Orange on a tree

There are differing peak seasons for oranges depending upon variety. Valencia oranges are in season from late spring to mid summer. Navels are best from mid winter to early spring and blood oranges are at their peak from early winter until early spring. Sour oranges are harvested beginning in late fall and the harvest continues through spring depending upon the region and climate.

Select. Select a firm, smooth and thin-skinned orange that is full colored and heavy for its size. Color is not a good indicator of quality; some oranges are dyed and some fully ripened oranges such as the Valencia may regreen. Brown surface patches do not mean the orange is unripe or spoiled, but rather that it was grown in a very warm and usually humid region. Avoid oranges that are soft or moldy.

Amount. Three medium-size or 2 large oranges equal about one pound of segments.

Store. Oranges will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week and in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Whole or segmented oranges are not recommended for freezing. Orange juice can be frozen in plastic containers for up to one year.

Prepare. To eat an orange out of hand, wedge your thumb between the peel and flesh and pull off peel a piece at a time. Break fruit into sections.

To remove the orange’s peel and the bitter white membrane beneath, run a sharp knife between the peel and flesh in a spiral fashion.

To juice an orange, roll the fruit on a firm surface to soften the flesh then ream on a orange or lemon juicer.

To grate orange peel for zest, rub the colored part of the rind only against the small holes of grater or use a zester or vegetable peeler to remove the rind and then chop finely.

Is Swallowing Orange Seeds Bad For Your Health?

Oranges are one of the first fruits that come to mind when you think of adding fibre in your diet. And since they are known to have antioxidants properties that can help you to be fresh and stress-free, you can always make them a part of your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Moreover, all the parts of an orange are loaded with useful nutrients, including its peel that contains volatile oil glands in pits, which have various health benefits. Having an orange juice has its benefits, too, and so also orange seeds. They are also useful and contain some medicinal properties that may benefit the health.

Swallowing Orange Seeds: Myth Or Fact?

There are certain people who instead of throwing out the orange seeds, they swallow them while eating oranges. There is a myth that swallowing orange seeds can be harmful and result is some serious diseases. But, that remained a subject of debate. According to Consultant Nutritionist Doctor Rupali Datta, “Swallowing orange seeds are not harmful. In fact, when you swallow orange seeds, they will come out as is when you defecate. However, when you chew them, which give a bitter taste, it definitely adds fibre to your diet.”

(Also Read: 5 Homemade Orange Peel Face Packs for Glowing Skin)Orange seeds: Harmful or harmless?

Benefits Of Swallowing Orange Seeds:

  • The seeds of oranges are small and hard to break. It is believed that just like oranges, its seeds are also rich in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that keeps our metabolism high.
  • There are more benefits of consuming (chewing) orange seeds. It is very uncommonly known that orange seeds help to strengthen our body and make it active. Due to its antioxidant properties, it prevents the general weakness and laziness in our body.
  • Eating oranges (and its seeds) can be quite beneficial. It also helps to cure stomach problems, strengthens the weak digestive system and accelerates the secretion of digestive juices.

Who knew that orange seeds could be so beneficial for our health?! So, next time when you eat oranges, don’t throw out its seeds. Comments

About Shubham BhatnagarYou can often find Shubham at a small authentic Chinese or Italian restaurant sampling exotic foods and sipping a glass of wine, but he will wolf down a plate of piping hot samosas with equal gusto. However, his love for homemade food trumps all.

Wait: Oranges Are Dyed to Look “More Orange?!?” Yep. Here’s What You Need to Know

Food dye can be found in a lot of surprising (and seemingly healthy) places—such as yogurt or pickles—but it turns out that even seemingly “whole” foods like fruit can be hiding the unwanted ingredient as well. Yes, some oranges are dyed to make them look “more orange.”

When I first stumbled across this assertion, I didn’t think there was any way that could be true. Turns out, the FDA has been behind this practice since the late 1950s. One of their policy guidelines says, “It is a common practice to color the skins of oranges in certain orange growing areas of the country because of climatic or cultural conditions which cause the oranges to mature while still green in color.”

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More on artificial coloring and food dyes:

  • Artificial Coloring Triggered My Son’s ADHD. Then I Read This
  • Dunkin Donuts Eliminates Artificial Dyes, Still Sells Donuts
  • 10 Unexpected Places You Might Find Food Dye

I grew up in South Florida and I remember the oranges on my neighbor’s trees being a different color than the ones in the store (slightly dingier, more of a beigey-orange), but I just figured he wouldn’t have made a good orange farmer. I never really put two and two together.

According to the FDA, oranges can be dyed in one of two ways. First, an artificial dye called “Citrus Red 2” can be added to oranges “not intended or used for processing.” Translation: If it’s not being made into orange juice, red dye can be sprayed on the peels to make them look more orange. The other way Red No. 2 is added—and it’s worth noting this is usually only done in commercial applications—is through ethylene gas. This speeds up the blanching process, which is normally done right after picking.

Though Citrus Red No. 2 may get the stamp of approval from the FDA, in large amounts it can be harmful to human health. In fact, the NIH’s U.S. Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network says Red No. 2 is “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. Beyond that, there’s speculation of synthetic dyes affecting personality and other aspects of our health (one of our nutritionists says certain types trigger her son’s ADHD.)

But if you’re shopping in the grocery store, you probably wouldn’t know if the oranges have been dyed; unfortunately they’re not required to bear a label declaring the use of artificial coloring. So, how do you avoid Citrus Red No. 2?

Well, you could peel the orange and eat it (red dye can’t be used anywhere other than the peel); you could buy organic oranges (they don’t allow dyes); or you could buy oranges grown in California or Arizona (these states have banned Citrus Red No. 2.)

The bottom line: Our nutritionist, Brierley Horton, MS, RD, says, “If you’re regularly zesting and candying peels, you may want to buy organic oranges. But if you’re making a single recipe, don’t feel like you have to run out to the store. Most people are eating the inside of citrus, and the benefits of what’s inside outweigh the residual dye on the exterior.”

Bought a few too many oranges and not sure how long will they last? 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!

(credit: Graphic Node)

How To Select Oranges at the Grocery Store?

Here’s what the University of California says about picking 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.

(credit: Alireza Etemadi)

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 (CPMA). It’s the go-to option if you know you’re going to use those 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 you’ve already peeled the fruit and have some leftover cut oranges, they belong in the fridge.


If you have too many oranges on your hand, juice some of them. Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C (WIKI), and a favorite breakfast drink for many.

(credit: Mae Mu)

How Long Do Oranges Last

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 (FK).

Whole oranges last about 10 (FK) to 14 days at room temperature, and between 21 days (FK) up to a month in the fridge.

Cut oranges last only about 2 – 3 days in the refrigerator. They dry out quite quickly, and unlikely dried grapes (raisins), dry oranges are no good.

When it comes to OJ, we have a whole article about it.

Pantry Fridge
Whole orange 10 – 14 days 21 – 30 days
Cut orange 2 – 3 days

Please note the periods above are only estimates.

(credit: Xiaolong Wong)

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.

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.


Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Orange juice manufacturers determine the date when your juice will no longer be at its peak freshness, which is what is printed on your juice package. After this date, your juice has the potential to become contaminated with harmful microorganisms, all of which can make you sick. To protect yourself from the effects of food-borne illness, it’s best to toss that expired juice and purchase a fresh bottle.

Juice Doesn’t Age Gracefully

Orange juice, like the fruit it is made from, doesn’t last forever. Once it’s opened your tasty juice can go bad within one week if refrigerated at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Still Tasty website. If you haven’t opened your properly refrigerated juice, it can last up to one week after its expiration date has passed. Freshly-squeezed juice lasts for two to three days if refrigerated. Canned orange juice may last up to one year if kept in a cool, dry cabinet and the can hasn’t been punctured or damaged in some way. When frozen, your juice can last for several months if kept at 0 degrees F or below.

This Juice Smells Funky

Before using any orange juice, especially one past its expiration date, give it a whiff. If the juice smells sour, similar to vinegar or alcohol, it’s gone bad. Spoiled juice may appear darker than usual in color, or the container may have expanded due to the gasses given off by the microorganisms in the spoiled juice. Any visible mold in the juice or anywhere inside the container definitely means the juice has expired and may be dangerous to drink. Not only will spoiled juice taste unpleasantly “fizzy” and sour if you attempt to drink it, it will also carry harmful bacteria or mold that will sicken anyone who ingests it, warns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Harmful Microorganisms Sabotaging Your Juice

Over time, yeast will begin to ferment your orange juice, converting the sugars in it to alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, which is why containers of spoiled orange juice will expand and appear bloated. Once you open your juice, oxygen will encourage the growth of these harmful yeasts, molds and even bacteria. Pasteurized orange juice typically has the longest shelf life of up to one week after opening because the process uses heat to kill all bacteria in the juice after it is made. Unpasteurized juice may contain harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, which will multiply even if the juice is properly refrigerated, leading to food borne illness, warns

Can Something so Small Make Me Sick?

The tiny microorganisms that flourish and multiply in spoiled orange juice can make you sick if you ingest them. After drinking expired orange juice that is spoiled, you may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach upset, according to the Ohio State University NetWellness website. Some types of microorganisms in the juice can also cause more serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, a high fever or dizziness, which require immediate medical attention. Those with a compromised immune system or who are pregnant should avoid any juice that is expired or unpasteurized, even if it seems OK, because it might contain harmful microorganisms in small amounts.


