How To Freeze Dry Mandarin

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Freeze Dried Fruits

Freeze-drying citrus, like grapefruit and mandarin, is challenging because of the segments. But getting around it is easy with a bit of practice and dexterity. Here’s how to freeze-dry mandarin, so it’s dry inside and out for long-term storage.

How Do I Prepare Mandarin

The first thing you do is peel the mandarin to expose the segments. Then take out most of the pith as you can. Although the pith contains fiber, freeze-drying intensifies the pith’s bitterness. Some are okay with it, but others may find it not to their taste.


After peeling the citrus, you can slice them to expose the center. Thin slices are great for faster freeze drying and if you want mandarin chips. Thicker slices are good when you want more flesh with each bite.

To slice the fruit put the fruit with the pedicel part (where the stem used to be) pointing horizontally. Then cut through the fruit crosswise to expose the pulp. The limit of the thickness would be 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Any thicker slice will make it hard for your freeze-dryer to work. If you’re unsure how to measure, just keep the pieces from being higher than the lip of the tray.


We love eating orange segments because you get more pulp in every bite. However, we tried freeze-drying mandarin segments, and the center was still moist. So, here’s what you can do so you don’t experience the same thing as we did.

  1. Hold the mandarin vertically.
  2. Using a paring knife or a 6” chef’s knife, slice through one segment as close to the skin as possible.
  3. Cut until you reach the center, then angle your knife towards the base of the exposed pulp.
  4. Without cutting the segment, push beneath the pulp to separate it from the skin.
  5. Carefully lift the whole segment until it comes off the skin.

mandarin segments

Now that you removed a segment, the rest will be easy.

  1. Use the tip of the knife to gently pierce through the skin without cutting the segment.
  2. Then carefully push through the skin to lift and separate it from the pulp before you cut it.
  3. Angle your knife to push through the base of the pulp and lift it out from the other skin.
  4. Repeat until you get all the segments out.

What’s great about preparing the mandarin this way is you can also take out the seeds. They don’t freeze dry well, so remember to take them out to prevent spoiling your fruit.


If you have a blender or a juicer, you can also use it to make freeze-dried mandarin juice. Peel the mandarins and slice them in half to take out the seeds unless you choose the seedless variety. Pass them through the juicer if you want a smoother liquid. If you want the extra fiber, use the blender and process the fruits until you get the consistency you want.

Do I Need To Pre-freeze?

This is totally optional because your freeze dryer’s colder than your freezer. But pre-freezing helps maintain a stable temperature when you’re freeze-drying. When introducing a warm food tray, your freeze dryer takes a while to reach temperature. And if you decided to pre-cool your freeze dryer before adding your warm trays, you’ll risk a temperature spike. This destabilizes your freeze dryer, and it would have to work hard to get back to temperature.

For mandarin juice, it’s optional too, but we recommend it. It takes a while to freeze liquid, so you’ll be helping your freeze dryer this way.

If you do decide to pre-freeze, use the same freeze dryer trays you’ll use for freeze-drying your mandarin.

mandarin slices with skin.

How To Freeze Dry Mandarin

  1. Line your trays with parchment paper. Not only is mandarin high in water content. For example, an 88g mandarin carries 33g of sugar. These two will cause them to stick to your tray and each other, causing them to break when you take them out.
  2. Place your citrus on the tray side by side. You can stack them if you want, but don’t go above the lip.
  3. If you’re freeze-drying mandarin juice, pour it until just below the rim.
  4. Turn on the unit and choose “NON-LIQUID” if you are freeze-drying slices and segments. Choose “LIQUID” if your freeze-drying juice, even if you also have slices to process.
  5. Select “NOT FROZEN” for fresh fruit.
  6. For pre-frozen food, choose “FROZEN” to allow your freeze-dryer pre-cool for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Close the drain valve when the machine tells you to.
  8. Load your trays, close the chamber door, and press “CONTINUE” to begin freeze-drying.

How Long Does Freeze Drying Mandarin Take?

Freeze-drying mandarin can take between 24-38 hours, some even going up to 46. This will depend on the amount of oranges you have or if you have other food that freeze-dries longer.

How Do I Know That They’re Done?

Everything should be dry, crunchy, and airy to the touch. We recommend you taste a sample, especially the thick, big ones. If you get a fruit that’s still soft and a bit chewy, like gum drops in the middle, put the trays back for 2-6 hours of dry time.

If you freeze-dried mandarin juice, the whole block of tray should be dry and hard. If you scrape it, it comes out like powdered mica.

How Do I Store Freeze Dried Mandarin?

You can store the slices and segments as they are. For the juice, grind it into a fine powder using your blender or food processor for easy reconstituting.

We always recommend using Mylar bags for easy and long-term storage. Mason jars work best if you use the citrus within weeks or months. Make your stash last longer by adding oxygen absorbers. 1-2 of the 300cc packets would work for every gallon-size container.

How Long Do Freeze-Dried Mandarin Last?

Properly stored, your freeze-dried citrus can last 25 years or more. Keep it in a room with a temperature lower than 72°F (22 °C). Store the bags and jars away from direct heat, light, and moisture as well.

What do you plan to do with your freeze-dried mandarin? Let us know in the comment section.

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