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Can Orange Juice Go Bad?

Can orange juice go bad? Many people drink orange juice often, but not everyone knows how long does it last or whether it goes bad.

If you drink orange juice at least every once in a while, it’s good to know about those things. This article will provide you with all the info you need.

How long does orange juice last?

The answer to this question depends heavily on the kind of orange juice we’re talking about.

If it’s a freshly squeezed juice, it’ll be fine for a few days, provided you store it in the fridge.

If it’s a commercially canned or bottled orange juice (it’s stored on shelves, unrefrigerated) that’s unopened, it’s fine for a year, maybe year and a half, sometimes even longer, provided you store it cool area, like in the pantry. It has that long shelf life because of the preservatives added to the juice.

Once you open the package, orange juice will be fine only for a couple of days, maybe a week. Once it’s opened, you should store it in the fridge and it should be sealed.

Glass of orange juice and a straw
(credit: Pocky Lee)

You can also find orange juice sold refrigerated. If that’s the case, you should know that that kind of juice in most cases contains only a little amount (or no at all) of preservatives, so it goes bad fairly quickly.

You should store it in the fridge and consume it within a week, maybe one and a half. Those juices usually have a “use by” date and you shouldn’t keep them for much longer than those few days  stated on the packaging.

As a rule of thumb you can assume that orange juice is fine longer than its expiration date says. That’s especially true when it’s still unopened. Opened juices go bad pretty fast and it doesn’t really matter what kind of juice it is (fresh, commercially bottled or sold refrigerated).

Kid drinking orange juice
Image used under Creative Commons from Biscarotte

Does orange juice expire? How to tell if orange juice is bad?

So, as you probably know by now, orange juice expires. Once the bottle, can or carton is opened, its contents go bad fairly quickly, even when the juice is stored properly (meaning sealed and in the fridge).

The last important issue is to know how to tell if your orange juice is bad, or not.

It’s not that difficult at all. Firstly, you should examine the visual appearance of the juice. To do that, you need to pour it into a transparent vessel.

If you can’t find any discolorations (if the juice is only a little darker than normally, it’s fine) or signs of mold, try smelling it. If it doesn’t smell funny or strange (meaning it’s odor is quite normal), taste a little bit of it. If the juice is off, you’ll definitely notice that its taste is terrible.

One thing worth remembering – if the juice is opened for a few days too long already, it’s better to assume that it’s spoiled (and try proving otherwise by examining the mentioned factors) than that it’s fine.

Girl drinking OJ
(credit: Piotr Chrobot)

So, you should know by now that the answer to the question “can orange juice go bad?” is affirmative. It can go bad and it does go off pretty quickly once you’ll open the bottle.

It’s fairly easy to spot that your juice is off – your senses will tell you whether it’s safe to drink juice that has been stored for a pretty long time, or not.