Freezing Orange Juice

sautesmomFebruary 28, 2008

Has anyone successfully frozen orange juice? When I try, it ends up tasting bitter, nothing like what you buy at the store.

Carla in Sac

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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Well, I've frozen orange juice that was BOUGHT from the store --- we had a lot left over of the non-concentrate OJ from the breakfast after our wedding in September, so I froze it in serving sizes in plastic containers. I chuckled at your post because I just finished one moments ago. Tastes fine.

But from your zone I am guessing you mean squeezing your own out of oranges, which I fear I have not done.

But at least this suggests the problem is something that happens before the freezing -- maybe teeny bits of pith are extracted if you squeeze it yourself?



    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 9:23AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I used to buy commercially frozen juice in BJ's some years ago. It was packed in plastic quart bottles and had no bitter aftertaste. It was very close to fresh tasting, once it totally thawed and was shaken a lot before it was poured into a glass. As mentioned, it may be pith getting into it. I do know that most orange juice is made with several orange types, and this helps to round out the flavor.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 9:52AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Oranges are quite plentiful at this time of year, except for being a slight bit sour. Adding a little sugar makes them taste better. However, in a month or so - when the weather begins to warm up, they become very sweet and juicy.

The Valencia juice oranges are those in our back yard. The Washington Navel oranges have a different ripening time, easier to peel with thicker skin, are bigger and more for eating out of hand.

I try to pick the brightest, deepest orange in color - as they seem sweeter, but they will be even better as weather warms up.

As for freezing, I just leave them on the tree for the best storage, they keep well for many months. My storage space is at a premium anyway, and fresh squeezed is far superior to canned.

Recently, we were gifted some grapefruit - around X-mas time. Without a doubt they were extremely bitter. I canned them in simple syrup to see what would happen. Recently opened a jar and they were delicious without a sign of bitterness. I decided against trying to grow grapefruit in my yard, because we just don't have the heat necessary to bring out their best flavor.

I know that the desert citrus - that ripen in high heat - such as their pink grapefruit - are delicious. The skins are quite thick, and I would imagine that is why they can weather the extreme changes in temperature there. But it takes the desert heat to sweeten them.

I have frozen whole juice - but only after the oranges are at peak ripeness.

Just my 2 c's.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:16AM
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Well, I agree they are best left on the tree and I do, but I am asking because mine are starting to fall off the tree and rot. I'm not the biggest orange fan, so I can only eat so many at a time, but it would be nice to have juice when I want it. It's such a waste. What would be really great would be to concentrate it for cakes or something, like making tomato paste.
Bejay, you say you have frozen whole juice--was yours "off-tasting" as well when you thawed it, or did it turn out OK?? What steps did you take for freezing???
Carla in Sacramento

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 1:36PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Because of all of the rain this year - we are getting an over-abundance of citrus - not only oranges, but also mandarin and limes. I've tried to use as many as possible too as I hate to waste - anything. I decided to prune the new growth severely this year, so as not to have such a large crop.

You also probably have neighbors who have trees as I do, so theres no getting rid of them. I thought about putting up a small stand out front with a "free" sign - that could help some.

Anyway - yes, I've frozen it - using the quart sized plastic containers (Shur-Pak, Hefty, Bes-Pak - last order from Ace Hdw), but tried to wait until quite ripe. The juice separates somewhat from the pulp, but as Ken says - shake, shake, etc., until well mixed. Still better fresh tho.

I filled up a lot of my small canning jars with mandarins this winter - just put up in simple syrup and did a BWB. They are OK, but I also have frozen in simple syrup too in half pint sizes. I think the frozen/thawed are better tasting as far as mandarins are concerned.

This season's storms have produced so much more this year, and even veggies are growing strong. Love not having to water all of the time. If the deciduous trees (now blooming) produce well also, I will be a busy canner this summer. The apricot is now coming out, also dwarf peach and one dwarf apple tree. The almonds started over a week ago. Plum and one apple - still no sign.

Hope this helps.

If they are a bit bitter, try freezing or canning peeled orange sections in simple syrup - I keep some cold syrup in the fridge for this and use it when freezing the mandarins. They seem to sweeten up after soaking in the sugar syrup.

Let us know how they come out.

