Jul 6, 2023
Oranges are lovely fruits to have around, and they’re especially delicious when they’re in season. That’s why I wouldn’t blame anyone who would go crazy and stock up on oranges. Problem is that they tend to spoil because of their high moisture content. So when we got our oranges, what we did was freeze-dry them!
What’s great about freeze-drying is that you can do it for any variety of oranges. Just remember, though. If you use or eat the peels on the fruits, make sure you go organic. If you’re not going to eat the skin, this won’t matter.
For freeze-drying oranges, you’ll need:
Oranges are among the fruits that have high water and sugar content in them. So if you’re going to lay them on the trays, they’re going to stick and can be very hard to take out. Parchment paper helps keep the oranges from sticking and allows you to stack them to save space.
Wash the oranges so that it’s nice and clean – and you can eat the peel without any worries after freeze-drying. Freeze drying removes water but definitely not dirt or bacteria. For us, we washed the oranges with 1:1 vinegar and water solution. Yes, this is going to affect the taste of the rind, but washing the fruits thoroughly after can help.
You can slice the citrus in any way you want to. We did all kinds of slices here, but we made sure the thickness is at a third of an inch thick all throughout. If you want whole segments of oranges, you can do that too. Use seedless oranges for this and puncture the skins to help with the freeze-drying process. Or you could do what we did and just slice them in half. This way, you can also take out the seeds without damaging the fruit.
It’s important to take out the seeds, yes. They can be very bitter and ruin the eating experience. Also, they’ll add to your freeze-drying time because of the membrane. Another is the residual moisture in the seeds can ruin a good batch of freeze-dried oranges in storage. Imagine spending hours prepping, freeze drying, and packing only to come up with a ruined batch of oranges.
If you’re going to use also the peels from your peeled fruits, carefully remove the pith. This is going to be bitter and can infuse into your recipes.
Once you got the oranges done, lay them on a tray with parchment paper. Since the slices are thin, you can maximize the use of one tray. Cover the oranges with parchment paper and place another layer of oranges on top.
When all the oranges are ready, it’s time to put them inside the freezer for deep freezing. Since the oranges have high water content, we’re careful to keep the freezer door closed until they’re frozen. Gives better freeze drying results this way.
The oranges will lose a bite of their deep color and are going to be crunchy, crumbly, and dry. You won’t get this leathery consistency like you would with dehydrated. If any orange slices still have a soft, moist feel to them, put them back inside the freeze dryer.
Unlike with peaches, you’ll see bits of bubbles on the surface. This is normal because oranges tend to have high sugar content. You’ll get loads of bubbles when you freeze dry Mandarin oranges.
We could say it’s not pretty bad! They’re very yummy, and you get this burst of orange on your tongue with every chew. For the orange slices, they give a fun, eating experience and we can definitely say it was worth it. It’s even kind of addicting to eat it, especially if you dip them in coconut yogurt or Nutella.
The orange slices aren’t very satisfying, though. There are a lot of air pockets in there that we weren’t too happy with. It’s like you’re eating something hollow that has a strong orange flavor.
If you’re going to eat or use the fruits often, the you can store them in air-tight containers or mason jars. They can last 6-12 months as long as they’re always tightly sealed. For added measure, you can vacuum seal the mason jars, so they last longer before you use them. They do take a lot of space, though; that’s why we don’t use them as much.
What we commonly use for storing them long-term are Mylar bags. They’re great because not only do they keep away air and moisture, but they’re also space savers. You can put in the oranges and seal them with a vacuum sealer or a flat iron.
Just remember to throw in oxygen absorbers before sealing your containers. Then store them in a cool, dark place with temperatures not going higher than 72°F (22°C). Others prefer a safer 70°F (21°C) range. With proper storage conditions, your oranges can last for 25+ years.
There are so many ways for you to use freeze-dried oranges.
We like them for snacking as is or eating them with our morning cereals. For the orange segments and slices, you can also add them to your tea. Just add some cinnamon sticks, cloves, and honey. If you’re fond of rice, then you can make some Asian-inspired orange rice with onions, peppers, chicken broth, and orange juice.
As for the peels, you can grind them up and add them to your Asian-inspired dishes. They’ll go well with orange chicken, orange glaze, or marmalades. We sometimes put a little bit inside our face mask and our bath. If you happen to have or know of a cat that’s ruining your plants, scatter the powder in areas they usually go to.
If you’re fond of oranges that can’t get enough of them and want to have them every day? Then these are great for you, especially if you’re a fan of its tangy sweetness without the mess. Just like with other freeze-dried fruits, they’re great to go with almost anything.
Have you ever tried freeze-drying oranges? How was it? Share your story in the comment section.
Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube Channel for other tips and tricks about freeze-drying!