Too much OJ on hand and no idea on how to use it before it goes bad? How about putting it in the freezer? Can you freeze orange juice?
If you don’t drink OJ regularly, it’s easy to end up with leftovers. You buy a carton, drink a glass or use some in a baking project, and have nothing to do with the rest.
If you don’t particularly enjoy it, it’ll probably sit in the fridge until it spoils. And it lasts only a couple of days after opening, as you can learn in my Does orange juice go bad? article.
Fortunately, there is a better way to go about this, especially if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of quality.
Can You Freeze Orange Juice?
You surely know that you can put the OJ in the freezer, and it’ll freeze solid. What you’re interested in is if it turns out any good after thawing.
The best answer to that question is: it depends.
To me, the frozen and thawed OJ tastes perfectly fine. To get better insight, I run a test on my wife, as she is more critical than me when it comes to such matters.
I asked her to drink a bit of fresh (pulpless) orange juice and a bit of thawed one, without telling her which is which. The task was simple: tell which one was previously frozen. She couldn’t tell the difference, and guessed wrong.
That means that the tastes are quite similar, and you’ll enjoy frozen and defrosted OJ too.
Here’s how fresh OJ (left) compares to a frozen and thawed one (right):
As you can tell, both juices look almost the same.
Besides drinking OJ as-is, there are several other options that work perfectly fine for frozen and defrosted OJ. I list those in the next section. If either of the suggestions work for you, freezing the juice is an option.
Pulpy orange juice doesn’t freeze as well as pulpless one. Consider straining the liquid before freezing if you’re working with the former.
How To Use Frozen & Thawed Orange Juice
There are a couple of options, depending on your preferences:
- Smoothies. Definitely the most popular way to use frozen fruit (you can freeze oranges too!) and juices. You can use OJ cubes instead of ice cubes, or thaw the liquid and add it as you do with fresh juice.
- Drinks. Add a cube or two to a glass of water on a warm day. Or use instead of ice cubes in a drink or cocktail.
- Baking and desserts. Some pies and cakes need a bit of OJ to add flavor. Frozen and thawed one usually works just as well as a fresh one. Same thing with sorbets and the like.
- Drink as-is. In most cases, you won’t be able to feel the difference. But if you have super-sensitive taste buds or call yourself an OJ connoisseur, go with one of the other options.
How To Freeze Orange Juice
Before we go any further, I’d like you to think about how you’re going to use the frozen juice. If need be, go through the list of possibilities once again and choose one or two.
That’s important because you’re going to portion the OJ based on how you’re going to use it in the future. This way, you always defrost as much as you need, and you don’t have to bother with the leftovers.
Figured out how you’re going to use the orange juice? Great, let’s get to freezing it.
- Get your container(s) of choice and portion the juice. If you need small tablespoon-like portions or have no idea how you’re going to use the juice, an ice cube tray works great. For larger ones like half a cup to a cup, small airtight containers are probably the best. If you’re going to need the whole carton, feel free to use the one the juice comes in. No matter which one you choose, make sure there’s an inch or two of head-space to allow the liquid to expand (UOC).
- Label and freeze. Label the container(s) if you like and put them into the freezer.
- If you’re using an ice cube tray, transfer the cubes into a freezer bag once they’re frozen solid. You probably already do that with regular ice cubes, plus you get your ice cube tray back.
That’s it. Your leftover orange juice is frozen and ready to be used when you need it. It can sit in the freezer for at least a couple of months without any significant loss of quality.
The same approach works when you’re freezing lemon juice or freezing lime juice.
How To Thaw Orange Juice
When it comes to thawing frozen OJ, there are two options:
- In the fridge. The easiest way is to transfer the OJ into the refrigerator the night before you need it. The whole defrosting process takes between two hours for small cubes to 8+ hours for large containers, so plan accordingly. You can submerge the container in lukewarm water to speed things up a bit. Don’t expect miracles, though.
- Use without thawing. You already know at least a couple of ways how to use cubed OJ. If you’re going with either of those, then you can skip defrosting.
Freezing Orange Juice FAQ
Can You Freeze Orange Juice In Cardboard Carton?
Yes, you can. The cardboard carton withstands freezing just fine. The only thing to remember is to pour off a few ounces before you chuck it into the freezer.
If the carton is full and there’s not enough head-space in it, the expanding liquid will rip a hole in the cardboard. That means cleaning up the freezer, and I’m sure you’d prefer to avoid that.
Can You Freeze Orange Juice In Mason Jars?
Yup, assuming that your jars are freezer-safe, and you remember about leaving an inch or two of space before the shoulder or the rim of the jar.
Can You Freeze Orange Juice in a Glass Bottle?
Sure, as long as the bottle is freezer-safe and you leave enough head-space.
How Long Does Thawed Orange Juice Last?
Generally speaking, you should use the thawed juice within two to three days. It might keep for longer, but you never know.
I suggest you freeze it in small portions and only thaw as much as you need. This way, you never have to worry if it’ll last until you need it or not.
Can I Refreeze Frozen and Thawed Orange Juice?
Yes, as long as you thawed it in the fridge. The idea of refreezing being unsafe is basically a myth. If you’d like to read more about that, check out this New York Times article.
That being said, the juice’s quality will be even worse after another round of freezing and thawing. In short, you can refreeze orange juice safely, but it’s better to plan ahead and defrost only as much as you need.