The Shelf Life Of Clementines And How To Store Them


If you enjoy clementines, you might notice they don’t last as long as you’d like. You can extend their life easily. Therefore, what is the best way to store clementines?

The best way to store clementines is by storing them in the refrigerator where they can keep fresh and juicy for two weeks. Keep them in a mesh bag or well ventilated container placed in the refrigerator’s produce draw.

This article will examine the refrigeration storage method step-by-step. For longer or shorter periods of time, I’ll inform you how to store them properly on the counter or in the freezer. In addition, how to tell if one has turned bad and the shelf life for each storage method.

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How To Store Clementines in the Refrigerator

Storing clementines in the refrigerator is the best way to keep them fresh and juicy for the longest period of time 1. Therefore, let’s answer the question, how do you store clementines in the fridge?

How to store clementines in the fridge:

  • Keep or place the clementines inside a mesh bag.
  • Place the clementines into the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
  • Check for rotten clementines every few days and discard any bad ones.
  • Refrigerated clementines will keep up to two weeks.

Most clementines already come in a mesh bag. Using that mesh bag is ideal. If you don’t have a mesh bag, a well ventilated container can be used. The container must have ventilation all around the clementines like a mesh bag does.

If you don’t have the appropriate mesh bag, place the clementines loosely in the drawer. Be careful about placing other items on or near the fruit. The bag is ideal for protecting them against bruising, excess movement and damage.

Do not store the clementines inside a plastic bag or container without any ventilation 2.

Do not wash the clementines until it’s time to eat them. Even if you’re not eating the skin, they should still be washed before peeling or cutting. Bacteria can be transferred to the flesh from the skin while peeling or cutting 3.

Wash each clementine separately under running water. Placing them together in a bowl or sink filled with water can spread contamination from one clementine to the other 4.

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Storing Clementines on the Counter

It’s possible you may know the clementines will be eaten sooner than two weeks or you’ve just bought a few to eat. In this situation, can you leave clementines on the counter?

Clementines can be left on the counter in a mesh bag or a container ventilated on all sides up to one week. They should be kept in a cool area away from sunlight or source of heat.

Storing the clementines at room temperature is not the most effective method to keep them fresh for longer, but if you choose to do so, there are some tips to keep in mind 5.

Be sure to store clementines in a basket that is open on all sides, preferably in a mesh bag or container. Usually, the packaging they are sold in will do just fine. 

Keeping clementines in a sealed container will make them spoil faster, as a lack of oxygen around the clementines will promote mold growth speeding up the rotting process. 

When storing at room temperature, another thing to keep in mind is to keep them away from any direct sunlight or heat. Exposing them to either of these elements will increase the risk of any spoilage or growing mold. 

If your dishwasher or stove area is away from sunlight, they produce heat and the clementines shouldn’t be kept close by. The same with the top of a refrigerator or inside a cabinet.

Kitchen appliances like an air fryer, blender or coffee maker all generate heat released into the surrounding air. Be sure to avoid all these areas.

If you can’t find a suitable location in your kitchen, consider a dark corner of the dining room.

How long do clementines last at room temperature? Clementines can last up to one week at room temperature. Keep them in a cool area away from sunlight or heat in a well ventilated container or mesh bag.

How to Store Clementines in the Freezer

If you know the two weeks in a refrigerator is not long enough, you’ll want to consider another longer-term storage method. This situation will lead to the question, can you freeze fresh clementines?

Clementines may be frozen and stored in the freezer for up to one year. The clementines should be washed, peeling and sectioned while removing any seeds. The clementine sections should be flash frozen and then placed into an airtight plastic freezer bag.

How to freeze clementines:

  1. Wash each clementine under running water.
  2. Peel off the skin.
  3. Remove as much of the white membrane as possible.
  4. Separate the sections and remove any seeds.
  5. Place the sections onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Ensure the sections are not touching each other.
  6. Place the baking sheet into the freezer until the sections are fully frozen.
  7. Remove the baking sheet and transfer the frozen clementine sections into plastic freezer bags.
  8. Remove as much excess air as possible and seal the freezer bag.
  9. Date the bag and store in the freezer up to one year.

Freezing them spaced out on a baking sheet first ensures the frozen sections don’t stick together into huge blocks 6. This makes it easier to pull out as many sections as you need. This especially helps when making a smoothie.

Smoothie Tip: Adding frozen fruit like clementines, instead of ice, enhances the flavor and nutrient content of the drink.

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Without a sealer, close the top of the bag leaving a small opening to fit a straw through. Suck the excess air out of the plastic bag and quickly close the top after removing the straw.

Some people prefer freezing the clementine sections submersed in a syrup 7.

How to freeze clementines in syrup:

  1. First prepare the syrup by combining 2 3/4 cups of sugar with 4 cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Heat the mixture at medium to high heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and it is clear.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
  4. Wash each clementine under running water.
  5. Peel off the skin.
  6. Remove as much of the white membrane as possible.
  7. Separate the sections and remove any seeds.
  8. Place the sections into an airtight freezer safe plastic or glass container. Do not fill it more than three-quarters full.
  9. Pour the syrup into the container until the clementine sections are covered leaving at least one inch of empty head space at the top.
  10. Seal the container securely removing as much excess air as possible.
  11. Date the container.
  12. Place the container into the freezer up to 12 months.

Can you freeze whole clementines? Freezing whole clementines is not recommended because the taste and text of the fruit will get significantly damaged during the freezing process. The frozen clementine will be very mushy when defrosted.

