have soft skin, which makes it easy to peel. They have deep orange-colored skin and flesh and have very high vitamin C content.
- Acid-less Orange: As their name implies, acid-less oranges have very low acid content. They are also called sweet oranges because of this, but they don’t have much flavor. It is the acid that protects oranges from spoiling, so the lack of acid is a drawback. They are not produced in large quantities and are generally eaten more than juiced.
- Mandarin: These are smaller than regular oranges. They have looser skin and are less acidic. They have a sweet taste, and it makes them popular as a snack. You can peel them easily, and there are hardly any seeds. They also are used extensively in desserts.
- Seville Oranges: They are also known as sour oranges because they have high acidity. These usually are not peeled and eaten as a snack but used for cooking. They are suitable for making salad dressings, marmalades, and sauces.
- Bergamot Orange: They look like lemons with their green/yellow color but are big. They have a very strong bitter and acidic taste and are generally not used for cooking or eating. They are mainly grown for their peels used in the perfume industry and in making some teas.
- Clementine: These are a hybrid between a mandarin and sweet oranges. Its peel has a dark orange color and a glossy appearance. They are relatively easy to peel and are usually sweet and juicy. Their low acidic content and small size make them very attractive as a snack.
- Trifoliata Orange: This variety is a native of China and Korea. They are different from the regular oranges as they have fuzz on them. Small in size, these oranges are used to make marmalades.
- Cara Cara Navel Orange: It is like a combination of blood orange and a navel orange. With deep red flesh, this fruit has low acidic content and is quite sweet. Its flavor is slightly different from regular oranges, and you get hints of cherries and blackberries.
How Long Do Oranges Last?
There is no doubt that oranges are delicious and have an uplifting aroma. Do you know how rich this fruit is in vitamins and trace elements?
Vitamin C, which is necessary for our immune system, is present in abundant quantities in oranges. Oranges can help in weight loss without resulting in any vitamin deficiency.
However, to enjoy all these benefits, you have to choose them correctly and then store them correctly. When and where you decide to store them, depends on, “how long you plan to store them?”.
The shelf life of oranges can be increased by changing the storage conditions. Let us see how best we can store them:
1. At Room Temperature
When you get fresh oranges, soon after harvesting, they can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 to 3 weeks. A lot will depend on the weather and temperature in your area.
If it is humid or very hot, it is better not to keep the oranges out for more than a week. However, if the weather is good, you can keep them in a basket that allows air to move freely.
Keep them dry and check them often. Oranges are at their best when you eat them fresh. Like all other vegetables and fruits, oranges have a fixed time and can start to decay after some time.
Moisture is the biggest culprit and can cause mold to form on its skin. You can try wrapping each one separately in wax paper to extend their life.
2. In The Fridge
If you keep fresh whole oranges in the fridge, they can easily last for 1 to months. However, if you cut them, it is best to consume them quickly and not keep them in the fridge for more than 2 or 3 days.
While keeping the oranges in the fridge, make sure that there are no bruises on the peel and the fruit is firm to touch. Please place them in a suitable plastic bag, which is large enough.
Don’t cramp the oranges. The cold inside the fridge stops the mold from forming, but you can notice the first signs after a month or so. Immediately, throw out the affected orange and clean the skin of the others. An airtight container is also good at keeping the moisture out.
3. Frozen Oranges
If you want to keep the oranges for more than a few months, you can try to freeze them. It is not highly recommended because the taste and texture change drastically.
However, if you have no other option, then try it out. Slice the oranges or cut wedges and put them in airtight containers and place them in the freezer. Intense cold degrades the taste, and the original sweetness is missing from frozen oranges.
Some people cover the sliced oranges in sugar syrup before freezing to keep the sweetness locked in. Some varieties like the Navel orange can get extremely bitter after freezing. Freeze oranges only when you have either bought in bulk or have a bounty from your farm.
4. Canned Oranges
If canned and stored properly, oranges can last for about one to one and a half years. You only need the juice and flesh of the fruit. Removing pith and peel completely can prevent bitterness.
There are many ways to keep the oranges canned. You can keep them whole or sliced. Please place them in a jar and leave space on top.
Prepare sugar syrup and pour it on top of the oranges, when hot. Seal the jars tightly. This will keep them safe for months and even a year or so.
You can try drying the oranges with a dehydrator. It can take up to 8 hours for the orange slices to become completely dry. Please place them in airtight containers.
Soak the dried oranges before using to make them soft. Jams, jellies, and marmalades are also part of the canned products and most popular. This is the best way to preserve oranges for a long time.
5. Cooked Oranges
We are more familiar with canned fruits like jams, jellies, and marmalades. However, it is possible to cook with oranges by using them in making sauces for dishes, cakes, salads, and many desserts. These dishes can last from a day to a few days or weeks depending on how you cook and store them.