Just my 2 c's.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 3:21PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Cook's Illustrated did a story on commercial orange juice (main point: Tropicana tasted better than Naked, Bolthouse Farms, and Odwalla, while Natalie's Orchid Island juice was the winner). Not only do companies mix types of oranges as Ken said, they mix in frozen juice from previous batches, and "'flavor packets' made from orange essence and other orange parts to correct deficiencies in taste, color, or aroma." Also, they pasteurize the juice, which kills bacteria and destroys enzymes...maybe you should try that with a small batch? I'm not sure what temperature to use, but Tropicana uses regular pasteurization while the "super-premium" juices use flash pasteurization that makes them not last as long.

Sorry for always posting stuff from Cook's Illustrated. :-)


    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 1:59AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

You might be interested in other ways to use orange as well, especially if orange juice is not a favorite food as a juice. We made candied orange peel this summer - it was a great hit, and another one of those items that can be used in granolas, or dipped in chocolate for an elegant candy.

How about orange zest, dried and used in making cake frostings or cookies.

I freeze a lot of lemon and lime juice in cubes for instant addition to drinks or making jams to bring out the flavor - before freezing a whole big container - try the cubes first to see if they would be more useable. Filling up a freezer space for something that is not especially likeable, seems to be a bit effort wasted.

GD likes to take our excess produce to her friends and church - another option?

Then there is the compost bin. I keep a large wooden box near my trees - composting the droppings. Not only to keep better control of citrus pests, but they also decompose into good humus when composted correctly. I also add surplus shreddings (newspapers, etc.) to keep it all breaking down well.

Just my 2 c's.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 8:49AM
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I just took a trip to Californai and brought back some fresh oranges that were "gifted" to me. They are much juicier than my grocery store citrus, but kind of sour.

I made marmalade and some orange bread and ate some fresh and put some in salads. I finally gave up and juiced the rest, zested them, and put the zest and juice into the freezer.

Now I'm wondering how it's going to be, since it was a bit sour to start with....


    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 4:43PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Annie, you can always may marmalade out of them.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 5:11PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Or how about adding sugar to make an orange syrup for dessert or something? Or sugar and something savory to make a sauce for meat, or mixing with soy sauce and oil for salad dressing with or without vinegar depending on how sour it is.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 9:42PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Maybe you meant bitter?? If it was bitter, its due to excess pith that may have gotten into the juice. Not much you can do there however. LOTS of sugar will help to reduce that bitterness, but if you have the time, suggest you make tangerine marmalade using the thinner skins and the juice you have.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 10:51AM
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I know this is kinda an old thread but I have been concentrating tangerine and grapefruit juice lately. I juice the fruit and freeze in jugs (separately) and once the jugs freeze, I pull them out and allow to partially defrost. I can then prop them upside down to pour off the sweeter juice while the water stays frozen longer. Once the stuff dripping out of the previously frozen jug seems to be more water than fruit juice, stop and dispose of the rest of the ice. I've found that if I mix the two different concentrates together I get a really sweet strong juice that doesn't take up as much space in the freezer. I have not been diluting this juice before drinking but I suppose some people might want to.

I guess it might be possible to freeze and do the thaw concentrate operation again and get an even stronger concentrate but I don't know how effective it will be in subsequent runs.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:46PM
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Certain oranges make lousy frozen juice .
Navels , when juiced , have a very unstable shelf life and are better eaten fresh .
Commercial juice companies blend several orange types to produce a product with consistent flavor .
I juiced 4 different orange varieties yesterday and the flavor was incredible !
Experiment with blending and see if that helps .

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 6:52AM
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Tangerines make a really sweet juice, especially when concentrated. We have been hurrying to put up the tangerines since they don't keep very long on the tree.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 5:15PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Tangelos are now in the local stores here. I bought some tangerines a few weeks ago and they were dry and mealy inside. Not much flavor either. Its hard to tell what is good, unless you open one and taste it first. Most supermarkets frown on that though..

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 5:25PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

tclynx, thanks for the description of how you make concentrated juice. It sounds easy enough and I will try it as freezer space is at a premium....

My juice is very acidic too if I harvest too early, or not water enough. I do not mind tart OJ though, but one could add sugar I suppose (I won't).

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 5:29PM
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