Everyone dreads the ominous sniff test of the orange juice that’s been in the fridge a while.
Even worse is the large gulp of what you think is fresh orange juice that turns out to be more like vinegar.
So I wanted to share some of my knowledge on this question: when does orange juice go bad? I’m going to explain how long orange juice lasts, the best way to store it and how to know if your orange juice is still safe to drink – without actually tasting it!
Freshly Squeezed vs Store-Bought Orange Juice
There can be a big difference between fresh orange juice you juiced at home and orange juice you bought at the grocery store, like Tropicana or Minute Maid to name a couple.
Store-bought orange juice will generally last longer than freshly squeezed because it has more preservatives in it. However, you have the knowledge that fresh orange juice you make at home is healthy and doesn’t have anything added to it that you don’t want.
So if you’re looking for the healthiest option, homemade orange juice is the way to go.
How Long Does Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Last?
The best time to drink fresh orange juice is the same day that you squeezed it. That’s when it’s freshest and most delicious.
If you made your orange juice using a citrus press, it should last about three days – just make sure you’re refrigerating it. If you used a centrifugal juicer (the one with a spinning blade) instead of a citrus press, then it’ll probably only last about 24 hours or at most a couple of days. This is because the fruit gets heated up when it’s juiced, which can affect its shelf life.
You should also consider how fresh the oranges are that you’re juicing with. If they are beginning to go bad when you squeeze them then, naturally, the juice won’t last as long.
So try to have your orange juice on the day that you make it but if you can’t do that, then keeping it in the fridge for 2-3 days is what I’d recommend.
How Long Does Store-Bought Orange Juice Last?
If they’re unopened, it can take up to a year for some store-bought orange juice to go bad. I know – mental!
If you look carefully at the expiration date and best by date on your orange juice, it’ll usually give you this date a year in the future, but it’ll tell you that once it’s open, you should consume your orange juice within a few days.
It can vary from brand to brand but generally, once you’ve opened store-bought orange juice, you should drink it within a week or two. However, this can vary depending on how long you left it sealed after buying it, whether or not you’ve stored it in the fridge, etc. So treat two weeks as a guideline!
How To Tell When Your Orange Juice Has Gone Bad
Generally, you can tell pretty quickly when your orange juice has gotten past its best. However, we’ve put together some tips you can use so you’ll always know that your fruit juice is fresh juice.
You Can See Something Floating In It
One of the surest ways to tell your fresh orange juice ain’t so fresh, is if you can see signs of mold. When orange juice goes bad, little spores start to grow inside it and the bottle. If your bottle is clear, you’ll see them floating around in the liquid. These can be harmful bacteria and definitely shouldn’t be drunk!
If your orange juice comes in a carton and you can’t see inside, then give it a shake with the lid on and pour some juice into a glass. Look carefully and you’ll be able to see if there’s anything there that shouldn’t be.
If you’re looking at it carefully to spot signs of mold, then check the color too. If you notice any discoloration, then your orange juice probably isn’t worth drinking.
Orange juice has a very distinctive, fresh smell that most of us love. You can use this to tell if your juice is still fresh.
Take a sniff of your juice. If it smells acidic – like vinegar – then it has either gone bad or is very close to it. If you can’t smell that fresh, citrus smell, then steer clear.
It Tastes Bad
Hopefully you will have tried out the first two tips and avoided this option, but you can rely on your tastebuds to tell if your orange juice is past its expiration date.
If it doesn’t taste right, then it probably isn’t!
But what actually happens if you drink orange juice that’s gone bad?
What Happens If I Drink Out Of Date Orange Juice?
This can vary depending on the circumstances. It can depend on how far past its best by date the orange juice is and how you’ve stored it.
If your orange juice is only a day or two out of date, then you’ll probably be fine – just don’t drink a lot!
However, if your orange juice is way past its best and you drink a lot of it before you realize your mistake, then it’s likely that you’ll suffer food poisoning symptoms: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Usual food safety rules apply with orange juice, so while drinking out of date orange juice isn’t seriously harmful, it’s very unpleasant, so takes steps to avoid the health risk.
What’s the Best Way To Store Orange Juice?
Knowing how long orange juice will last is all well and good but you need to know how to store it properly! We’ve gathered all the things you need to know, no matter your orange juice needs.
Keep It In the Refrigerator
This one is a little obvious, but I’m saying it anyway. Your orange juice will last longer if you keep it in the fridge, rather than at room temperature – the same as most fruit juice.
If you live in a hot climate, or there’s just a lot of sunshine on a particular day, try to minimise the amount of time your orange juice is out of the fridge. Heat will make it go bad quicker.
Use Clean Bottles
If you’re juicing your own oranges, make sure you’ve got a proper juice bottle to store your juice in. You should also thoroughly clean it between uses to make sure nothing gets left behind, since this will make your orange juice spoil sooner.
I personally like glass bottles the best. They keep any kind of fruit juice nice and cool, and are sturdy – the fewer scratches in your bottle, the fewer places orange juice can get stuck. Glass is good for food storage on the whole, really.
If you prefer plastic, the go with a BPA-free option, since these are better for you, especially if you’re using them over and over again.
Use Tins Stored in Cool Place
If you have tins or cartons of long-life orange juice, keep them in a cupboard out of direct sunlight and preferably somewhere cool. If they get too hot, they’ll spoil even if they’re unopened.
Once you open them, make sure you pour the orange juice into a different container (one of the ones above would work great) before putting it in the fridge.
Try to avoid keeping tins in the fridge! Tin and iron can leech out of these containers and leave a strange taste behind in the rest of your refrigerated goods. This isn’t good for you, so keep tins in the cupboard.
Tips For Making Orange Juice Last Longer
I’ve mentioned a couple of tips earlier in the article but I’ve brought it all together here to make sure you’re able to keep your orange juice fresh for as long as possible.
Use Fresh Oranges
If you’re juicing your own oranges – which I recommend, since they have a higher nutritional value which is important if you’re looking for that Vitamin C – then use oranges that are as fresh as possible. Keep your oranges in the fridge before you juice them. If you’re juicing them manually, then this might make the process a little harder but an electric citrus press will make it easier.
Using cold oranges rather than ones at room temperature is good because it keeps the temperature low during the whole juicing process, minimising the chance for harmful bacteria to grow while you’re juicing your fruit.
Once you have your orange juice, keep it in a clean container in the fridge. When you’re using it, only have it out of the fridge for as long as you have to, since this will keep it fresh for longer. And if you can, go for a glass container – save the planet!
Can You Freeze Orange Juice?
Yes! This can be really useful if you have a huge pile of fresh oranges that you couldn’t possibly juice and drink all at once.
Frozen orange juice will stay fresh for around 3-6 months but it’ll lose some of its nutrients over time – bye, bye Vitamin C. However, it’ll still taste delicious.