Orange juice is a delicious staple for any fridge. Whether it’s an addition to your breakfast or part of a smoothie, no doubt you have looked at orange juice and wondered just how long it can last. Are the dates on the containers actually accurate, or are they just placeholders for something? Well, wonder no longer, as I can answer this question for you.
How long does orange juice last? There are many types of orange juice, and different ways to store them all. However, most bottled or fresh orange juices can last anywhere from two days for fresh to ten for commercially bottled.
Since there are several different types of orange juice, all with their own different expiration dates, I recommend reading on to learn more about each specific one and how to best store them.
How long does commercially frozen orange juice concentrate last?
If kept continuously frozen, orange juice concentrate should last about a year. This is assuming it is unopened and undamaged. After that, it will lose some flavor, but should still be safe to drink. Even if the date on the container has passed, if it has remained unopened and frozen, it should still be fine.
Once prepared, orange juice concentrate will last for five days to a week when refrigerated and kept in a sealed container. While I couldn’t find information on it, I believe that you may refreeze it for an additional eight to twelve months. Why? Prepared orange juice concentrate is close in texture and quality to bottled and opened orange juice.
Regardless of the type of orange juice you have and the storage method used, always check to see if your orange juice has expired before using. A little later, I’ll tell you how you can tell if your orange juice has gone bad.
How long does bottled orange juice last?
If unopened, bottled orange juice will last about one week after the date on the bottle. The caveat here is that it must be continuously stored in the refrigerator. Once opened, bottled orange juice typically lasts a week to ten days.
If you were to freeze bottled orange juice before opening, it could stay fresh between eight to twelve months. After that time, it is still drinkable but loses flavor. Even opened, it still lasts eight to twelve months when frozen.
The problem with freezing bottled orange juice is that liquid expands when frozen. A sealed OJ container may burst. I don’t recommend doing this. That, and those bottles weren’t designed to be frozen, so I’m not sure that I’d trust them anyway.
If thawed in the fridge, bottled orange juice can last another three to five days. If thawed in the microwave or with cold water, it is recommended to be consumed right away.
How long does canned and unrefrigerated orange juice last?
If unopened and kept in a dark and cool room, such as a pantry, canned orange juice can last twelve to eighteen months. Once opened it should be stored in a sealable container in the fridge and should last five to seven days.
Whether opened or not, if stored in the freezer it can stay fresh for eight to twelve months, but can still be usable afterwards.
If any cans are bloated, rusted, leaking, or highly dented, they should be thrown away immediately. Damaged cans can indicate the presence of toxins, bacteria, or other nasty things such as botulism.
How long does fresh orange juice last?
While arguably the most attractive sounding type of orange juice on this list, fresh orange juice, unfortunately, does not keep as long as any other types. The reason for this is that fresh orange juice has not been pasteurized. Fresh orange juice, when refrigerated and stored properly, lasts two to three days.
However, when stored in the freezer, it can last three to four months and keep all its natural flavor. Fresh frozen orange juice can last longer than a year in the freezer and remain usable, but may start to lose its luster. If this happens, you can instead add it to other juices, add it to smoothies, or if you don’t mind it you can still drink it as is.
When thawed in the fridge, fresh orange juice that’s been frozen can last an additional two to three days. Much like all the other entries, if it is thawed by cold water or the microwave, it should be used right away.
How to preserve fresh orange juice?
Like to make your own OJ but are unsure of how to properly keep it? Well, one way to preserve fresh orange juice is by sealing it in covered glass or plastic air-tight containers and store it in the refrigerator. To stretch the lifespan of your fresh orange juice, it is best to store it in the freezer.
There are various ways to freeze fresh orange juice. One way is you can pour it into ice trays and once frozen, put the cubes into a sealed freezer bag and store them in the freezer. Another way is to just store it in an air-tight freezer container, but be sure to leave some extra empty space. It will expand when frozen. Nobody wants orange juice all over their freezers. It might smell nice, but it will be terribly sticky.
