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Best way to store citrus fruits and what to do with them when they start to go?

Tis the season for bags and boxes of gorgeous citrus, but I just can't seem to get it to keep. It dries out and wilts so quickly. What are the best ways you've found to store citrus and how long does it keep?

And, when you buy the big bag of clementines and can't eat them all, what's your favorite way to use citrus that's just beyond its eat-by date?

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  1. What is a "eat-by date"?

    You can keep citrus fruits, like your clementines, on the counter for at least a week. For longer storage, store them loose in your crisper or veggie bin in the fridge.

    1. tons of threads about how to use up a surplus of lemons or lines - you can use most of the ideas for other types citrus as well, to make everything from marmalade to dried slices or candied peel. or zest the fruit first, freeze the zest, and then juice the fruit and freeze the juice.

      1. Stored in the fridge they should last weeks, if not a couple of months. They don't dry out as much in their if you keep them wrapped in paper, esp. if they come wrapped.

        For using up two ideas:

        1) citrus salad--just oranges and grapefruit segments, with all membrane and pith removed. It's simple but surprisingly easy to eat three oranges and a grapefruit in one sitting this way. You can gussy it up with liquers, etc, but it's very good plain.

        2) juice. When I used to get overwhelmed with my gift box, I'd juice the oranges. Absolutely delicious. Again, you can down 3 oranges in one glass. It feels decadent somehow to use them for juice, but it really was a great use for them.

        1. Growing up we kept boxes and boxes of oranges and grapefruit for a couple or more months in the garage after harvest. The fruit needed cold to cool temperatures, dry, and disposal of anything going mouldy at once.

          1. I've been keeping lemons and limes in a brown paper bag in the fridge for a couple of months in some cases. The outsides get kinda gnarly but they stay nice and juicy.

            1. Before retiring, I was a mail carrier. I can tell you that gift boxes of Florida citrus did not fare well in our rather warm building. If we had to leave a delivery attempt notice because the recipient was not home and there was no safe place to leave the carton, it sat in the PO awaiting pick-up or redelivery arrangements. It would be held for 10 days before disposal, and often the building was permeated with the smell of rotting fruit. Perhaps some of the fruit was past-ripe when boxed, or bruised in transit.

              1. I zest the fruit and store it in little ziplock baggies. I squeeze all the fruit into jars and leave them in the fridge. I always have lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit juice on hand for a marinade or salad dressing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheesecake17

                  I usually zest it into a bowl, and squeeze the juice on top. Mix together, and freeze in an ice cube tray, then dump them out into a ziploc bag and put back in the freezer. Great for quick lemonade! Alternatively, sorbet is always good. I think I do about a tablespoon of vodka (or rum, or whatever's around) per cup of fruit juice, and throw into the ice cream maker until frozen. (I sometimes add sugar and sometimes don't)

                2. To echo a post above, juice them! Nothing tastier than really cold, fresh orange juice with a little grapefruit to cut the sweetness. Also: add to smoothies!
                  I made a carrot bread last week that used orange juice and zest, and with fresh juice it was really great. The bread had a nice floral note, I'm not sure if it was the juice that made the difference or not though.

                  1. My father brings back boxes of citrus from Arizona. He greases the fruit with vaseline and then boxes it up and keeps it in his tool shed where it is cool and shaded. He checks the boxes every couple of days and takes out the moldy ones promptly. The fruit last for several weeks until he comes home and gives it away. It will keep this way in the basement for several more weeks. Lemons don't keep well however. This method really only works for oranges and grapefruit. I suggest you grease the fruit and refrigerate it. The grease acts similar to the food grade wax the processors put on produce.

                    1. I've had the best luck storing lemons, limes and oranges in Ziploc bags in the crisper drawer.