The Prep Tip To Consider Before Freezing Oranges

oranges in wooden crate
oranges in wooden crate - Mediterranean/Getty Images

Smoothie lovers know how valuable frozen fruit can be. If you have leftover berries and bananas, there's no need to toss them out, as they can last for up to a year if you keep them in the freezer. But while these two fruits are staples in icy recipes, others are a little less common -- and therefore, a little more confusing when it comes to freezing them. If you're hoping to store your oranges this way, there is one important prep tip specific to this fruit to keep in mind.

Oranges have peels, which makes them a little tricky to store long-term. It's easy to assume that they'll freeze best in their original state, peel and all, but this can actually cause some complications. When the fruit becomes ice-cold, the juices inside can swell, which can lead to a mini-explosion as they burst through the outer barrier. Plus, you likely won't want a frozen peel anyway, as its already bitter flavor can become even more pronounced when it's that cold. So before you toss your oranges in the freezer, you'll likely want to peel them.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

How To Freeze Oranges

hands peeling an orange
hands peeling an orange - Photo_concepts/Getty Images

Once you've peeled your oranges, you're going to want to cut them into slices before freezing them -- otherwise, you'll have a tough time hacking through a rock-hard block of fruit when you go to thaw it. It's worth noting, however, that you can also cut your fruits in half or quarters and freeze them with the peel on, in which case they won't explode. If you intend to throw them in smoothies later on, however, you'll want to remove the peel ahead of time so your chunks can go straight in the blender. Then to prevent the orange sections from clumping together, start by arranging your slices on a lined baking sheet and freezing them for about an hour, although you can also go all the way here and keep them in overnight. When they're hard enough that they won't stick together, only then should you combine them all in a large plastic bag that can stay frozen for months.

And as for the peel? Try zesting your orange before you remove it, which you can either use right away or freeze as well. Feel free to also make candied orange peels, toss the scraps into tea or roasted dinner recipes, or boil the remnants to make stovetop potpourri. Between the frozen fruit and its repurposed skin, you'll truly be avoiding food waste and making the most of your oranges.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.