Can You Freeze Grapefruit?

Too many grapefruits on hand and worried that some will spoil?

If so, you’re probably wondering: can you freeze grapefruit?

The Short Answer

You can freeze grapefruit, and they freeze okay. Wash and peel the fruit, remove the white pith and membranes, and pre-freeze the sections on a cookie sheet. Once frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag and into the freezer.

That’s the quick and dirty answer.

Interested in details? Here’s what we cover below:

  • how freezing affects the fruit (does grapefruit freeze well?)
  • freezing grapefruits step by step
  • ways to defrost the fruit
  • using a grapefruit after freezing

Read on.

Pre frozen grapefruit chunks
Pre frozen grapefruit chunks

Can You Freeze Grapefruit?

Yes, you can freeze grapefruits, and they freeze quite well. However, like most fruits and veggies, grapefruits soften after defrosting, so it might not be the best idea to use them in a fruit salad.

(Unless you don’t mind soft grapefruit chunks in a salad, of course.)

That said, frozen grapefruits work well in a couple of settings, like smoothies or pies, or you can simply juice them.

The recommended method for freezing grapefruits is to freeze them fully prepped for eating. You take care of all the prep before putting them in the freezer and use them right after thawing. Or even without defrosting them at all.

Last, make sure you actually need to freeze your grapefruit.

A whole grapefruit can last for 2 to even 3 weeks in the fridge, so you might still have some time to eat yours. If yours is already cut up and sectioned, it keeps for only a few days, so freezing it is an easy way out if you can’t eat within that period.

Related: How long do grapefruits last?
Related: How to store grapefruit?

Grapefruit chunks before freezing
Grapefruit chunks before freezing

Can You Freeze Whole Grapefruit?

Technically speaking, you can freeze a whole grapefruit, but it’s not something I’d recommend. The whole fruit becomes softer after defrosting, making peeling and working with it more difficult.

(If you’ve ever peeled a soft fruit or vegetable, you know what I’m talking about.)

Because of that, freezing it after prep is the recommended approach. As an added benefit, freezing grapefruits sectioned allows you to defrost only a couple of them without thawing the rest.

(The same advice applies to freezing oranges. It’s much better to freeze sections than the whole fruit.)

How to Freeze Grapefruit?

Here’s how you freeze a grapefruit:

  1. Prep. Wash and peel the fruit, then remove the white pith and the membranes that encase sections. You want grapefruit sections (whole or not) that are ready for consumption. Last, leave the fruit chunks to dry on paper towels and try to remove as much moisture as you can without damaging the grapefruit (be gentle).
  2. Pre-freeze. Spread the grapefruit chunks in a single layer on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Try to make the chunks not touch one another too much so that they don’t freeze together. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 2 to 3 hours or until the chunks freeze solid. For simplicity, leave everything in the freezer overnight.
  3. Transfer. Pour the frozen grapefruit chunks into a freezer bag, then squeeze out the air and seal it tight. If you find it helpful, add a label with the name and date for future reference.
  4. Freeze. Put the bag in the freezer.
Frozen grapefruit pieces
Frozen grapefruit pieces

That’s the approach I recommend. Having the fruit chunks pre-frozen individually allows you to grab only a couple when need be, without defrosting all of them.

Of course, you can adjust things to your own needs or preferences. For instance, if you can’t be bothered with removing the membranes, and you never do it before eating, leave them on.

What’s important here is that the fruit chunks are ready for eating straight out of the freezer without any further prep.

Note

There are several ways to peel and section grapefruit. If you’re frustrated with your current approach, google a phrase such as “how to peel a grapefruit” to see what other people recommend.

Another freezing option is to juice the grapefruit and freeze the extracted juice instead. I cover the exact steps in the following articles:

When it comes to how long frozen grapefruit can sit in the freezer, there isn’t one definite answer. 2 to 3 months should be enough time to use it without sacrificing the quality of the fruit that much. But of course, the sooner you use it, the better the quality should be.

How to Defrost Grapefruit?

There are two ways to go about thawing a frozen grapefruit:

  1. Defrost it overnight in the fridge. Transfer the frozen chunks to the refrigerator the night before you need them. Remember to keep them sealed, so if you’re thawing only a couple of segments, put them in a separate airtight container or freezer bag. Also, expect some moisture in the bag or container after the fruit defrosts.
  2. Skip thawing and use it frozen. In some cases, e.g., when you’re making a smoothie, you can use the frozen grapefruit as-is without defrosting it first. I recommend going this way whenever possible.

(Yes, I know skipping thawing isn’t an actual “defrosting method.”)

Defrosted grapefruit chunks
Defrosted grapefruit chunks: notice the water drops inside

While not recommended, you can also defrost grapefruit chunks on the counter. Make sure they don’t sit at room temperature for more than an hour to maybe 2 hours and use them immediately after thawing, preferably in a cooked dish.

Using Grapefruit After Freezing

Here are a couple of ways you can use frozen grapefruits:

  • Smoothies. If your blender can process ice cubes, you can throw in frozen grapefruit chunks, and everything should go just fine. If you’re not sure or want to play it safe, thaw the chunks first.
  • Cakes. Yes, cakes flavored with grapefruit juice are a thing and a good option for using your frozen grapefruit chunks.
  • Muffins. Like cakes, muffins with grapefruit juice are also an option.
  • Marinades. Whenever a marinade recipe calls for lemon or lime juice, you can replace it with some grapefruit juice for a bit of variety.
Defrosted grapefruit added to a smoothie
Defrosted grapefruit added to a smoothie
Tip

If you’re planning to use the grapefruit in a cake, muffin, or any other baked good, consider freezing some grapefruit rind too. Many recipes call for it.

If neither of the above works for you, think of ways you use lemons or oranges. In many cases, you can substitute them with grapefruits without affecting the dish’s taste that much.