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Can Coconut Water Go Bad?

Found a rogue bottle of coconut water sitting in the cabinet for who knows how long? It’s likely nearing its best-by date, or maybe it’s passed it already. And you’re wondering: can coconut water go bad?

If it were soda, you’d probably drink it without giving it a second thought. But for coconut water, you’re not quite sure if that’s a good idea. Plus you don’t know how to tell if that drink is spoiled or not. And you definitely don’t want to quench your thirst by chugging a bottle of spoiled coconut water.

All of that means it’s time to take a couple of minutes to learn about storage, shelf life, and signs of spoilage of coconut water. Let’s get going.

Drinking coconut water
(credit: Joey Nicotra)

Can Coconut Water Go Bad? How To Tell If Coconut Water Went Bad?

I’m sure saying coconut water can go off doesn’t come as a surprise. Like almost all food out there, sooner or later it will spoil.

There are a couple of signs that your coconut water is spoiled ([HH]):

  • carbonation (coconut water is not soda, it shouldn’t bubble)
  • strong smell (its aroma should be subtle)
  • sour taste, instead of coconut-y and sweet
  • thickened consistency

If either one is present, discard the coconut drink.

An important thing to note here is that coconut water sometimes turns pink. That happens when antioxidants in the water interact with light, and such pink liquid is perfectly safe to drink ([HH]).

Coconut water with a straw
(credit: Derek Story)

How Long Does Coconut Water Last?

When it comes to the shelf life of coconut water, observe the best-by date on the label. There are many brands out there, with various packaging methods (bottles, tetra packs, in a coconut), and each one comes with their own shelf life.

The date on the label is a best-by date, so the drink should be okay for some time past that date. How long exactly? That depends on how long is its shelf life. One that’s supposed to last 12 months should retain quality for an extra month or so. If, on the other hand, its supposed life span was only a month, I’d give it no more than an extra week. And if the coconut drink is nearing or past its date, always check for signs of spoilage before drinking.

When it comes to open coconut water, it keeps quality for between 48 hours ([VC]) and five days ([HH]) of opening, depending on what the producer says. Like with soda or Gatorade, coconut water is best fresh. If you notice that it doesn’t quite taste as good as it used to, throw it out.

Coconut ready to drink
(credit: Ethan Hoover)

How To Store Coconut Water?

Long story short, you should store coconut water the same way it was kept in the supermarket where you bought it.

If it was on a shelf, the pantry or a kitchen cabinet is perfect for storing it. Make sure the place is dark and away from sources of heat, just like you do with soda or beer.

If, on the other hand, the coconut water was in the refrigerated section, you should keep it in the fridge at all times.

There’s no standard way of storing coconut water because the production process varies among manufacturers. Some brands add preservatives to the water to make it shelf-stable, while others go additive-free and often require storing the product in the fridge.

Once you open the bottle or package, always keep the leftovers in the fridge.

In a Nutshell

  • Carbonation, strong smell, and sour taste are sure signs that coconut water has gone bad.
  • For unopened coconut water, observe the date on the label. The liquid should stay at peak quality for some time past that date.
  • Finish open coconut water within 2 to 5 days. The quicker you go through it, the better the taste.
  • Store coconut water the way it was stored when you have bought it. If it was refrigerated, it goes to the fridge. If not, a cabinet in the pantry is okay.
  • Leftover coconut water goes into the refrigerator.