When you freeze anything with liquid inside of it, the liquid will form tiny ice crystals. These ice crystals will break down the clementine at the cellular level. Once the crystals form, they are extremely sharp to the soft tissue of the fruit 8 .

The freezing affects the entire clementine. When you freeze them whole, they will become very mushy. Therefore, they won’t be great used as slices or wedges once defrosted.

How to Defrost Clementines

It’s time to use the frozen clementines but now what? Let’s answer the question, what is the best way to thaw frozen clementines?

The best way to thaw frozen clementines is to transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator. The length of time for defrosting varies on the size of the frozen sections.

If you don’t have much time to wait, you can place the frozen clementine bag into a bowl of cool water. This will defrost the frozen clementines much faster. Don’t leave them out on the counter in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than two hours.

If you’re using frozen slices for a smoothie, they can be placed directly into your high-speed blender.

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How To Store Peeled Clementines

Let’s say you peeled the clementine and used some of the sections, but not all of them. Instead of eating the rest, you’d rather store them than throw them away. You may wonder, how do I store peeled clementines?

Peeled sections of clementines should be stored in the refrigerator up to two days. Place the sections into a bowl or food storage container. The top of the bowl should be covered tightly with plastic wrap or the food container sealed securely with its lid.

The peeled unused sections of the clementine should only remain out on the counter for no longer than two hours before refrigerating them.

How to Dehydrate Clementines

Dehydrated fruit, including clementines make a great snack. I often bring them with me when hiking. They’re the perfect snack while enjoying the view at the top of the mountain. Let’s examine how to dehydrate them with or without a dehydrator. First with a dehydrator.

To dehydrate clementines:

  1. Wash each clementine under running water.
  2. Peel off the skin.
  3. Remove as much of the white membrane as possible.
  4. Separate the sections and remove any seeds.
  5. Spread the slices onto the dehydrator tray.
  6. Coat the slices with lemon juice.
  7. Dehydrate at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 hours.
  8. Store the dehydrated slices into a vacuum sealed bag up to one year.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, your oven will have to go below 200 degrees, not all of them do. The ideal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the clementine sections onto a baking sheet and bake at 165ºF for eight hours.

How To Store Leftover Clementine Peel

The peel can be used for many purposes and sometimes it’s a waste to throw it away. This may lead you to wonder, what can I do with leftover clementine peel?

Leftover clementine peel can be turned into a zest and frozen for long-term shortage.

How to make clementine zest and storing it in the freezer:

  • Wash and dry the whole clementine.
  • Remove the zest with a peeler or zester. Be careful and only remove the skin and not the white pith.
  • Place the zest in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Place the tray into the freezer until the zest is completely frozen.
  • Place the frozen zest into plastic freezer bags and remove as much excess air as possible.
  • Date the bag and store the frozen clementine zest for up to six months.

How Long Does It Take for Clementines To Rot?

When stored at room temperature, clementines typically last around one week. When refrigerated, they can last up to two weeks. After these time periods, they can become soft, turn green and grow mold. 

A clementine is the hybrid love child of the willow-leaf orange and the mandarin orange. High in Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and anti-inflammatories, clementines are rife with health benefits just a bite away. 

Storing the clementines at room temperature means they will last for about a week. Be sure to keep them in their mesh packaging, away from sunlight, moisture and heat. 

Like all perishable produce, with time, they will eventually go bad and turn rotten. At this point, the clementine has lost all of its nutritional benefits.

How To Tell If A Clementine Has Gone Bad

When trying to determine whether or not the clementines are spoiled, there are several essential things to look for as indicators the fruit is no longer edible 9. 

How to tell a clementine has gone bad:

  1. The skin is wrinkled.
  2. It smells foul or fermented.
  3. They feel soft and mushy.

The Skin Is Wrinkled

Throughout their structure, clementines should have a bright orange coloration typically without flaws. If you notice the skin has become wrinkly, it could signify it is starting to rot. 

If you see green spots or mold forming, that’s another significant indicator the clementine is no longer good to eat. Mold is usually fuzzy and green or white in appearance. 

If the clementine appears to have dark or black spots, this is most likely from bruising or mishandling in the grocery store or during shipment. It is not typically harmful to ingest a bruised clementine.

It Smells Foul Or Fermented

A ripe and edible clementine should have a sweet or citrus-like smell. If you observe any foul or rotten odors coming from the clementines, it’s likely they have gone bad.

In addition, look for a fermented yeasty smell, as this means the clementine’s sugars are breaking down into alcohols. 

They Feel Soft or Mushy

Clementines in prime condition should have a firm feel to them. If you notice it feels loose or wrinkly upon touching the skin, they are beginning to rot. If the surface has begun to feel slimy or fuzzy, the clementine is definitely past saving. 

Read Next – More Food Storage Articles!

Reasons Why Storing Meat Is Important

How To Store Your Eggs In Lime Water

A Guide To Storing Olives

How To Store Your Bread Dough

7 Ways To Store Meat In The Freezer Without Plastic

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Cuties Citrus: Unwrap Sweetness With Cuties Clementines[]
  2. The Seattle Times: How to store citrus fruit to make it last[]
  3. University of Purdue: Mandarin Orange[]
  4. University of California: Oranges: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy[]
  5. Fruits & Veggies: Clementine[]
  6. Utah State University: Fruit Freezing Methods[]
  7. National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing Citrus Fruits[]
  8. Ohio State University Extension: Food Preservation: Freezing Fruits[]
  9. Sunkist: Why Fresh Citrus[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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