Does Orange Juice Go Bad? Answered (2023)

Found an old bottle of orange juice during spring cleaning? Chances are it is past its expiry date by at least a few weeks. Can you still drink it? It depends on how it was stored and whether you opened it.

So, let’s dig into our main question – Does orange juice go bad?

An unopened bottle of orange juice lasts 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. With an opened one, its shelf life is 7 to 10 days. Toss it in the freezer, and you get 3 to 6 months of shelf life, depending on how fresh it is.

How Long is Orange Juice Good For?

How long the orange juice last is decided  by the kind of juice you purchase and where you choose to store it. Whether it was opened also decides its shelf life. With commercially produced orange juice, you will see a best-by date. That is usually a good indicator of the timeline.

If you have canned, unrefrigerated juice past its expiry lying around, it could still be okay. Opening the pack reduces its shelf life drastically. Once opened, you get about 7 to 10 days of shelf life when refrigerated. Unopened juice will last you 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. With homemade juice, you are looking at up to 2 to 3 days in the fridge. 

ParametersRoom TemperatureRefrigerationIn the Freezer
Refrigerated and unopened1-2 weeks3-6 months
Unrefrigerated and unopened3-6 months3-6 months
Refrigerated and opened7-10 days3-6 months
Unrefrigerated and opened7-10 days3-6 months
Canned juice1 year7 days
Home-pressed juice2-3 days3-6 months

Avoid leaving it without refrigeration, especially if refrigerated once. If you have no immediate plans of drinking it, consider tossing it into the freezer. This way, it will last 3 to 6 months.

When it comes to homemade juice, avoid storing it in the pantry at all costs. Keeping freshly squeezed juice at room temperature can lead to spoilage in a few hours. You can refrigerate it instead and enjoy it for 2 to 3 days.

fresh orange juice in glass

How to Store Your Orange Juice?

Do you like to purchase a lot of juice cartons? It is important that you know how to store them. Otherwise, you risk your juice spoiling sooner rather than later.

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There are 3 ways to storage Juice. Let’s look at each of them:

1. Room Temperature

Canned or pasteurized orange juice can be left on the counter, in the kitchen cupboard, or in the pantry. This is because the additives in them make them self-stable. Always store them in a dark, dry area until opened. Once opened, toss them right into the refrigerator.

Bought a glass bottle of Orange juice? Make sure it is away from light and temperature fluctuations. Keep it on the bottom-most shelf of the fridge, close to the floor. That ensures the lowest temperature. The bottle should be tightly sealed for it to last longer.

2. Fridge

If you have opened or home-pressed Orange juice, always toss it into the fridge. Try to expose them to room temperature as little as possible. Do not store an opened pack in the fridge door to avoid spoilage from temperature fluctuation. Always seal the cap tightly before refrigerating it. This will keep odors from other foods from seeping in.

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If you plan to make juice at home, buy fresh fruits and run them under warm water. Clean all bottles before pouring the juice. Using glass bottles is helpful in understanding whether your juice is still fine. People often refrigerate open juice cartons, but I suggest against it. Transfer it into another container to avoid chemical reactions between the juice and the can because of the high acid presence. You do not want your drink getting contaminated and its flavor changing.

squeezing oranges

3. Freezer

I suggest freezing your juice than to toss out the leftovers. Always pick BPA-free storage containers as bisphenol A amps up chances of diabetes, heart disease, and elevated blood pressure. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays. Add the cubes to lemonade, sangria, and cocktails, or use them to cook different recipes. 

Remember, freezing the juice for over 6 months in the freezer frees it of all nutritional value. Make sure you note the date of freezing on the lid or anywhere else on the container so that you know when to consume it. If you want to thaw it, move it to a clean storage container, stir it frequently, and enjoy it. Without stirring, the solid parts of the fruit could become detached from the liquid. This makes it taste bitter and unusual, even though it is not quite spoiled (yet).

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Water will thaw quicker than the fruit particles, so avoid drinking it quickly after thawing it. Refrigerate it for a few hours before drinking it.

