Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

Orange juice is the ideal drink. It’s sweet, but not too sweet and it’s nourishing. OJ is rich in vitamin C, which is important for your health.   

Orange juice is a beloved drink across the whole country. It’s served at almost every breakfast table. Every household goes through the carton so fast they don’t even think about the possibility of orange juice going bad. 

But, does orange juice go bad? Does the orange juice you opened a few days ago belong to the table or in the trash can?

If these questions worry you – we have the solution. Read our article to find out if orange juice goes bad, how to store it, and more!


Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

Orange juice is the drink that complements breakfast foods the best. It’s important to know if it can ruin the day’s most important meal. So, without any further ado: orange juice can, in fact, go bad.

And why? Orange juice goes bad because of the high water content. The water or humidity in general makes the perfect surroundings for the growth of mold and bacteria. Because the orange juice is mostly water, it spoils rather soon and it can spoil your stomach as well.

Store-bought orange juice contains preservatives that prolong its shelf life. However, they don’t make miracles – your favorite drink will still go bad.

The same thing is with freshly squeezed orange juice. It goes bad even faster because it doesn’t contain additives that prevent the liquid from spoiling. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, examine the orange juice thoroughly before sipping it, and follow the guidelines on the carton or the box!


How Long Does Orange Juice Last?

The shelf life of your beloved orange juice depends vastly on certain factors like whether it’s homemade or store-bought. If it’s store-bought – was it bought from the cold area of the supermarket or from the regular shelf?

Store-bought orange juice taken from the shelf has a rather long shelf life. It’s pasteurized to stay fresh for longer periods of time – it usually comes only with a best-by date

A best-by date means the orange juice in question will not go bad after that date, but the quality may be compromised. The manufacturer can guarantee the freshness of the product up to the best-by date. The carton or can of OJ will be good for at least a few months (3-6 months) past that date, provided you keep it in a cool place.

An orange juice bought refrigerated has a much shorter life span, which is stated on the label with a use-by date – usually around seven to ten days. It’s safe for consumption a few days past that date, but don’t push it!

Something to keep in mind: once you open a carton of juice it should be used within a few days, a week at most. This applies to refrigerated bottles, as well as those from the supermarket shelf.

If the orange juice in question is homemade squeezed juice, it’s has a pretty short shelf life. It’s best if you use it up within a few days’ time (3 days at best), considering you keep it in the fridge in the meantime. However, homemade orange juice tastes best when consumed immediately after making.

Related Question: How Long Do Oranges Last?


How To Store Orange Juice?

Proper storage of any product guarantees you will get your money’s worth. If you store it correctly, it will last for a longer time. If it goes bad, it results in having to throw it out – and losing money that way. Consequently, the shelf life of orange juice is mostly impacted by storage.

The store-bought kind of orange juice, straight from the shelf, should be stored according to the advice on the label. That is, store it in a cool and dry place, away from any humidity or sources of heat (a heater, air vent, or a radiator), like a pantry or the kitchen cabinets. Also, make sure that the place is dark enough, as the sun rays can affect the quality, too (especially if the bottle is transparent).

A once-opened container should be used up immediately or placed in the fridge. Never leave it out, it can spoil very soon and make you ill!

If you bought the orange juice from the refrigerated aisle of the supermarket, it should remain at the same place. This type of OJ doesn’t have much or any preservatives, and it will go bad if stored outside the fridge. When you open it, seal it tightly after pouring yourself a cup and return it to the fridge.

When it comes to homemade juice, always keep it in the refrigerator. It will taste differently in a matter of a few hours if it sits out!

Extra tip: if you have too much orange juice for your needs, freeze some in an ice cube tray for up to six months. It will be a perfect refreshment on a hot day!


How To Tell If Your Orange Juice Has Gone Bad

If your cup of OJ looks suspicious, and you’re not sure whether you should drink it or not, read this part carefully. There are a few ways to tell if your orange juice has gone bad and we’ll teach you how. 

Firstly, the quality of the orange juice degrades over time. If the date on the label has passed, it’s more likely that the quality is compromised.

The quality is mostly affecting the taste. The taste will be a bit bland after some time, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone bad – it’s still perfectly safe to consume. On the other hand, if you find the taste to be bitter or just off, your best bet is tossing it.

When it comes to opened bottles of OJ, they have a short window of time before they go off. If the bottle in question is in the fridge for longer than a week – just pour it our, to be safe.

If you’re looking to examine an unopened bottle of juice, look at the packaging first. If it looks swollen, that means that bacteria or mold have affected the juice and spoiled the contents of the package. Discard this orange juice!

The next step is opening the juice and examining the contents. Pour it into a glass and look at the liquid. If there is the sight of mold or sediment, it has most definitely gone bad. If the color isn’t the typical orange, your OJ is surely gone bad as well – It is best to throw it out.

Next step: smell the orange juice. If it smells like alcohol or vinegar, your cup of OJ is no longer fresh and it can give you a stomachache! If it smells fine, it’s time for the final step to make sure it’s perfectly safe for drinking.

Lastly, take a small sip. If the taste is off – it feels like drinking a fizzy drink or it tastes kind of like alcohol – your orange juice has gone sour. Don’t drink it any further, throw it in the trash.

If your carton of juice passed all the tests with flying colors – that’s great news. There is nothing left but to enjoy a cup!


Does Orange Juice Go Bad – Conclusion

Orange juice is the perfect drink. It’s good for your health and it tastes nice. What’s not to like?

We’ll tell you what – the shelf life. Orange juice goes bad after a while. When you buy it off the shelf, you have around 3 to 6 months past the best-by date to use it up.

If you buy it from the refrigerated area, the lifespan is significantly shorter – up to ten days. When it comes to the refrigerated OJ, it’s best to follow the use-by date printed on the label.

Opened cartons of orange juice should be treated the same as the homemade juice – store it in the fridge. Use it within three, four days, or throw it out.

To make sure your orange juice isn’t out to make you ill, take a few moments before drinking to make sure it’s still good. If the packaging looks fine, pour the juice into a cup and look at it. If it doesn’t have mold or sediment, and the color is unchanged, it’s fine to drink.

Time for the sniff test. If the smell resembled alcohol or vinegar – it’s gone off. Throw this orange juice in the trash! If it smells a-okay, take a small sip. If it tastes bitter – it’s time to pour it out.

However, if your cup of OJ looks, smells, and tastes like orange juice – it’s perfectly fine to drink. Time to enjoy it along with your breakfast!

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