Orange juice is a staple when it comes to your morning breakfast and is always on the weekly shopping list, so it only makes sense to stock up when you see a multipack on deal!
However, when you have had the cartons sitting in your pantry for a while it’s worth asking, does orange juice go bad? Or what about freshly squeezed orange juice? Can that be stored in the pantry? Orange juice is consumed worldwide and is extremely popular, but shelf life can remain unclear for some!
If you can’t get your head around it, don’t worry! We’re going to delve into all the details such as shelf life, storage, and signs of spoilage.
The short answer is yes, orange juice does go bad. Fresh store-bought orange juice, if kept refrigerated, will last for 1-2 weeks before going bad as it has been made without preservatives.
However, fresh orange juice that you have squeezed yourself at home will only last 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Pasteurized juice can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a month after its sell-by date if the packaging is undamaged – although it is recommended to drink orange juice before the stated date, just to be on the safe side!
How To Tell If Your Orange Juice Has Gone Bad
Firstly, start by inspecting the packaging. Check for tears in cartons, cracks in bottles, and broken seals. If you spot any of these on your orange juice packaging, there’s a good chance that bacteria has made its way in to ruin your orange juice. Other signs to look for are bloated or bulging packaging. This is a sign that the juice is bad as microorganisms have released gasses that cannot escape the carton.
If you cannot tell by the packaging whether or not your orange juice has gone bad, smelling it will let you know! If you notice a sour smell – like it has been fermented – chuck it!
You will also be able to tell by looking at your juice once it’s been poured. If it appears to be too dark or has white or blue specks that float to the surface – get rid of it!
If you’re still not sure if your orange juice has gone bad, try tasting some. If it has a sour or fizzy taste, then it has most probably gone bad.
If you’re in any doubt, then it is best to stay safe and get rid of it. Also be sure to discard the orange juice that has been left open in the fridge for too long as some food pathogens can survive in the refrigerator without altering the taste, appearance, or smell.
How To Store Orange Juice
Generally, orange juice falls into two categories – unpasteurized (fresh) and pasteurized (shelf). Both can be stored differently while they are still sealed and there will be storage instructions on the packaging that are best for you to follow to ensure your orange juice stays fresh for as long as possible.
You will know whether or not your juice is pasteurized or not by where it is stored in the supermarket.
Shelf-stable juice will be found in un-refrigerated parts of the supermarket as they have been pasteurized. Fresh orange juice (unpasteurized) is perishable so will be stored in the refrigerated sections.
If you pick up your juice from an unrefrigerated shelf then you can store it in the same conditions at home, in a cool, dry place. Your pantry or a cabinet away from any heat source will be perfect. Once you open it, make sure to store it in the refrigerator to ensure it stays fresh, it will then last for 7-10 days.
For fresh juice, make sure you store it in the refrigerator as soon as you get it home and continue to store it there once opened. If you ensure it is stored properly your fresh orange juice will stay good unopened for about a week after its expiration date, just keep an eye out for those spoilage signs we mentioned earlier! Once opened, it will stay good in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If you’ve squeezed your own orange juice fresh from the orange, it is generally best to drink it right away. Otherwise, make sure you pop it in the refrigerator and consume within 48 hours.
Round-Up On Orange Juice
Here are some key takeaways on orange juice:
- If found on the shelf, store it in a cabinet. Once opened, stick it in the fridge.
- If brought from a refrigerated section, put it straight in your refrigerator at home.
- If you squeeze it yourself, enjoy it fresh if you can, if not put it in the refrigerator and use it within 48 hours.
- If your orange juice smells/tastes sour, looks dark, or has white or blue specks on it, trash it!
- If the packaging is damaged make sure to check for signs of spoilage.