Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

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Nothing is a more refreshing picker-upper in the morning than a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice. It is common knowledge that orange juice has plenty of health benefits. It is packed with nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and folates and is also rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of fiber and good for your digestive health. It also boosts immunity and promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails. It is an added bonus that it tastes amazing and is so readily available everywhere.

Orange juice can be made from different varieties of oranges like navel, blood orange, mandarins, clementines, and so on. Besides this, orange juice is also available with pulp, extra pulp, and no pulp. While orange juice is one of the easiest juices to make at home, it is also one of the most commercially manufactured juices out there. Everyone loves orange juice and there are plenty of options to choose from.

Despite its huge popularity, we don’t really know how long orange juice lasts; if it can spoil, and how best to store it. For more information about the best way to store and enjoy your orange juice, read on.

Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

Orange juice does go bad, like any other food out there. But because there are so many orange juice options, the date of expiry varies from one to the other. Orange juice can last for anything from a few days to a few years if unopened. But once opened, it starts decaying pretty quickly.

How Long Does Orange Juice Last?

  • An unopened bottle or box of orange juice that is shelf stable will last for 3 to 9 months in the pantry without a problem. Shelf stable orange juice is usually found on the shelves in the nonrefrigerated section of the grocery store. It has a lot of additives and preservatives, which is why it is shelf stable.
  • An unopened box of shelf-stable orange juice does not need to be refrigerated, but it will be fine if it is. Similarly, freezing shelf-stable orange juice is not necessary but it will keep in the freezer for about 10 months.
  • Once you open the shelf-stable orange juice though, it has to be refrigerated within two hours of opening it. It will be good in the fridge for about 5 to 10 days.
  • An unopened bottle of refrigerated orange juice will need to be refrigerated as soon as possible. It will last outside for about 2 hours, but after that, the taste will start going down as the quality will deteriorate.
  • The orange juice will be good in the fridge for about 7 to 14 days if stored properly.
  • Once the refrigerated orange juice has been opened, it will be good in the fridge for about 5-10 days. Again, the orange juice will not last outside for more than 2 hours.
  • You can freeze this orange juice and it will be fine for about 10 months.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice has the shortest life span because it is completely natural and organic with no preservatives to extend its shelf life.
  • Like any other opened bottle of orange juice, freshly squeezed orange juice will be okay outside for about 2 hours, after that refrigerate it if you don’t want it to start souring. The orange juice will stay in the fridge for about 2 to 3 days.
  • If you want to extend the shelf life of fresh orange juice, then freezing it is a good option. It will be good for about 3 to 10 months.
  • Canned orange juice has the longest shelf life of the lot. It will be good in the pantry for about a year. Once you open it, it has to be refrigerated and it will be good for about 1 week. If you want to freeze it, the canned orange juice will last in the freezer for about 10 months.
Types of Orange JuicePantryFridgeFreezer
Unopened bottle of shelf-stable orange juice3-9 months3-9 months10 months
Opened bottle of shelf-stable orange juice2 hours5-10 days10 months
Unopened bottle of refrigerated orange juice2 hours7-14 days10 months
Opened bottle of shelf-stable orange juice2 hours5-10 days10 months
Freshly squeezed orange juice2 hours2-3 days10 months
Canned orange juice1 year1 week10 months

The above table is an estimate. Most packaged orange juice will come with a best-by or sell-by date. This is the date by which the product is expected to reach peak quality. If ever in doubt, go with the date on the label.

How Best To Store Orange Juice?

  • It is pretty straightforward to store orange juice and does not require too much extra work.
  • An unopened bottle or box of orange juice that is shelf-stable will be good in the pantry for 3-9 months. Store it in a dark, cool place and away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • Once you open it, it has to be refrigerated. Make sure the lid is tightly closed and is airtight.
  • Non-shelf stable orange juice cannot be kept out for too long. Longer than 2 hours and the juice starts souring, whether opened or unopened. So, remember to refrigerate it.
  • Once you open it, store the orange juice in the fridge.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice has a much shorter shelf life. It will last in the fridge for about 2-3 days provided it is stored in an airtight container and the lid is tightly closed.
  • Canned orange juice has a very long shelf life because it has a lot of preservatives and is commercially canned and packaged to last longer. It will be fine in the pantry for a year. If you do decide to open it, you will have to finish it in a week’s time as after that it starts losing its flavor.
  • If you are looking at extending the shelf life of orange juice, any variety, then freezing it is a good option. Whether it is shelf-stable, refrigerated, or fresh, the orange juice needs to be stored in a freezer-friendly, airtight container. Once frozen you can enjoy the orange juice for about 10 months.
  • To freeze orange juice, first, pour it into an ice tray and freeze. Once it sets, transfer the frozen orange juice cubes into a freezer-safe pouch or bag. This way, you can take out just the amount you need.
  • To thaw, just leave it in the fridge overnight or leave it out for 20 minutes to an hour.
  • Keep in mind that frozen and thawed orange juice will have a different taste. The orange juice will be more diluted, and the flavors will be milder. Do not refreeze thawed orange juice as it will start affecting the taste and texture of the orange juice.

How To Tell If Your Orange Juice Has Gone Bad?

  • If your orange juice box is bloated or leaking, it is the first indication of spoilage.
  • If the orange juice has a funky smell instead of its refreshing, citrusy smell, then it has gone bad.
  • If the orange juice has mold on it or has things floating or growing on it, then it is time to toss it.
  • Finally, check the taste. If the orange juice is bitter, then it should not be consumed anymore.
  • Orange juice will always smell and taste fresh, light, and deliciously tart, if it is anything else, your orange juice has likely gone bad.

After tea and coffee, orange juice is the pick-me-up that people need and use in the mornings. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice is the best way to start the day. If you are looking for ways to enjoy your juice longer, store it with some extra care and compassion.

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