During the high season, when oranges are cheap and delicious, you may want to buy them in excess and freeze them for later usage. Of course, you can freeze the whole fruits, but they may occupy the entire freezer. So, what if you juice it and freeze it in a liquid form? But, can you freeze orange juice?
Seems to be an obvious thing from the first sight – yes, you can. But, what you actually want to know is – is it still good after defrosting? That’s what this article is about.
In this article we personally freeze, defrost and taste three kinds of orange juice – homemade with pulp, homemade without pulp and store-bought, in order to provide you the first-hand information achieved via original research. Moreover, this article explains how to freeze orange juice properly and how to unfreeze it to enjoy its taste and nutrients.
1. Can you freeze orange juice?
Needless to say that most products are the best when consumed fresh, and it is natural if you are wondering if the same rule applies to orange juice. Can orange juice lose its taste or nutritional qualities after it was frozen? Thankfully, the general answer to this question is more than comforting:
You can safely freeze orange juice, regardless if it is homemade or store-bought. In general, it doesn’t lose its taste or quality. On the contrary, according to scientific studies, orange juice contains antioxidants that our body absorbs more effectively from thawed than fresh juice.
So, even though from this answer it is clear that you can freeze orange juice, you might still be unsure about its look and texture after defrosting. It might still be drinkable and even more healthy than fresh, but who cares if it gets chunky, inconsistent, and unpleasant to look at? Besides, not all the juices are the same – some have more pulp than others. Does it affect the quality after thawing?
To shed light on these questions, we decided to go further and conduct an experiment in order to discover how different kinds of orange juice – freshly squeezed without pulp, freshly squeezed with pulp, and store-bought juices taste and look after thawing. Let’s freeze, defrost and taste each of these beverages and give a first-hand review. We rate juices in three aspects: taste, look, texture.
Freezing Store-bought juice
Once defrosted, we have observed that juice has separated into several levels – more watery on the top and more concentrated on the bottom:
After we slightly mixed it with the spoon, it got back to its original consistency. We couldn’t notice any difference in taste or look after it thawed.
You can freeze store-bought orange juice without any risk of losing its taste or quality.
Freezing Homemade Orange Juice (With Pulp)
Pulpy homemade orange juice doesn’t look delicious after defrosting it. You can see pieces of pulp floating in a watery liquid:
We mixed it with a spoon; however, the separated pulp, juice, and water didn’t get consistent. To fix it, you would need to use a blender. Conclusion:
If the inconsistent texture doesn’t bother you – you can drink unfrozen pulpy orange juice as it is. It doesn’t undergo noticeable changes in its taste.
Freezing Homemade Orange Juice (No Pulp)
Defrosted homemade orange juice loses its consistency even if it doesn’t contain pulp.
You may find it a bit grainy, however, it doesn’t significantly affect the taste.
To sum up, store-bought orange juice freezes better than homemade. You can also freeze homemade juice; however, it may be quite grainy after defrosting if it contains lots of pulp. We recommend straining the pulp before freezing your freshly squeezed juice.
If you are interested to know how much juice can you get from one orange, we recommend reading this article:
2. How long can you store frozen orange juice?
As discussed in the previous section, freezing orange juice can significantly extend its shelf life without the risk of losing the quality. If you are wondering about frozen orange juice’s shelf life, we have an answer for that as well – it depends on storage conditions, but properly stored, timelines are the following:
The key is to make sure your juice is still good before you decide to freeze it. Freshly squeezed juice can stay up to three days in the fridge, so if you didn’t freeze it before that time – throw it away. Commercial juices can stay in the fridge longer – up to a week from the moment you open a package. If you are not planning to consume it during that time, make sure to freeze it before it goes bad.
Homemade orange juice can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months, while commercial juice up to one year.
3. How to freeze orange juice?
Many containers are suitable for freezing orange juice – plastic containers, cartons, ice cube trays, mason jars, etc. Each one is good for different purposes and in different situations. We don’t want to bore you to death with a long list of possible containers and their descriptions. Instead, we suggest you think in advance how and in what portions you are going to use your frozen juice. Based on that, we suggest two options:
- Ice cube tray: If you plan to use the juice in a recipe for some dish or a cocktail – then, pouring the liquid into the ice cube tray and freezing it would be the best idea. Later, you can add several ice cubes directly into the cocktail or a recipe without defrosting the whole package.
- Any hermetic container: If you plan to consume this juice just as it is, you can also freeze it simply in the airtight container or in the original carton. Make sure to leave some empty space in the container by pouring off some juice – the liquid expands when frozen. It concerns any container of your choice.
Conclusion: We prefer two ways of freezing orange juice – in an ice cube tray and or a hermetic container. Choose one of these two depending on in which proportions you are going to defrost your juice.
By the way, if you are curious to know which kind of oranges is the best for juicing, make sure to read this article:
– How do you pick the best oranges for juicing?
4. How do you defrost orange juice?
There are several ways of defrosting frozen orange juice. The difference between them is in the speed of thawing. However, the faster you defrost it – the shorter is its shelf life after the juice thawed. Let’s take a look at the options.
- In the fridge – the most time consuming, yet the safest method of defrosting your juice. The risk of bacterial growth is minimal during the first days. The juice defrosted that way can last up to three days if it is a homemade juice and up to a week if the juice is commercial. Put your frozen juice into the fridge and leave it overnight; in most cases, this time will be enough to unfreeze it.
- At room temperature – a faster way to thaw an orange juice. If unfrozen that way, it is recommended to consume the juice within one day.
- In cold water or microwave – if you’ve frozen your juice in the airtight container ( bottle, carton, etc.), you can fill it with cold water and wait till it is defrosted. This is one of the faster methods; however, we recommend using it only if you plan to consume your juice immediately. The same applies to thawing the juice in the microwave oven.
How long does thawed orange juice last?
The shelf life of thawed homemade orange juice depends on the defrosting method. If thawed in the fridge, it will last up to three days; if thawed at room temperature – 1 day, and in case it was defrosted in the microwave or cold water, make sure to consume the juice immediately.
Thawed in the fridge
Thawed at room temperature
Thawed in cold water
5. Is frozen orange juice still healthy?
Vast majority of fruits and vegetables are the most beneficial in their fresh form, and it may come to a surprise that it is not the case with the orange!
Indeed, to become healthy or eatable, some products need to be processed in a certain way. Coffee is roasted, tea is dried, etc. It turns out that orange juice is not an exception.
Orange juice becomes more healthy if it is first frozen and then defrosted. That way, it acquires improved properties. Various studies conducted by different scientists show that the body absorbs antioxidants much better from unfrozen juice.
When frozen orange juice thawed, the healthy substances, so-called carotenoids, are broken down into smaller components. That way, carotenoids are absorbed by the intestine more effectively and in more significant quantities. These substances are known for strengthening the immune system, maintaining the cardiovascular system, fighting inflammatory processes, and even cancerous tumors.
Scientific researches show that frozen orange juice can be healthier than fresh one.
We hope we managed to answer all the possible questions concerning freezing orange juice. Freezing orange juice is a great idea to extend its shelf life and enhance its nutritional properties. However, it is worth remembering that not all orange juices freeze the same well, and in some cases, their quality may slightly decrease.
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