For as long as I can remember, we’ve always had a citrus juicer in the house.
It is a member of the kitchen countertop permanent trio, together with the coffee machine and sandwich maker.
Orange juice, or OJ as it is referred to here in the USA, is the liquid squeezed out of any orange fruits, and you can make a cup right at home or buy packed juice at the store.
You do not want to leave it in the open for a long time, because it can go bad from the multiplication of germs that feed on its sugar.
Consuming bad OJ can lead to serious illness or death from food poisoning.
That is why is important to be concerned about OJ going bad, and the reason we came up with this article.
Additionally, to avoid preservatives from store-bought juice, we were discussing using reusable bottles to pack homemade juice recently, and one of the questions that came up was, how long does orange juice last? So keep reading to learn more.
What’s Orange Juice?
Orange juice is the liquid extract of orange fruits, removed by reaming or squeezing the fruit.
You can make orange juice at home by using a manual handheld citrus juice extractor, a juicer, or a blender.
This juice can be packed fresh or concentrated.
The difference between the two is the process that each goes through before packaging.
Fresh orange juice is squeezed, pasteurized, blended, stored, and packed from storage after some time.
It can have some additives and preservatives depending on the company processing it.
Juice from concentrate is 100% fruit juice that has been concentrated by removing the water.
This concentrate is easier to keep for a long time and is lighter to transport.
Water is added to liquefy the juice, together with some preservatives and additives, before it is packaged.
OJ is a good source of vitamins C and A, folate, calcium, and iron.
Potential health benefits of orange juice include supporting the immune system, healthy foetal development, and lowering the risk of kidney stones.
However, do not overindulge- OJ contains a significant amount of sugar.
How Long Does Orange Juice Last? Does Orange Juice Go Bad?
Yes, OJ will start to go bad beyond the best before, best-by or use-by date, and in a few hours for freshly made juice.
The following is its shelf life depending in where and how it is stored:
- Unopened sold unrefrigerated: in the pantry until 3 to 6 months beyond the best-by date.
- Opened sold unrefrigerated: in the fridge after opening for 7 to 10 days.
- Unopened sold refrigerated: in the fridge for 3 to 5 days beyond the use-by date.
- Opened sold refrigerated: in the fridge after opening for 7 days.
- Fresh orange juice: in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
OJ can be frozen, which is the one way to keep it without going bad for a long time.
OJ for freezing should not have stayed longer than 7 to 10 days after opening the container.
If you buy your packed orange juice from the open shelf, it means that the product is pasteurized to kill all harmful bacteria and has a shelf life of one to two years, as indicated by the best-by or best-before date on the pack or bottle.
OJ sold refrigerated has a much shorter shelf life from the date of packaging and will have a use-by date that you should adhere to closely.
The quality of the OJ will decline with time, just like any other juice or food.
The rate of deterioration accelerates once you open the container.
Even when the drink is placed in the fridge or frozen, you will notice it will not taste as good as it did when you first opened it.
If you find the taste of the OJ unpleasant, then you may want to discard it.
Although it is still safe to drink, there is no point in drinking bad-tasting juice or, worse, risking food poisoning.
How to Tell if Orange Juice is Bad?
The following are some of the signs to look out for when determining if your O has gone bad, and the causes of it:
- Swollen container: The bulge is a sign that micro-organisms are multiplying, causing fermentation, which produces gases that make the container protrude. It could also mean that the drink is contaminated, and deadly botulism is developing. In either case, dispose of the drink; do not attempt to drink it at all. .
- Sour or vinegar smell: the smell is a sign of fermentation, caused by bacteria or fungi. The container may not be swollen because it had a leak that allowed the gases out. If the drink has been out for some time or in the fridge for a long time, open and sniff it to tell if it is going sour, and if it is, throw it away.
- Sediments in the drink: these can be a result of mold. To check for this, pour some of the OJ into a transparent glass so that you can see the liquid. Look closely as you pour and as the liquid settles, to make sure it has a normal color and that there are no floaters. If there are any, it means it is not fit for consumption.
- Alcohol taste or fizziness: yet another sign caused by fermentation. Taste should be the last check if the drink passes all others. Pour and drink a little. If it tastes off or has bubbles, discard it. .
If it doesn’t show any of the signs above, then the drink should be okay to drink.
Regardless, if the drink has remained opened and in the fridge for longer than two weeks, for a store-bought drink, or more than a week for homemade fresh juice, it is best to assume it is spoilt and discard it anyway.
Orange juice is easy to make and available all year round, thanks to the processes that juice makers employ to extend its shelf life.
After you buy your drink, it can be kept for a few more days and remain tasty and safe to drink.
If you got it from the unrefrigerated section at the store, and it remains unopened, then keeping it in the pantry and consuming it up to three months past the sell-by date is fine.
Once opened, the OJ starts to decline in taste and should be tested before consumption to check if it is still safe.