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How To Tell If An Orange Is Bad

Oranges go bad eventually just like any other fruit. You can tell if oranges have gone bad by the way they look, smell or if you are brave enough by the way they taste.

You should be able to tell if they are bad before you have to get to the taste part. Sour or fermented smells or bruised, soft, dark spots on the oranges peel are good signs that your oranges have spoiled.

Picking the right oranges at the store, storing them correctly and knowing when they are starting to spoil are important things to know about oranges.

The question at hand is how to tell if oranges have gone bad. Looking them over carefully is the best way to know if oranges have gone bad.

The first signs of oranges going bad are discoloration, mushy brown spots on the peel, or white mold growing on the rind.

4 ways to tell if oranges have gone bad

When you are buying oranges at the store you want to be sure to look them over carefully so that you don’t end up with bad oranges to start with.

These same attributes will help you tell if your oranges have gone bad as well.

1. Look them over

Look over your oranges and if they have any brown discoloration or mushy spots then they are starting to rot. Or the rind might be shriveling as another sign of oranges going bad.

You might see that some oranges have small scars on their peels.

This is ok. It is caused by them getting scraped by the branches on the trees and as long as it didn’t cut the orange peel open, you should be fine.

White on the peel is mold growing, you want to stay clear of those. If they are already cut slices then you may notice green mold growing when your oranges are bad.

2. Give them a gentle squeeze

squeezed orange

Go ahead and pick up each orange and give it a gentle squeeze, you want your orange to be firm. If oranges are bad you will notice that they have soft mushy spots.

Sometimes if oranges are left rotting for too long they will start to ooze juices. These will typically start to grow mold on them as well.

3. How do they smell?

Smell is a common way to tell if fruits are bad. If your oranges have gone bad they will have a moldy or foul smell to them. Fresh oranges do not have much of a smell to them and if they do it is a slight citrus smell.

Any unpleasant smell of your oranges is a good sign that they have gone bad.

Even though this is the outside that you are smelling if they are foul then the inside isn’t going to be any better so toss them out.

4. Taste them

If you really can’t tell then chances are they are probably fine but you can taste them and if they are sour or have a fermented taste to them I would throw them away.

This is a great way to tell if orange juice especially has gone bad.

You can freeze oranges to keep them lasting longer and are great to have on hand to throw right into smoothies!

For more information on how to tell if an orange is ripe, see our post with a complete guide on the signs of ripe oranges.

How long do oranges last?

Oranges typically last about 3 weeks at room temperature from when they are picked. However, it depends on how you store them. Generally, unless you have your own orange tree then you are probably buying oranges that were picked a week or so ago.

With that said, store-bought oranges can last you about 2 weeks on the counter. To make them last you even longer you can store them in the fridge. Refrigerated oranges will last you a couple of months unpeeled.

Once you have peeled or cut up your oranges you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to two days before you will want to discard them.

You can check out my post here on how to cut oranges and I also have another about how to zest an orange which makes for some really good flavors.

Frequently asked questions about how to tell if oranges are bad

Oranges will typically last longer in the fridge than on the counter. The cooler temperatures of the fridge slow down the ripening process and inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria, extending the fruit’s shelf life.

Oranges typically last about one to two weeks at room temperature. However, if stored in the refrigerator, they can last up to a month or longer. Be aware that this can vary depending on the freshness of the oranges when they were purchased.

Yes, if you eat an orange that’s spoiled or rotten, you can get sick. Spoiled fruits may harbor bacteria, viruses, or molds that can cause foodborne illnesses. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort and digestive issues to more serious conditions, depending on the type and amount of contamination.


In conclusion, recognizing when oranges have spoiled is a crucial step in maintaining your health and maximizing the enjoyment of your meals. By observing any changes in color, smell, and texture, and checking for mold, you can ensure the oranges you consume are fresh. This way, you can continue to enjoy the vibrant taste and nutritional benefits of this beloved citrus fruit.

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