The Meanings of Orange

Orange is vibrant. It’s hot, healthy, fruity and engaging – but it can be abrasive and crass. It’s a polarizing color. People either love it or detest it.

Orange is the only color of the spectrum whose name was taken from an object, the popular fruit – the orange. In nature it’s the color of vivid sunsets, fire, vegetables, flowers, fish, and many citrus fruits. In our contemporary world, orange is the color of marmalade, Halloween, traffic cones, life rafts, cheetos, and Halloween.
Orange symbolizes energy, vitality, cheer, excitement, adventure, warmth, and good health. However, pure orange can be brass; however, it may suggest a lack of serious intellectual values and bad taste.

Orange is currently a trendy, hip color. It was a “groovy color” back in the 70s and then it faded away. In 1991, an article in Forbes magazine about how orange affects consumer choices concluded that orange meant cheap. (Note: “Cheap” in this case meant a good buy for the money.)

It’s worth noting that there are many shades of orange – and different meanings. Some may be more appealing to those who find orange difficult: terracotta or cayenne – a dark orange, persimmon – a red-orange, pumpkin – a pure orange, mango – a yellow orange, salmon – a pink orange, melon – a light orange,.

Darker oranges offer a sense of comfort; some are spicy, some are earthy. Lighter oranges are soothing and healthy.

Global Meanings of Orange

Orange’s global similarities are significant:

Orange evokes the taste of healthy fruits, bursting with juice.

Orange is associated with vitamin C and good health.

Orange is symbolic of autumn.

Children all over the world are drawn to orange.

Orange is the color of life rafts, hazard cones, and high visibility police vests.

Unique Meanings of Orange in Different Cultures

Orange is both the name and emblematic color of the royal family in the Netherlands.

Orange is the color of prison uniforms in the U.S.

Orange (saffron) is a sacred and auspicious color in Hinduism.

The middle traffic light is orange in France.

In the U.K., orange stands for the Northern Irish Protestants and has very strong religious and political significance.

Designing with Orange

Orange is an excellent example of this design rule: There are no bad colors; only bad color combinations.

The complementary color scheme – orange and blue – is dynamic.

The triad color scheme – orange, green, and purple – is exceptional.

How Orange Affects Vision

“Safety orange” is used to set objects apart from their surroundings, particularly in complementary contrast to the azure color of the sky. It’s used for hunting and construction zone marking devices.

Myths about the Effects of Orange on the Body

Orange is used to increase immunity, to increase sexual potency, to help in all digestive ailments, chest and kidney diseases.

Tidbits – Points to Ponder

“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.” Wassily Kandinsky

Nothing rhymes with orange.

Also …
Explore the meanings of more colors!

Find some good color combinations for orange.
Basic Color Theory

Which do you prefer? Pumpkin or persimmon orange?
The Magic & Mystery of Words

How to Tell If an Orange Is Ripe Enough to Eat

Orange Ripening by Variety

Every sweet orange tree (Citrus sinensis) blooms sometime in spring. Depending on variety, however, its fruit takes from seven to 10 months to ripen and stops getting sweeter once picked. So knowing what kind of orange you have is essential to avoiding a premature harvest.

Picking times for the most commonly grown sweet oranges are:

  • April through October: Valencias
  • November through May: Navels
  • October through January: Hamlins
  • February through April: Pineapple oranges — Valencia and Hamlin hybrids.
  • December through May:Blood oranges, depending on cultivar. ‘Moro’ ripens in early December, ‘Tarocco’ in mid-December and ‘Sanguinello’ in February.

Expert gardener’s tip: Ripe Valencias and navels keep on the tree for up to six months but other varieties become bitter if left that long without harvesting.

Reading the Signs

While we’re all accustomed to the golden-orange fruit in our grocery stores, a sunny rind does not a ripe orange make. Oranges get their green color from chlorophyll that masks their orange pigments. If cold weather doesn’t remove the chlorophyll, ripe oranges stay green on the outside while being sweet and juicy on the inside.

As subtropicals, sweet orange trees grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Cold winters aren’t a given, so don’t count on your oranges’ rinds to tell you when they’re ripe.

Instead, choose two likely fruits from opposite sides of the tree. They should feel heavy and firm, with the right size for ripe oranges of their variety. If they’re ready, their stems will pull away from their branches without resisting. But the final test is to slice them open for a sample.

If you’re satisfied with their sweetness and juiciness, eating season has arrived. Expect the rest of the crop to continue ripening at its own pace and pick the individual oranges when they’re ready.

Expert gardener’s tip: If your oranges have thick peels, just twist them from the branches by hand. Thin-peeled fruit bruises easily, so it’s best to harvest it with clippers.

