Finding a bottle of orange juice in your pantry will only spring questions in your mind. You’d begin to wonder when you got it and how long it’s been there. On looking at the best by date on the label, it’s past the date, and you can’t help but ask, does orange juice go rancid or does its quality degrade?
Well, I’ll be explaining some critical concepts about orange juice, such as its shelf life, if it goes bad, why it goes bad. How it could be stored, how to tell if it’s bad and if you can consume it past its expiration date.
Can orange juice go bad?
It's a big yes! it can. Orange juice goes bad, and many a time, you might have mixed it with other food items before noticing. It’s advisable that you check your orange juice regularly before drinking or using it to make other recipes.
Why does orange juice go bad?
Your orange juice can go bad, just like every other item with an expiration date. However, it could go bad in two different ways
- Oxidize: Over time, your orange juice could go through oxidation. Oxidation introduces microorganisms into the juice, which over time cause your juice to change in taste and color.
- Ferment: It’s advisable never to leave your orange juice sitting in the pantry for more than a week or two. If you got the refrigerated orange juice, it could ferment and become somewhat beer or alcohol like. You certainly don’t want your orange juice to taste like alcohol.
How long can orange juice last?
Be sure to note that all orange juice will go sour at a point in time—however, their shelf life varies depending on the type of juice.
- Best-by or best-before date: Once your orange juice is past its best-by date or the best-before date, it could only last a few days before it goes rancid.
- Freshly squeezed: This type of orange juice has the shortest shelf life. It could only last for 2-3 days after you squeezed it. It’s, however, advisable you consume it the day you squeeze it.
- Refrigerated store-bought orange (Opened/Unopened): Your refrigerated store-bought orange juice can last for up to 2 weeks after it's past its best-by date. Once it’s opened, endeavor to consume it within a week.
- Unrefrigerated packed orange juice: It has the most extended shelf life because it has undergone pasteurization. If left unopened, it could last for 1-2 years.
- Frozen orange juice: Irrespective of the type of orange juice, once it’s frozen, it could last as long as forever. However, it’s advisable you consume it in less than four months. If not, its flavor begins to deteriorate.
How to store orange juice
Note that when you purchase your unopened bottle of orange juice, you must store it under the same temperature as when you got it.
- Opened: Store your opened orange juice in the fridge, regardless of the type of juice it is.
- Freshly squeezed: Keep your freshly squeezed orange juice in the fridge as well to keep its flavor intact.
- Homemade: if it’s homemade, endeavor you store it in a clean and airtight container to prevent bacteria contamination or activities.
- Pasteurized juice from the shelf: Place it in a cool and dark area in the pantry or kitchen cabinet until you have use for it. Any change in temperature or light intensity will cause the juice to lose its flavor.
- Bought from the refrigerated section: Peradventure you visit the grocery store, and you got a bottle or carton of orange juice from the refrigerator, immediately you get home, transfer them into your fridge as well to keep them intact.
- Freeze: If you want your juice to last for at least a year, store it in the freezer. However, you should note that fresh orange juice has more nutritional value than frozen orange juice.
How do I know if my orange juice has gone bad and not fit for consumption?
There are several ways to know if it has gone rancid or bad, and they include the following
- Smell: You could perceive the juice, to be sure. If your orange juice has an alcoholic odor, it’s probably fermented and shouldn’t be consumed.
- Appearance: If you look through the container and see dark spots, they are mold, not dirt. You can pour a bit of the juice on a glass cup to have a closer look at the juice. If you notice mold development or a change in color, toss it immediately
- Taste: Here’s another method, you could taste the juice, just a bit of it. Suppose it’s fizzy or sour or anything different from its original taste. In that case, it’s probably bad, and you should dispose of it as soon as possible.
- Bulging container: If the container where your juice is stored is starting to bulge, it’s the action of fermentation. It would be best if you tossed it immediately.
Can you consume expired orange juice?
Orange juice contains microorganisms that reproduce even after proper storage. However, consuming expired orange juice will depend on the best-by date. If it's a few days past its best-by date, you can consume it. Just a little gulp is fine if it’s unopened.
However, if it’s fresh opened juice and it’s days past its best-by date, do not drink it as it’s regarded as food poisoning. It could lead to vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea