Photo: Getty Images / lacaosa

Thanks for the gift basket, mom.

Jaime Ritter
November 29, 2017

I grew up in South Florida, and I’m truly convinced oranges just don’t taste as delicious anywhere else. Every year for Thanksgiving, my parents make the drive up to Birmingham and bring me a 10-pound bag of Florida oranges (bless you, mom and dad.) For a few days, I greedily eat my precious oranges —likely resembling Gollum from Lord of the Rings—but then panic sets in. I usually store oranges in a bag on my countertop (I think the refrigerator tends to dry citrus out), but they only last about a week before they start to take a turn for the worse.

I hate wasting food, so I turned to Ann Pittman, Cooking Light’s executive editor and citrus queen, for tips on how to extend the life of my precious oranges without sacrificing their taste.

1. Freeze Them

Gently remove the skin of your oranges with a paring knife, and segment the oranges, removing all membranes and seeds. Store them in a freezer-safe zip-top bag for up to a year.

2. Make Juice

A great option to use up an abundance of oranges is to make juice (we love this juicer, $99, Amazon.) Fresh orange juice will last for 2-3 days in a clean, tightly sealed bottle or jar.

3. Make Concentrate

To make homemade orange juice concentrate, juice your oranges and pour into a freezer-safe plastic container. Another option is to pour your juice into ice cube trays, freeze, and pop the ice cubes into a zip-top bag. You can defrost as needed; frozen juice will last for 3-4 months in the freezer.

4. Infuse Your Favorite Liquor

Southern Living has a delicious recipe for orange-infused bourbon, and you can follow these steps for infusing almost any liquor: Using a vegetable peeler, remove orange peels in wide strips, cutting from top to bottom following the curvature of your fruit. Remove bitter white pith from peels. Reserve orange segments for another use. Combine bourbon and orange peels in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with lid, and let stand in a cool place for 1 week. Remove and discard orange peels. Use in your favorite cocktails.

Not into booze? Try hydrating with this delicious orange-infused water

5. Brighten Up a Recipe

We love using oranges in both sweet and savory applications. Here are some of our absolute favorite recipes:

Shrimp and Orange Salad

Honey Orange Pork Tenderloin

Kale Jicama Orange Salad

Orange-Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

Blood Orange Radicchio Salad

Orange-Tarragon Pan-Roasted Vegetables

Orange-Mango Gritty with Turmeric and Walnuts

Cinnamon-Orange Pinwheels

Orange-Sage Whole-Wheat Pull-Apart Rolls

6. Freeze the Zest

Zest your oranges, and put the zest in a freezer-safe zip-top container. The bright boost of flavor is particularly lovely when oranges are out of season, and you can use frozen zest for up to a year.

7. Make Candy

Candy orange zest, store in an airtight container, and enjoy for up to a month. You can use the sweet-tart candy as a garnish, serve over ice cream, or pair with chocolate for an elegant after-dinner treat.