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How to Make & Use Freeze-Dried Orange Juice

Learning how to make and use freeze-dried orange juice has been a game changer for me. Living in the citrus corridor of Arizona means we have an abundance of citrus. By the end of citrus season, my freezer is bursting with frozen orange, lemon, and grapefruit juice for us to use once the season is over. Unfortunately, there is never enough freezer space for all the juice we need.

I’ve been experimenting with freeze drying, and wondered if we could freeze dry orange juice. (Spoiler alert: you absolutely can freeze dry lemon, grapefruit, and orange juice successfully!)


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.


Why freeze dry orange juice?

Freeze drying citrus juice is my new favorite way to preserve citrus. Dehydrated lemons and oranges are okay, but dehydrating does not capture the freshly-squeezed taste of citrus. I also freeze dried lemon and orange slices. They freeze dried well, but I wasn’t sure how to use the finished product

How & When to Test Your Soil
Freeze Dried Lemon Slices, Zest, and Powder

Freeze drying the juice of lemons, grapefruit, and oranges provides the advantages of fresh juice and the convenience of a shelf-stable dry ingredient.

When our stash of frozen orange juice runs out (and it always does), we miss that fresh-squeezed taste when we drink orange juice from the store. 

Additionally, I am an organic gardener and know exactly what has been used (and not used) to care for my citrus trees. I can’t say the same thing for orange juice (even organic juice) from the store.

How to Make and Use Freeze Dried Orange Juice

5 Steps for Making Freeze-Dried Orange Juice


As you begin these steps, I assume you know how to use your freeze dryer. I have a Harvest Right medium freeze dryer. It couldn’t be easier to use – you push a button to start. If you aren’t sure how to use your freeze dryer, this article shares freeze drying tips for beginners. The freeze drying process is the same for other types of citrus juice, including lemon and grapefruit.

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer
Harvest Right Medium Freeze Dryer with Premier Pump

1. Allow the juice to separate, and pour off excess liquid

Most fresh-squeezed orange juice will separate (the heavier pulp goes to the bottom and the clear liquid part of the juice is on the top) and needs to be mixed before drinking. Instead of mixing it up, allow the juice to separate. If you pour off (save it and drink it) the clear liquid part of the orange juice, it cuts your freeze drying time in half. The resulting freeze-dried powder has a stronger flavor.


2. Don’t overfill the trays

I filled the trays to the rim in my first batch, and then had to clean up a mess inside of the freeze dryer. The juice expands as it freezes and the moisture is extracted. 

Fill the trays no more than ¾ full to allow room for this expansion.


3. Check that the juice is completely dry before ending the process

When the freeze-drying cycle is complete, check all of the trays before hitting ‘done’. Make sure all of the juice is completely dry. It should not feel sticky. If some trays are still sticky, add additional time.

Plan on the juice (with liquid poured off) taking 24-30 hours to process. The juice (without liquid poured off) can take 48 hours or more to completely dry.


4. Process the freeze-dried orange juice into a powder

  • Use a spatula to remove the freeze-dried juice from the pans. 
  • Break up the pieces of freeze-dried juice a bit with a potato masher. 
  • Put the smaller pieces in your blender to blend into powder form.
  • You can also put the broken-up pieces of freeze-dried juice directly in a jar and use a tamper to make into powder.

5. Store the freeze-dried orange juice powder in jars or mylar bags

I’m planning on using my freeze-dried juice within a year, so I stored mine in canning jars with leak proof lids. For longer storage, use mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Using a funnel and scoop made this process easier. 

How to Make and Use Freeze Dried Orange Juice
Completed Freeze-Dried Orange Juice Powder

How to use freeze-dried orange juice

To reconstitute freeze-dried orange juice as juice, use 1 part powder to 4 parts water

1 cup juice = 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) powder and 1 cup water.

1/2 gallon juice = 2 cups powder and 8 cups water.

1 gallon juice = 4 cups powder and 16 cups water.

Add more or less powder to taste as desired. 

  • Stir the dried orange juice powder into the water. It will dissolve quickly.
  • For larger amounts, use a whisk or plunger-style pitcher.
  • As with fresh juice, after a while the juice will separate. Stir before using. 

Other ideas for freeze-dried orange juice powder include: smoothies, marinades, homemade ice cream, desserts, orange rolls, and any recipe calling for orange juice or flavor. 

orange rolls
Orange Rolls (they are SO GOOD!!!)

Don’t have a freeze dryer?

Purchasing a freeze dryer is undoubtedly an investment. My freeze dryer runs almost nonstop, and I’m grateful to have one. I have the medium-size freeze dryer with the premier pump from Harvest Right.

If you purchase a freeze dryer, please consider purchasing through my affiliate link. (It doesn’t cost you more, and I earn a small commission.) Your support helps me continue providing free content on my blog and YouTube channel. Learn more about how to freeze dry here.


If you enjoyed this post about how to make freeze-dried orange juice, please share it:


Danette

Sunday 7th of April 2024

Do you find that certain varieties of oranges are better/worse for freeze drying the juice? I've heard that some varieties don't taste great when reconstituted?

Angela Judd

Thursday 11th of April 2024

Hi Danette, I wouldn't use navels - but other varieties should be fine.

Chelle

Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Hi! Just pulled lemon juice out of the freezer dryer. The juice that was pre frozen is still sticky while the unfrozen juice turned black like it's burnt. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Angela Judd

Saturday 1st of July 2023

I haven't had that issue with it turning black. I'm not sure what that would be. If it's still sticky then I process it for longer.

Carolina

Monday 8th of May 2023

This looks great, but I was wondering whether the original orange juice you started with, was 100% orange juice or did it have water mixed in? Asking because when we do freshly squeezed orange juice (we don't mix with water) we don't tend to see much separation (at least not as evident as in your photos). Please can you clarify? Thank you, it's a great idea!

Angela Judd

Monday 8th of May 2023

I didn't add any water - mine does separate quite a bit after sitting for a while. We stir it before we drink it.

Steve

Monday 27th of March 2023

I have found that pre freezing liquids such as milk or eggs will not only reduce your freeze dry time but also will fix the expansion/ overflow problem. Another way to tackle that problem is when doing liquid you adjust your freeze temp to -20. This takes a long time. Either method allows you to fill the trays almost completely to maximize the yield of each run. Assuming the same for the O.J. going to juice about 300 oranges today and give it try.

Elli

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

Hi, For this freeze dryer that you used, how many ounces of joice will fit on a tray (medium version). Thanks!

Angela Judd

Saturday 12th of November 2022

I put 32 oz. in each tray. That made them just over half full.