Orange juice seems to have become a staple in every fridge. Some people enjoy it freshly squeezed while others prefer buying a carton of good-quality orange juice from the supermarket.
In either case, you often end up with leftover juice in the fridge.
Can you freeze orange juice? Yes, you can freeze orange juice to extend its shelf life. Be it store-bought or homemade, freezing works well for all types of orange juice. If stored properly, commercially produced and homemade orange juice will last up to 12 and 4 months in the freezer.
In this article, you will get answers to all your questions regarding freezing orange juice, from freezing it in its original carton packaging to doing it in ice cube trays.
Does Orange Juice Freeze Well?
Like most other citrus fruit juices, orange juice freezes quite well and doesn’t undergo major flavor changes. The key is freezing the juice when it is still good.
If you are too picky about your orange juice, you may find the defrosted juice slightly more watery. But overall, both the flavor and the consistency of the juice will be there after freezing and defrosting it.
With this being said, not all orange juices are created equal. Orange juice with lots of pulp in it doesn’t freeze as well as orange juice with no pulp does.
Freezing and defrosting alter the consistency of pulpy orange juice, making it thicker. And the pulp isn’t soft and juicy anymore, but rather dry and not as pleasant when you go to drink the juice.
So, if you want to freeze pulpy orange juice, you might as well strain it before freezing it, as doing this yields better results.
Can You Freeze Store-Bought Orange Juice?
You can freeze store-bought orange juice. No matter what kind of orange juice you prefer to buy, pulpy or with no pulp, all-natural or with additives, freezing will work for all of them.
Can You Freeze Homemade Orange Juice?
If you have too many oranges and don’t know what to do with them, you can make some freshly squeezed orange juice and freeze it for later use.
You can freeze orange juice in the same way you freeze store-bought juice.
For best results, strain your homemade orange juice. As we have already mentioned, pulp-free orange juice freezes better.
You can strain the juice after defrosting it, but removing the pulp prior to freezing the juice will produce better results.
Note: If you like your homemade orange juice with sugar, consider bringing the amount you use to the minimum when you are planning to freeze the juice. The less sugar is in the juice, the better and quicker it freezes.
Can You Freeze Orange Juice in Plastic Containers?
You can certainly freeze orange juice in plastic containers. But when doing this, make sure you are not using overly big containers. Not only will thawing a large amount of juice take you a lot of time but you may end up with leftover juice.
Additionally, don’t use a plastic container that is too big for the amount of juice you are freezing. Leaving a lot of ‘extra’ space in the container will certainly not do your juice any good. The contact with so much air will cause the juice to deteriorate quicker.
Here are step-by-step instructions for freezing orange juice in plastic containers:
- Pour the juice into your preferred container. It is best to portion the juice by pouring it into multiple small containers measuring around a cup. You can, of course, use one big container to freeze the orange juice if you know you will be needing it all at once.
- Leave around an inch of space between the juice and the lid. As the juice freezes, it expands. Not leaving room for the liquid to expand may result in a disaster in your fridge. The container may crack or pop open.
- Close the lid of the container tightly. When picking a container to freeze orange juice in, make sure that the lid sits tightly on it. If you are not sure about the tightness of the lid, you can wrap a few layers of food wrap around it to make sure it is airtight and won’t leak.
- Label the container with the date. If there is too much stuff in your cold storage and you are unable to keep up with the dates, labeling items will help you use them within the recommended period of time.
Can You Freeze Orange Juice in Ice Cube Trays?
You can freeze orange juice in ice cube trays. Moreover, there are a few reasons why you should try freezing orange juice in ice cube trays at least once.
Firstly, freezing orange juice in ice cube trays is effortless.
Secondly, as the pieces are smaller, they will thaw quickly when needed.
Thirdly, when you know that there are 2 tablespoons of orange juice in every cube, it makes it easy to thaw and use the juice in recipes where you need to work with exact measurements.
And lastly, you can use orange juice ice cubes to chill your drinks and your orange juice without thinning it down.
Here is how to freeze orange juice in ice cube trays.
- Pour the orange juice into the ice cube tray of your choice.
- Put the ice cube tray in the freezer.
- Once the juice is all frozen, put the tray into a zip-top bag. If you need your tray for other purposes, you can take out the orange juice ice cubes and put them all in a single container or plastic bag.
- Label the bag with the date.
Can You Freeze a Carton of Orange Juice?
You can freeze orange juice in its original carton packaging.
A carton of orange juice lasts around a week after it has been opened. If you have opened one, used only a small amount, and know that you won’t be finishing it anytime soon, freezing a carton of orange juice is actually a good idea.
All you need to do is screw the cap tightly so that it doesn’t leak.
You should never freeze an unopened carton of orange juice. Firstly, as there is no room for the liquid to expand, the packaging will eventually puff out as a result of pressure and start leaking.
In the worst-case scenario, it will explode, creating a huge mess in your freezer.
Secondly, an unopened carton of orange juice has a very long shelf life. And it doesn’t require any special storage conditions too.
In the majority of the cases, orange juice in cartons should be stored somewhere cool and dark where it will keep for up to 2 years.
If it happens so that you need to freeze a carton of orange juice that is still full, pour off a cup of juice. By doing this, you will ensure that the carton packaging stays intact once the juice in it freezes.
What Is the Best Way to Freeze Orange Juice?
Orange juice can be successfully frozen in plastic containers and ice cube trays, as well as its original carton packaging, so long as you know how to do it right. In fact, you can freeze orange juice in any container that is freezer-safe and airtight.
Depending on how it is convenient for you to freeze the juice, i.e. in smaller portions or in one big batch, you can pick the freezing method that works best for you.
How Long Can You Freeze Orange Juice?
The shelf life of store-bought orange juice stored in the fridge is around 7 days. Freezing significantly extends the shelf life of orange juice. Orange juice stored in the freezer keeps well for 8 to 12 months.
The shelf life of homemade orange juice is comparatively shorter whether you keep it in the fridge or in the freezer. This has to do with the absence of preservatives in it.
Homemade orange juice will last up to 4 months in the freezer.
These dates are estimates of how long orange juice will maintain its best flavor qualities when stored in the freezer. Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, the juice is likely to remain safe for consumption past the times indicated above.
But the more the juice sits in the freezer, the more its flavor degrades.
How Do You Defrost Orange Juice?
There are two ways to defrost orange juice. The first method is letting the juice thaw in the fridge. Depending on the amount of juice you are thawing, it may take it up to 12 hours to fully defrost.
The second method is thawing the juice with the help of water. If you want to accelerate the thawing process, submerge the container with orange juice into a bowl filled with room-temperature water.
You can either drink defrosted orange juice or use it in various dishes. A small amount of orange juice will give your baked goods and desserts lots of aroma and warmth. You can also use it to make salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
As for orange juice ice cubes, you don’t always need to defrost them. Use orange juice ice cubes in shakes and smoothies, as well to chill both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.