As winter draws close, we must pay extra attention to our Vitamin C and D intake to prevent flu and other seasonal illnesses.
An excellent source of Vitamin C is oranges and the easiest way to get it is through orange juice.
You can freeze orange juice to extend the shelf life, meaning that you will never be without!
Orange juice will keep indefinitely if you freeze it correctly.
The texture and consistency may alter slightly upon thawing, particularly if you have frozen juice with pulp in.
How to freeze orange juice
If you are freezing fresh orange juice, the first step is to juice your fruit. You can use a citrus juicer or whatever method you find easiest. Strain the orange juice if you prefer smooth, or add the pulp from the interior of the orange rind if this is your preference.
Ensure you remove any seeds from the juice to prevent choking during consumption.
Transfer the orange juice to a freezer-safe airtight container. Take care to leave 1½ inches of space at the top of the container. This is because liquid expands as it freezes and this gives the orange juice space to expand into without breaking your container.
For smaller portions of orange juice, you can use an ice cube tray to freeze them. This works really well for smoothies or cocktails where you don’t want the drink to be watered down.
Using orange juice ice cubes means that as they melt, you get an extra boost of fruitness in your drink!
We advise measuring the volume of each cube the ice cube tray makes, to ensure you know the portion size. Pour the orange juice into the tray, leaving a little space at the top so that the cubes don’t overfill.
Place in the freezer and leave for a few hours to freeze solid. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Ensure it is clearly labeled with the contents, the date, and the size of each cube.
You can also use the orange juice to make cheap and healthy ice lollies in the summer. Pour the orange juice into the popsicle molds and pop the lids on.
Place upright in the freezer to solidify. You can spice things up a little with the addition of lemonade or Haribo gummy bears to give a different element to the popsicles.
If you are using store bought orange juice, you can freeze it in the carton it came in. We advise opening the container and emptying out a little of the juice.
This is to release some of the pressure from the inside of the container and give space for the orange juice to expand into. This will prevent the container from splitting and making a mess of your freezer!
How to defrost orange juice
We advise removing the orange juice from the freezer the night before you wish to drink it.
Place it in the refrigerator and leave overnight to thaw completely. Depending on the size of the container, this process usually takes between 6 and 12 hours.
The orange juice may separate into the juice and sugars. If this happens, you simply need to give it a mix to recombine the orange juice.
Once thawed, orange juice can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. For best quality, we recommend drinking it within 2 to 3 days after thawing.
You can also thaw orange juice in a bowl of warm water to speed up the thawing process. This should reduce the thawing time to around 2 hours.
If you are using ice cubes in a drink or smoothie, you can simply add to your drink without thawing.
Factors to consider before freezing orange juice
If you are squeezing your orange juice, we recommend choosing the ripest oranges possible. The higher the quality of your oranges, the better and sweeter the juice will be.
Some oranges are naturally more juicy than others and are better suited to juicing. Valencia oranges are the best and we advise staying away from naval oranges.
There are some steps you can take to make the juicing process easier. Rinse the oranges under cold running water and dry thoroughly. Poke with a fork, ensuring you don’t pierce all the way through the skin.
Cover the oranges with boiling water and leave to sit for 30 seconds. Remove from the water and gently press and roll on the countertop until you feel them soften slightly. This will help to release some of the juices from the fruit.
Orange juice containing pulp will thaw and take on a different consistency to smooth juice. This is because irregular ice crystals will form around the bits of pulp and can cause the orange juice to take on a grainy texture once thawed.
Orange juice with pulp will also take longer to freeze. You can strain orange juice prior to freezing to remove most of the pulp if you wish.
We do not advise refreezing thawed orange juice.
If you are making your own orange juice, consider retaining the peels and dehydrating. Place at 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit for between 8 and 12 hours.
You can simmer in sugar syrup to make a flavored syrup, or simmer in water for a fragrance. You can also use the dried peels as potpourri.
Orange juice is full of antioxidants and has many anti-inflammatory properties. It also assists with stabilizing your blood pressure and can help with the condition of your kidneys.
This is because it reduces the acidity of your urine and helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Your orange juice may split upon thawing, but a quick mix or shake will return it to its original condition. We hope that armed with these tips you feel confident enough to freeze orange juice.
The taste will not alter upon freezing, but the texture may be different if it contains pulp. For this reason, we recommend freezing smooth orange juice where possible.