How to Tell When an Orange is Ripe and Ready to Eat

Depending on the variety of orange you’re growing, harvest season may be as early as March and as late as December. Learn when to pick oranges below!

Oranges are often associated with summer, with their bright colors and sweet tangy flavors. But did you know that orange harvests happen throughout almost the entire year?

If you’re a beginner orange farmer, it’s hard to know when your specific species of orange is ripe enough and ready to eat. With all those delicious flavors waiting for you, sometimes it’s hard to wait for the right time.

That’s why we’re here to help you learn when to pick oranges. Keep reading to learn all you need to know to have the best orange harvest possible!

Color is Not The Only Factor

While that iconic bright orange color does make it seem as though the orange should be ripe, that’s not always true. Some oranges, such as satsumas, keep a little green on their peel while still being ripe and juicy.

Oranges turn from green to orange due to the change in temperature. The chlorophyll leaves the peel, changing its color from one to the other. This means the fruits can be orange in color while still needing more time to ripen.

Wait for the Right Season

As you grow your oranges, it’s a good idea to know the specific time to start looking for ripeness. For example, pineapple oranges go ripe anywhere between November and February. Navel oranges, on the other hand, go from November into June.

Each variety has a wide span of months in which they ripen, so make sure to look up your specific variety in preparation for harvesting. If it’s not the right month for your orange species, chances are good that they’re not ready.

Look for Sweet Smells

Ripe oranges have a sweet and fragrant smell to them. As you go through your orange tree looking for the best ones, only pick the ones that have a strong fragrance.

Avoid anything that smells moldy or sharp, as these scents indicate that the orange is not at peak ripeness. Not all oranges ripen at the same rate, so it’s good to be a little extra picky to get the best ones.

Taste Test is Key

The best and most fool-proof method of orange picking is by picking the one you think is good and eating it. It’s an easy test that tells you in an instant whether or not your oranges are right for picking.

If you’re looking to harvest the entire tree, test one for its flavor before taking all of the oranges. Otherwise, only pick the oranges with the same quality as the one you tasted to ensure that you’re getting a similar ripeness!

Knowing When to Pick Oranges Comes With Experience

If you still feel a little unsure about when to pick oranges, that’s okay. Time and experience with your fruit tree make the whole process a lot easier over the years.

When dealing with orange trees, it’s not an exact science and each harvest is different than the next. But after you have a few harvests under your belt, you’ll have a better understanding of how your specific orange tree grows. Harvests will be a breeze after that!

Looking to get started with your very own orange tree? Check out our exotic collection of orange trees and fast-growing citrus trees here!

More Articles Related to Oranges:

  • Everything You Need to Know About Caring for an Indoor Orange Tree
  • Can You Pick a Favorite? Your Expert Guide to Types of Oranges
  • Tangerines vs. Mandarins vs. Clementines: What’s the Difference?
  • 6 Orange Juice Smoothie Recipes to Super-Charge Your Day
  • Eight Steps to Growing Navel Oranges in Containers
  • Bloody Brilliant: The Top Benefits of Blood Oranges


Grocery Buying Guide: How to Choose Ripe Oranges at the Supermarket

There’s nothing better than bringing home a bag of juicy, ripe oranges for baking, drinking, or just nibbling. Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, oranges are a sweet and delicious treat year-round. (You can also put them to work all around the house with these clever new uses for oranges.) But how do you get the perfect ripe orange no matter the season? Here are some secrets to ensuring the most delicious picks:

1. Give ’em a squeeze

Generally, the tastiest orange—whatever the variety—will be firm, full-coloured, smooth and thin-skinned. As you would with most fruits and veggies, steer clear of oranges that are too soft, show even the smallest signs of mold, or feel as though they have bruises. Don’t be afraid of slight scratches or marks on the skin; this is called “wind scarring,” which happens when fruit rubs against the tree branches during windy weather.

2. Go for heft

When you pick one up, you should feel a good amount of weight in your hand, like a small sports ball. This heaviness indicates how much juice is in your orange. Don’t be afraid to give it a sniff. The sweetest and ripest fruits will emit the scent of their juices through the skin.

3. Choose the season’s best

Make sure to pick a variety that is in season. Navel oranges, for example, taste freshest from midwinter to early spring. Valencias are their juicy best from late spring to midsummer. And blood oranges are in their prime from early winter until early spring. (These brilliant hacks can shave 25% off of your grocery bill!)

4. Consider the colour

No matter the variety, your orange should be a bright colour. With navels, look for a vivid, solid orange hue. Ripe Valencias might still have a greenish tinge, as they reabsorb chlorophyll while hanging on the tree during warmer months.

5. Store them properly

Use oranges as a cheery accent on your table (they’ll keep at room temperature for up to a week), or store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. (Here are 20 foods you’re spoiling by putting in the fridge.)

Use these tips to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer!

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