How To Choose The Best & Sweetest Oranges
Here are a few tips for you to help you choose the best oranges. Watch this video for more useful information about oranges.
- Oranges should have a fresh orange smell. Pick them up and bring them close to your nose. The smell will indicate its freshness and ripeness.
- Hold it in your hand to check the weight and heft. The ripe fruit is heavier than an unripe one. It should be heavy enough like a sports ball which means it is quite juicy.
- Very big fruits may be overripe or even dry from inside. Generally, smaller fruits taste better but this will also depend on the variety of orange.
- Look at the surface carefully. If the peel looks like it is easy to peel then it is ripe but if it is too dense and tight it is probably still unripe. Small blemishes are alright but if you notice any deformity or lesion then avoid such fruits.
- You can check when the oranges were harvested. In-season fruits are always sweeter than stored ones.
- The color of the orange can be misleading. Having a greenish tinge on the skin is not always a sign of unripe fruit. Similarly, a fully bright orange color does not indicate a sweet fruit.
If you have planted some orange trees and are waiting for the tasty fruits, you should know some things about harvesting them.
From the time you notice flowers, it may take between 6 to 12 months and even a couple of months more for perfect ripening. The best time to harvest is within a period of two to three months before over-ripening.
The correct harvesting time will also depend on the variety of orange and which region it is being grown in.
Navel oranges are mostly harvested between October and June, while Valencia oranges are harvested from March to October. You will come to know if it is time to harvest when you see a couple of mature oranges fall off the tree.
When oranges are used for commercial uses, they are harvested only after extensive testing. Specific levels of acidity, sweetness, and essence are required, and harvest time can change depending on that.
Most of the harvesting is done by hand. A combined movement of twisting and pulling is enough to get the oranges from the tree. If the fruit has a thin crust, it is better to use shears and cut from the stem.
Nutrition in Oranges
Some people may ask, what is so special about an Orange? Well, it is a fruit that packs a punch in every way. It is so versatile that you can use it in innumerable ways. Oranges are available in several varieties, with each variety having unique features.
A regular orange will have approximately have:
- 60-80 calories
- 3-5 gm of fiber
- 10 to 14 gm of sugar
- 1-3 gm of protein
- 14- 16 micrograms of vitamin A
- 70 milligrams of vitamin C
- 6 to 8 % of the daily recommended amount of calcium
- 230-240 milligrams of potassium
- 12 to 15 gm of carbohydrates
Most importantly, there is no fat or sodium, which makes it ideal for people who want to lose weight.
Due to its composition, oranges can offer you many health benefits, and it makes sense to consume oranges regularly.
- It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the immune system and is one of the most prescribed fruits by doctors.
- The fiber in this fruit can help you with your digestive system. It can keep the cholesterol and risk of heart attack low. For people with diabetes, it is beneficial because it slows the way sugar is absorbed.
- Calcium in the oranges keeps your bones, muscles, and other organs strong. It is good for nails and hair as well.
- A great way to get folate naturally, which is necessary for good growth. For mothers and babies, it is great fruit because it helps in preventing birth defects.
- Vitamin C in oranges has so many benefits.
- Protects the cells in the body from damage
- Helps in making collagen that heals wound faster and gives smoother skin
- Helps in better iron absorption and prevents anemia
- Boosting the immune system.
- Slows the advance of age-related macular degeneration.
- Helps in fighting cancer-causing free radicals
- Vitamin C is also helpful in reducing stress and blood pressure.
- It helps in achieving better mental health.
Tips for Storing Oranges
So, you have a bounty of oranges and have decided to store them for future use. You must take some steps and prepare for the process for the fruit shouldn’t lose the flavor or essence. Here are a few tips:
- When storing oranges, it is better to use cardboard boxes or wrap each fruit separately in the paper.
- Don’t store in polyethylene because it will cause a lack of air and create humidity inside. This will cause the fruit to spoil quickly.
- Frozen oranges can lose flavor and taste, so use this method only if no other option is available to you.
- When storing in the fridge, then periodically take them out and keep at room temperature for some time.
- Do not place oranges very close to other fruits or food items.
- Inspect the stored oranges regularly for any dark spots or extra softness signs of rot setting in.
- You can use vegetable oil and rub it lightly on the fruit’s peel to prolong its life.
Probably the best way to prolong the life of oranges is to leave them on the tree and pick them as and when you want to have one. The more time they spend on the tree, the sweeter they will get.
However, if you notice oranges falling off the tree on their own, it means they are ready to be harvested.
You cannot do much about the oranges which come from your farm or are a gift from your neighbor’s yard. However, if you are buying oranges, then you must try to pick the best ones.
Coming home to find the oranges bitter or dry is really annoying and a waste of money. If you have too many oranges, then use one of the methods mentioned earlier to store them.
It is best to use a mix of things to maximize your pleasure and enjoy the oranges for a longer time.