Can you freeze orange juice? We all know that fresh orange juice doesn’t last long. If you have ever considered freezing it, this article is for you. In it, we talk about how freezing affects OJ, when it makes sense to freeze it, and how to go about it.
Maybe you’ve squeezed too much fresh orange juice, and don’t want it to spoil. Or have some leftover store-bought OJ and no plans of using it. Either way, freezing might be the solution you’re looking for.
Can You Freeze Orange Juice?
When we ask “can you freeze product X?”, we actually want to make sure that freezing won’t ruin it. And when it comes to orange juice, the cold temperature treatment definitely doesn’t. But it’s not like that glass of OJ will be the same after freezing and thawing.
Thawed orange juice looks like this:
As you can see, the color isn’t consistent anymore: the top looks more watery, and the bottom somewhat darker. And that’s exactly what happens: it separates a bit, and some of the pulp goes to the bottom.
Of course, you can stir it or shake the jar vigorously, but that only helps so much. My wife can still easily tell the difference between a fresh and thawed one. The thawed one is more watery, and the taste slightly altered. For me, it’s no biggie, but it might bother some of you out there with more sensitive taste buds than mine.
So does that mean you shouldn’t freeze OJ?
Not necessarily. There are quite a few ways you can use frozen and thawed orange juice where the minor change in consistency and taste doesn’t matter at all. You can find a couple of examples later in the article.
Make sure your OJ is still okay to drink before freezing it. That means checking it visually, giving it a good whiff, and taking a tiny sip to make sure everything is a-okay. If it already sits open in the fridge for like a week, toss it out – freezing won’t freshen stale juice.
If you have too many oranges on hand, and don’t want to freeze them, juicing and freezing the juice is the way to go.
How To Freeze Orange Juice?
Before we get to freezing, let’s talk about pulpy orange juice.
If you’re squeezing oranges yourself and leaving some of the pulp in or buying a more pulpy variety in the supermarket, you should strain the liquid before freezing. Pulpy orange juice tends to become thicker, and the pulp becomes more dry and flaky when frozen and thawed.
Okay, now we’re ready for freezing. The whole thing takes only a couple of minutes tops, so let’s get to it right away. Here’s how to go about it:
- Choose container and portion size. You can freeze orange juice in an airtight container, mason jar, an ice cube tray, or even in the carton or glass bottle it comes in. If you already know how you’re going to use it, choosing one of the listed options is easy. If you don’t, go with an ice cube tray. It makes a bunch of small cubes that are super versatile to use.
- Pour the juice into the container(s). Make sure you leave some headspace because the liquid expands when frozen. That means sticking a full bottle or carton into the freezer is a no-go.
- Put into the freezer.
- (optional) Repackage if needed. If you’re using an ice cube tray, consider transferring the cubes to a container or freezer bag once they are frozen. This way, you can use the tray for other purposes.
How long does it take for the juice to freeze, you ask?
Well, that depends on your container of choice and the volume of liquid. If you’re using a small ice cube tray like me, it shouldn’t take longer than 2 to 4 hours. But a whole glass bottle might take anywhere between 6 to 12 hours – the larger the volume, the longer it freezes.
You can keep the OJ frozen for months on end. Of course, the sooner you get to it, the better its quality, but a week earlier or later won’t make much difference.
How To Defrost Frozen Orange Juice?
As usual, there are a couple of methods to choose from, depending on your needs. Here they are:
- Defrost overnight in the fridge. Thawing in the refrigerator is the safest option, but it also takes quite a long time. That means you need to plan ahead. Just put the container on one of the shelves and leave it there for 6-12 hours, depending on the volume.
- In lukewarm water. To speed things up a bit, you can submerge the container or bottle in lukewarm water. Please note that it still takes a couple of hours for the juice to thaw completely.
- Throw in frozen. For some uses, frozen orange juice is what you need. If that’s the case, there’s no need to defrost it first.
If your thawed orange juice turns out pulpy, strain it before using.
What about refreezing?
If you’ve thawed the juice in the fridge, feel free to refreeze the leftovers.
Of course, an additional round of freezing and thawing will only degrade the quality even more, so try to avoid that if possible. That’s why choosing portions that work well for how you’re going to use the juice is so important.
How To Use Frozen or Defrosted Orange Juice?
Here are a couple of ideas:
- To flavor water on a sweltering day. Use them instead of ice cubes.
- In smoothies. If you’re adding ice cubes, use OJ cubes instead. Or add thawed for additional flavoring.
- Baking. If you add OJ when preparing the dough, defrosted orange juice usually works perfectly fine too.
- Anything mixed that orange juice is only a small part of. The slightly altered taste is only apparent when you drink it as-is. If the thawed OJ is only a small part of the whole, like in a cocktail, the difference is minimal.
About the Author
Marcin is the managing editor of CanYouFreezeThis.com. He is making sure all the freezing info on this page is accurate and the posts easy to digest and use.