6 December 2023

Here’s everything you need to know about the shelf life and storage of clementines. Learn how long clementines last, how to store them, and how to tell if one is bad.

Have you bought a handful of clementines or a bag of Cuties and wonder how long they last?

Or maybe you’re not sure if you should refrigerate them or let them sit on the counter?

If so, this article is for you. Keep reading.

How long do clementines last?

Worktop Fridge
Clementines (whole) up to 7 2 – 3 weeks
Clementines (peeled, portioned) 4 days

Clementines keep up to a week at room temperature and 2-3 weeks in the fridge.. Once peeled or sectioned, they keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container or freezer bag in the fridge.

As you can see, these shelf lives are slightly shorter than oranges and quite similar to tangerines.

If you want to make sure your clementines last as long as possible, choose ones that are relatively firm to the touch (not super soft) and feel heavy for their size. But if what you are looking for is something to snack on today or put in your child’s lunch box tomorrow, choose the ones that are softer.

(Make sure you don’t buy the supersofts; you can find more about that in the section on wear and tear.)

In other words, from time to time, your clementines may start to soften after only a week in the fridge. Unfortunately, that’s the way things are with fruit and vegetable storage, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

If you want to use up those overripe clementines quickly, juice them. Fresh clementine juice keeps for about four days, just like fresh orange juice.

Now, in order for your tangerines to stay fresh for as long as possible, they must be stored properly. Let’s talk about it.

How to store clementines?

You can leave the clementines at room temperature on the counter for up to a week or refrigerate them for two to three weeks.. Regardless of which option you choose, store clementines in a ventilated container or bag.

If you buy bagged clementines, you’ve probably noticed that those bags allow for a lot of air circulation. When you store clementines, try to do the same.

The easiest thing is to reuse that ventilated bag. Or use any other ventilated bag if you buy clementines in bulk. You can also place them in a fruit bowl on the counter or in the fresh produce drawer of the fridge (no bag).

As for the peeled clementines, halves and sections, they should all be in the fridge.. Depending on what you have on hand and what is most convenient for you, you can store them in an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Now we are going to address whether or not you should store your clementines in the fridge.

Do clementines need to be refrigerated?

Clementines don’t need to be refrigerated, but they stay fresh and sweet much longer in the fridge.. Refrigerated clementines will keep for two to three weeks, while those left out on the counter will only keep for a week or so.

And if you’re wondering, most clementine brands, including Cuties, recommend refrigerating their fruit.

In the end, it all depends on the storage time. If you are going to eat yours in a couple of days, feel free to leave them out at room temperature. But if you are not so sure, it is better to play it safe and put them in the fridge.

Can clementines be frozen?

You can freeze clementines, but they soften noticeably after thawing.. Therefore, they do not work well in salads or as a snack, and are best juiced or used in smoothies.

Alternatively, you can juice them and then freeze the clementine juice. To learn more about freezing citrus juice, see my article on how to freeze orange juice.

Let’s look at the two freezing options in more detail.

Freeze Whole Clementines

If it’s clementine juice you’re looking for, freeze the clementines whole. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare. Briefly wash the fruits under the tap and dry them with kitchen paper. If you are going to juice the clementines with a citrus juicer, leave the skin on. But if you use a masticating or centrifugal juicer, peel them. It’s easier now, as the fruit is still quite firm and fresh.
  2. Put it in a freezer bag. Place all the clementines in a freezer bag (or several), squeeze out the air, and seal. Write the name and date on each bag if you want.
  3. Freeze. Place all the bags in the freezer.

And that’s it. Frozen clementines should keep decent quality for at least 3-6 months in the freezer.

When it’s time to juice them, thaw them overnight in the fridge and juice them.

Freeze Sectioned Clementines

If you want to throw a clementine or two into a smoothie, freezing them in sections is the best freezing option for you.

Here’s how to freeze clementines in sections:

  1. Prepare. Wash, peel and section all the fruits.
  2. Prefreeze. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and spread out the sections or wedges in a single layer. Place the tray in the freezer for 2-3 hours, or until the clementines are frozen solid.
  3. Transfer them to a freezer bag. Take the tray out of the freezer and transfer all the fruit pieces to a freezer bag. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag well. Finally, add a name and date tag if you find it useful.
  4. Freeze. Put the bag in the freezer.

Frozen this way, clementines will keep well for at least 3-6 months, but they’ll probably keep decent for much longer.

When you’re ready to enjoy them, you can throw them in frozen (if your blender can handle ice cubes), thaw them for a couple hours in the fridge, or leave them on the counter for 30-60 minutes.

If you go for the latter option, use all thawed sections right away.

(If you want to know more about the subject and perhaps see some photos, read my article on freezing oranges).

How to know if a clementine is bad?

Throw away the clementines that

  • Are super soft to the touch, wrinkled, or oozing water. The three signs mean that the fruit has lost a lot of water and is of very poor quality. If there are no other signs of spoilage, you can probably eat them without getting sick, but I suggest throwing them out anyway. It is not worth squeezing the juice.
  • They are moldy or their shell is badly damaged. Obviously some minor blemishes or soft spots are fine, and you can cut them out. But if the citrus starts to mold, throw it away.
  • Smells bad. Whole clementines do not have a strong aroma. If you can easily smell yours, and the smell isn’t fresh, citrusy, and sweet, discard them. That being said, it’s very rare to find a clementine that smells funny (unless it’s been around fresh meat that wasn’t well wrapped, obviously).
  • They are peeled and rest in the fridge for more than 4 or 5 days. They may not necessarily be broken at the time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

As with all citrus, water loss is the most common sign of spoilage.

If your clementines have been stored for too long, they will rarely rot, mold, or smell bad. In most cases they will be soft and feel light for their size, that’s all. And that’s when you throw them away.

If everything seems fine, peel the clementine and break it into individual sections or segments.

Before you sink your teeth into it, take a quick look at the peeled clementine and give it a good sniff, just in case. 99 times out of 100, everything will be fine, but if you notice something off, trust that instinct and throw the fruit away.

Summary of Shelf Life, Storage, and Spoilage of Clementines

Thanks for reading this guide on clementines. Let’s briefly recap what we’ve covered above:

  • Useful life. Whole clementines will keep for about a week on the counter and 2-3 weeks in the fridge. The peels last about 4 days.
  • Storage. Store clementines in a ventilated bag, container, or anything else that allows air to circulate. Leave them on the counter if you’re going to eat them soon, or refrigerate them if you need more time.
  • Freezing. You can freeze clementines whole if you want to juice them after thawing, or freeze them in parts to add to smoothies and the like. Frozen clementines do not work well in fruit salads or as a snack.
  • they spoil. If your clementine is soft, wrinkled, or leaking water, throw it away. The same if you observe some type of mold or the fruit is badly damaged (bruises, sunken spots, etc.).

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