Oranges stay fresh for about 3 to 8 weeks in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator and will spoil in even less time when stored at room temperature. This can leave you scrambling to use them before they rot. If your family can't eat a large number of oranges before they go bad, try different types of preservation or whip up dishes that make use of your orange surplus.
Set aside those cartons of concentrated juice in favor of squeezing your own fresh orange juice, using either a manual citrus juicer or a juicing machine. Oranges release more juice from the pulp if you warm them first with a quick 30 seconds in the microwave. Roll them on a counter with your palm while applying light pressure before peeling or cutting the oranges. Juice can be extracted from any type of orange, but juice oranges such as Valencia are known for an abundance of sweet juice. If you can't drink it all right away, freeze the excess orange juice in ice cube trays and pop the frozen cubes in a freezer bag. These individual juice cubes work well for making sauces and glazes.
The naturally high level of pectin in citrus fruits makes oranges a suitable fruit for making marmalade or chutney, sweet and savory fruit spreads similar to jellies and jams. Marmalade makes use of the entire orange, including the pulp, rind and orange juice, which are cooked down in a saucepan with sugar -- approximately 1 cup of sugar for every whole orange in the batch -- until the mixture thickens. Unlike perfectly clear, smooth jelly, bits of the orange peel are left in the translucent marmalade. Try orange marmalade as a spread for toast in place of jelly or jam. Chutney is similar to marmalade, but incorporates savory spices to take the spread from the breakfast table to a place beside the main course at dinner. Chutney might include ingredients such as onion, cinnamon, chiles, vinegar and ginger.
Cool and refreshing frozen orange desserts make use of orange juice and a bit of the zest for flavor. Sherbet and sorbet are very similar except sherbet has a creamier taste thanks to the addition of dairy. Dissolve sugar in fresh orange juice in a saucepan to make a base for the sherbet or sorbet. Stir in the milk or cream, as called for by your recipe, and refrigerate the base until well chilled. Turn the concoction into frozen sorbet or sherbet with an old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream maker or a modern ice cream machine. If you don't have an ice cream maker on hand, turn sorbet base into granitas. Place the base in the freezer and stir once every 30 minutes or so to break up the frozen chunks, eventually resulting in a granular dessert similar to shaved ice.
Not to be confused with dairy-based curds, orange curd has the look and texture of custard but is made with orange juice. Simmer eggs, egg yolks, sugar, orange juice, orange zest and butter in a saucepan until the mixture thickens to roughly the consistency of custard or pudding. Cool the curds in a bowl wrapped with plastic wrap. Transfer the liquid to jars or similar storage containers, refrigerate, and use within one week. Try the orange curd spread over a croissant or muffin. Other citrus fruits can be added to the orange curds, including lemons and tangerines.
- University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources: Oranges: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
- The Kitchn: Cara Cara Orange Curd
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Preparing and Canning Chutneys
- Fine Cooking: Triple Orange Sorbet
- Fine Cooking: Orange Sherbet
- Fine Cooking: Clementine Granita
- Food & Wine: Orange Curd