How Long Do Oranges Last and How to Tell if One Is Bad?

Here’s all you need to know about the shelf life of oranges. Learn how long oranges last, how to tell if one is bad, and how to store them.

Bought a few too many oranges and not sure how long they are good for? Know that oranges go bad, but not certain how to tell if the fruit is bad already?

No worries, we’ve got your back. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about storage, shelf life, and going bad of oranges. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on!

Orange in hand

How To Select Oranges at the Grocery Store?

Here’s what the University of California says about buying fresh oranges:

Choose oranges that are firm and heavy for their size, with fine-textured skin and no soft spots. Oranges should be free of cuts or bruises. Scars may develop on the peel where a young fruit has brushed against the tree, but these surface flaws do not affect the quality of the fruit inside.

And that’s all you need to remember when choosing this citrus fruit at the grocery or farmer’s market.

Now, let’s make sure they’re properly stored so that they stay fresh as long as possible.

Three oranges side by side
Three oranges side by side

How To Store Oranges

When it comes to storing whole oranges, there are two options.

You can leave them at room temperature, either in the pantry or even in a fruit basket in the kitchen. This way, they are juicier, but they don’t last that long. It’s the go-to option if you know you’re going to use those fresh oranges within a couple of days.

The second option is to refrigerate the oranges. They won’t be as juicy, but in exchange for that, you get a much longer shelf life. It’s the best option if you’re buying in bulk on a sale, or your family member or friend who owns an orchard shared some of their harvest with you.

If what you have on hand are peeled oranges, or leftover cut or segmented ones, refrigerate them. Place them in a freezer bag or airtight container, depending on what you have on hand. If using a resealable plastic bag, squeeze out the air before sealing it.

Peeled orange segments in an airtight container
A good way to store peeled orange segments: an airtight container

If you have more oranges than you can find a use for, you can freeze oranges. Frozen oranges have a limited number of uses, but freezing is still a better option than discarding them.

Tip

If you want to use up lots of oranges quickly, juice them. Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and a favorite breakfast drink for many. The only issue is that homemade orange juice lasts only a couple of days, but you can counteract that by freezing that orange juice.

Peeled orange
Peeled orange

How Long Do Oranges Last?

PantryFridge
Whole orange10 – 14 days21 – 30 days
Cut orange3 – 4 days
Shelf life of oranges

Whole oranges last about 10 to 14 days at room temperature, and between 21 days and a month in the fridge. Cut oranges last only about 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator. They dry quite quickly, and unlike dried grapes (raisins), dry oranges are no good.

As you can tell, those storage times are quite similar to the shelf life of grapefruits and a bit longer than how long are clementines good for.

Truth be told, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact shelf life of oranges. It all depends on variety, quality, and what many people forget about, how long they were stored before they got their way to the shelf.

If you scour the Internet for answers, they are all over the place. My recommendations are based on both personal experience and the FoodKeeper app.

Peeling an orange
Peeling an orange

How To Tell If Oranges Are Bad?

Like with pretty much all food products, there’s a bunch of things to look out for. Start with a whole orange and check for these:

  • Visual changes. Minor discolorations or the rind (dots, etc.) are alright, but if the fruit develops mold, discard it.
  • Texture alterations. If the fruit looks okay, give it a gentle squeeze. It should have some give, but not much. If it’s super soft, mushy, or dried out, it’s time for it to go.
  • Off smell. If the orange has lost its citrusy smell and smells off (or funny), throw it out.
Orange punctured spot
Orange: punctured spot

If your specimen has passed all the checks up to this point, peel it and check the insides. Again, check for any changes related to color, texture, and smell.

If everything seems to be alright, the last thing is to test its taste. If it passes it with flying colors, congratulations, that orange is perfectly fine. If it tastes so-so, it’s up to you if you eat it or discard it. Obviously, if the citrus fruit tastes terrible, get rid of it.

Tip

You can use the same process to check if your tangerines (How long do tangerines last?) and clementines are okay to eat.

Oranges and tangerines
Oranges and tangerines