Does Orange Juice Go Bad? (Here’s What To Look For)

Orange juice, as far as beverages go, it’s one of the best. Definitely top tier, and I won’t hear it from anyone who wants to argue otherwise.

It’s so refreshing and nothing will taste as nice and quench your thirst as well on a super hot day as a cold glass of OJ.

It makes the perfect mixer for bountiful cocktails and boozy beverages, and it can even be a real hangover cure the morning after necking back those boozy drinks.

It’s versatile, appropriate for any time of day, and can be really nutritious.

Does Orange Juice Go Bad? (Here’s What To Look For)

So it really doesn’t surprise me that it’s found in pretty much everyone’s refrigerator.

But what about that lonely carton that has tragically been forgotten and discarded right at the back?

Yep, the one hiding behind all your milk, cheese, and veggies. Is it okay to drink?

It can be hard to tell. It doesn’t have quite the same pungent whiff that you get from expired milk and it doesn’t always look gone off either.

Most of the time, you’ll probably just chuck it straight in the trash, in fear of a bad taste or a potentially poorly belly. But what a waste of that delicious drink.

I’ve done the research so you don’t have to. And in this article, we’ll take a look at whether orange juice does go off, and how to check for the signs of bad OJ.

Can Orange Juice Go Off?

Orange juice has plenty of great qualities, and I’m a big fan of the stuff, but unfortunately, it is not immune to going bad. Sigh.

How great would it be if orange juice could last forever? But alas, it can and will go bad if it’s left for long enough.

This happens because the liquid oxidizes over time and tiny microorganisms that we can’t see sneak their way into our favorite drink – how dare they?

When this happens the color of the drink changes slightly and you’ll notice that it no longer tastes nice. Instead, it’s really sour.

But what about if I don’t open it? I hear you ask. It still goes bad, I answer.

Yup, unfortunately even if you haven’t opened your orange juice, if it’s left long enough, it’ll still go bad.

This is because the sugars that are inside the drink turn into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Basically, the drink will start to ferment and become a beery wine-like drink. And while that might sound pretty scrumptious, it really really isn’t. Trust me.

How Long Does Orange Juice Last?

You’re probably thinking now, well then how long will it take for my orange juice to go off?

Well, that will all depend on the type of orange juice that is in your refrigerator.

The outlook isn’t great if it’s freshly squeezed with pulp, you may have more luck if it’s store-bought. You can thank the additives for its longer shelf life.

  • Freshly Squeezed – Freshly squeezed orange juice really won’t last all that long, especially if it has pulp in it. I would recommend drinking this the day it is made, though you may be able to squeeze in an additional couple of days.
  • Unopened Store-Bought (From Fridge) – Orange juice that is purchased in the refrigerated part of the store tends to be drinkable up to 14 days after the Best By date. Once it has been opened, you’ll want to guzzle it down within 7 days.
  • Unopened Store-Bought (From Shelf) – Orange juice that is purchased from the shelf in a store tends to have the longest life of all orange juice. Because it is pasteurized you can have as long as a year or two before that orange juice needs to go in the bin. Though you have more self-control than me if you can go that long without drinking it. Once you open it up though, you’ll have just 7-10 days to finish it before time is up.
  • Frozen Orange Juice – Technically, if your orange juice is frozen, it should last infinitely. Though I wouldn’t recommend it. With time, the juice will start to lose its flavor. And who wants to drink flavorless OJ? Not me, that’s for sure. I’d recommend drinking it within four months of it being frozen.

How To Store Orange Juice?

The best way to go about storing your orange juice is to essentially copy the store you purchased it from.

If you bought orange juice that was refrigerated, pop it in the refrigerator when you get home. If it was sitting on a shelf, pop it in your cupboard.

However, once it’s been opened, regardless of how it was stored originally, it will need to go into the refrigerator.

If you’ve made it yourself and it’s freshly squeezed, it’s a refrigerator job. And don’t forget about its short lifespan.

If it’s pasteurized (from the shelf) you want to also try and keep it in a cool and dark place as any drastic changes to the light and temperature will affect its taste.

Once you’ve opened it up and had a sip, it’ll need to go straight to the refrigerator where it will be kept nice and cold.

If you’re freezing your orange juice, the taste should be fine when it defrosts although its nutritional value will drop.

How To Tell If Your Orange Juice Has Gone Bad?

How To Tell If Your Orange Juice Has Gone Bad?

So, it’s time for the all-important part. How do you tell if your orange juice has gone nasty?

This is something that you’ll want to know because, besides the awful taste and bad smell, drinking gone-off orange juice can actually be pretty bad for you.

If you guzzle down those reproducing microorganisms that are now invisibly floating around in your drink you can expect a fun night of stomach cramps, nausea, and if it’s bad enough a whole lot of vomiting and diarrhoea.

And no one wants that.

So let’s take a look at some of the ‘my orange juice has gone bad’ signs that you can look out for to spare you from that unpleasant experience.

  • Sniff Test – Give that orange juice a whiff. Does it smell sharp and sour? Does it smell a little bit like vinegar or alcohol? If you answered yes – it’s trash time.
  • Dark Spots/Color Test – When you’re looking at the container are there dark spots? When you pour some out into a transparent glass is the color a little different? A little darker? If yes – it’s trash time. Those dark spots are actually mould, something you won’t want to swallow.
  • Bulging Container – Is the container bulging out a little bit? You know the drill, if yes – it’s trash time. This is a clear sign of fermentation.
  • Sip Test – If you give it a little sip and it tastes pretty sour, its texture is off, or it’s gone a little bit fizzy. Spit it out – it’s trash time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Drink Orange Juice On An Empty Stomach?

Drinking juice on its own in the morning can actually be harmful for your health. If it’s with some breakfast you’ll be fine.

But drinking juice alone may lead to constipation, stomach ache, and acidity.

Why Does My Orange Juice Taste Fizzy?

If you leave orange juice open, it becomes exposed to the yeast in the atmosphere.

The yeast then begins to ferment the sugar within the drink which forms alcohol and CO2 which turns the drink fizzy.

Can You Make Juice And Drink It The Next Day?

If you make fresh juice at home, you can drink it the next day as long as it is refrigerated. However, it won’t last long.

You can maybe push it to 48 hours but the absolute cut-off should be at 72 hours. After that, it will no longer be okay to drink.

What Can I Do With Expired Orange Juice?

If your orange juice has fallen victim to forgetfulness, and alas, has not made it, you can always use it for another purpose!

That’s right, you can use your expired orange juice for your compost. Just ensure that your heap stays damp and doesn’t cross over to becoming wet.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, after reading this article, there should not be a single orange juice-related question left that has not been answered.

We’ve learned that orange juice can and will go off, as well as how long it will take for the different kinds of orange juice to expire, we’ve learned how to store it correctly, and what the signs of gone-off orange juice are.

Remember, if you’re unsure as to whether your orange juice is good to drink, you should always look out for a sour smell, dark colors, and a bulging container.

And if you do happen to take a sip and it’s fizzy or tastes a bit like alcohol, it’s gone bad.

Store your orange juice right, and drink it fairly swiftly after it’s opened though, and you should be absolutely fine!

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