Signs Orange Juice Has Gone Bad

Orange juice is at its best when freshly squeezed out, or a new pack is opened. But remember, its quality will degrade with time. If you plan not to drink an opened juice box in the same week, chances are it will go bad.

Let’s look at the tell-tale signs of spoilage:

1. Bloated Pack  

Is your juice box looking swollen? It could be that some gas has accumulated inside. This is as clear a sign that your juice is no good and is best tossed into the bin.

2. Smell

You can recognize the fresh citrusy aroma of orange juice as soon as you do a little sniff test. But when you pour some into a glass and smell a rancid, vinegar-like rotten smell, it’s time to throw the juice out right away.

3. Sedimentation

Sometimes when you get a brand of Orange Juice with thick and mushy juice, some sedimentation is okay. But if you notice lumpy bits in an otherwise clear drink, it is a sign that the liquid is no longer fit for consumption.

4. Color

We all know the bright yellow shade of Orange Juice. So when it changes, you know what to do. If you see your orange juice turning pale or becoming darker than usual, it is surely spoiled.

identifying bad oranges

5. Mold Growth

When you store juice for too long, you will notice green or white mold growing on the surface. Needless to mention, drinking that can be dangerous to health. Fungi and mold growth usually accompanies a pungent and unpleasant odor. Be on the lookout for that as well.

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6. Taste 

This should be the last straw to determine if your juice is fit for consumption. Pour it and take a sip. This will tell you all you need to know. If there is a different flavor than how it originally was, avoid drinking it. The moment it tastes sour and emits a bitter and rancid odor, it’s best to toss it out.

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Why Avoid Spoiled Orange Juice?

Consuming expired juice might cause serious harm to your wellbeing. If the best-by date has already passed, the juice begins to degrade, even when refrigerated. The juice begins to ferment as sugar turns into alcohol. Gradually, pathogens, mold, and bacteria like E. Coli, Salmonella, and similar toxins can begin developing in the juice.

Drinking rotten orange juice will cause stomach upset and food poisoning. You experience vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. You might require medical care if you have consumed a lot of spoiled OJ. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can you get food poisoning from orange juice?

Ans. With freshly squeezed or raw fruits and veggies, bacteria from the produce often end up in the cider or juice. If the juice or the produce is pasteurized or treated to destroy bacteria, you are safe. Otherwise, if the juice is contaminated, the chances of food poisoning are valid.

Q2. Can orange juice give you salmonella?

Ans. Unpasteurized OJ contaminated with Salmonella can be a vehicle of transmission. Ironically, 97% of people already ill with something else consume orange juice to feel better. But it has been found that OJ can be a strong risk factor in their illness.

Q3. What bacteria is in spoiled orange juice?

Ans. A thermoacidophilic spore-forming bacterium, Alicyclobacillus can ruin acidic juices. It grows at 20 to 70°C temperatures and at a pH level of 2.5 to 6.0. Since its recognition as a spoilage bacterium in fruit juices, it has been a point of concern for the juice industry.

Q4. What happens when orange juice oxidizes?

Ans. Oxygen from the surroundings that gets trapped in the spaces between the vesicles of the juice saturates the juice over time. This causes oxidation reactions that often lead to changes in aroma, browning, and loss of nutrients.

Q5. Does old orange juice turn into alcohol?

Ans. Once you open a carton of orange juice, it is exposed to yeast present in the atmosphere. The yeast begins fermenting the sugar in the OJ, forming CO2 and alcohol. This makes the juice fuzzy.

The Bottom Line

Orange juice is healthy and can be consumed to boost health. But remember its shelf life to ensure you are healthy and safe while also enjoying your drink. Orange juice will last a maximum of 10 days after being opened. Drinking it after that period can make you severely sick. 

The moment you notice signs of spoilage, toss the juice out to avert health scares. After all, you would not want a drink that is supposed to make you healthy, posing health concerns instead. 

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.