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I was wondering if freezing an orange would make it easier to peal and remove most/all the pith.

I want to make an orange smoothie, so having it frozen would be a good thing, but I have no idea if it would make it easier or harder to peel.

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The white stuff is called "pith". –  Mrs. Garden Dec 20 '10 at 16:32
    
ah, yes. thank you. –  Echo Dec 20 '10 at 16:33
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3 Answers

It's not easier to peel. There just isn't much of a good easy way to peel oranges. If you freeze them, they will be harder because they are frozen. If you heat them up, perhaps they might be easier, but heating fruits up after freezing them doesn't make for the best fruit. If you freeze a fruit that has a peel, your best bet to peel it is to hold it with a cloth and use a good knife to cut the peel, then pull it away with your fingers. It's not easier than peeling an unfrozen orange but if you need frozen oranges for smoothies or to store for later use, it can be done. You can also peel and slice the oranges before freezing them too.

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I generally don't mind a little pith, but for dishes where I need it all removed or when I'm presenting slices to friends, I generally use my knife to peel. There's a good video example available here, basically you cut off the end, stand the orange up, and make downward cuts to remove the peel.

Once you get the hang of it it's a fast process, which will probably be very helpful if you're buying in bulk and want to freeze them (peeled) them all at once.

As bikeboy389 mentioned, I've been told that you can roll the orange (or lemon or lime) with some slight pressure on the counter, to loosen up the peel from the fruit.

I was also told that microwaving it for 15-45 seconds first helps as well (as discussed in this Instructables), but I haven't tried this and can't speak to its effectiveness. I did see a comment on the page that said to poke it first so it doesn't explode...I think I'll stick with the knife technique!

Oh, one more thing, I did try freezing bananas in their peel before, and had a heck of a time peeling them. Since they're easier to peel fresh than oranges are, I'd assume a frozen orange would be very difficult.

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Well, it wouldn't cost much to figure it out! I'll try a guess, though, and say that it will make peeling MORE difficult. The peel will be stiffer, and I think the pith might be even more likely to stick to the orange flesh, and maybe less likely to stick to the outer peel. But I'd like to know what your results are if you test it.

I'd say if you're having a lot of trouble peeling your orange, I've heard that giving it a good squeeze before starting can help, and there are also some easy-peel varieties out there now.

And of course the pith won't hurt you and unless you leave almost all of it, you're not likely to notice it after you run it through a blender with the rest of the orange!

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I'll have to try freezing it when I get home. I haven't simply ignoring most of the pith and maybe taking off the large easy pieces. I'll try that out. And it's not like I make the smoothies very thin either, I do make them very thick but still drinkable without a straw or spoon. –  Echo Dec 20 '10 at 18:29
    
+1 for truth. plus, your fingers will go numb in the 20 minutes it takes to peel the stupid thing (experience :p) –  dani Dec 21 '10 at 16:56
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