A fun alternative is to pour orange juice into ice pop trays for a fresh and cool summer treat! Try adding swirls of other freshly squeezed juices for fun flavors.
How do you know if orange juice has gone bad?
Luckily, it is very easy to tell when orange juice has gone bad. If you are unsure of whether you should drink your orange juice or not, simply giving it a whiff should tell you right away.
Expired orange juice will have a noticeably sour smell, close to vinegar or alcohol, as opposed to, well, oranges. This does not mean it is alcohol, please don’t drink it or attempt to age it.
Be sure to check inside the container, inspecting for visible changes in the juice. Also check the juice using a see-through glass. If it has visible mold, not only is that gross, but it could be dangerous to your health. If this is the case, it should be thrown away immediately. Definitely don’t drink it at this point.
It’s worth noting that OJ can sometimes darken over time. This doesn’t mean it has gone bad. If it smells and tastes okay, it’s probably just fine.
Is fresh orange juice better than store bought?
Taste-wise this is a hands-down yes. No other types of orange juice can compare to a refreshing cup of fresh squeezed OJ! When freshly squeezed, it really tastes like an orange, without you actively attempting to drink an orange, which would be a little weird.
Nutrition-wise? Absolutely. Fresh orange juice is the closest in both taste and nutrition to whole oranges.
Commercial orange juices, however, are either from concentrate or not from concentrate. From concentrate orange juice is pasteurized, filtered, and most of the water is evaporated. It is then stored at 10 °F until thawed and water added back to it.
During the evaporation process, essences, vitamin C, and oils are lost. They may then be artificially added to give the flavor and nutrition back.
For orange juice that isn’t from concentrate, a majority of manufacturers use a process that has the juice placed in aseptic storage for up to a year. This removes the oxygen and lessens the natural flavor, so it is often added with flavor packs in the final step of processing.
Fresh squeezed orange juice is simply juice from an orange, and has all the nutrients you would expect it to, minus the bulk of the fiber from the main fruit.
Now, I understand that not everyone has the time for, or can’t afford, fresh squeezed orange juice. But if you happen to have the time and ability, I highly recommend trying your hand at making your own OJ. It is well worth it.
Is there a use for spoiled orange juice?
Surprisingly, yes! While expired orange juice tastes nasty, and can even cause serious health problems to humans, plants love it. Just don’t pour it directly on your plants; it’s too acidic.
You can safely use expired orange juice in a compost tumbler or bin if you have one. Just be sure not to make your compost too watery. Add some solids with expired orange juice. One way to combat extra liquids is to add oatmeal, potato flakes, stale cereal, or stale bread. On the other hand, if your compost isn’t wet enough, use the expired orange juice to add moisture.
Is full pulp orange juice better than pulp-free? For some people, pulp in orange juice seems unseemly and unsavory, and I’d have to agree, as I don’t like flaky bits in my liquids. But others will say that pulp-free takes away some of the characteristics that oranges possess, and adds… Texture.
But this is only talking about preference, which is highly varied from person to person. So, what about health-wise, does it add anything extra? Actually, yes. Pulp might not add much more fiber but does give it a healthy boost of plant parts and antioxidants that pulp-free doesn’t have. One of which is the wonderfully named flavonoids.
What do you prefer? Personally, this won’t change my opinion on pulpy OJ, it still feels like someone dropped confetti in my cup, and I don’t appreciate that.
Is the date on the package correct? No doubt you’ve seen the dates on your packages of orange juice. Maybe you used that as your indication of when to toss it. Which is fine, but most dates are just a speculation of how long it will stay at the highest quality.
If it says “Best When Used By”, “Best By”, or the like, this is the case. If it says “Sell By”, this is just the date the manufacturers put on a product to tell the store how long they can display this product. You don’t have to toss orange juice after it passes this date, but always check it before using.
I hope that this article has answered any and all questions you may have had about different types of orange juice and their varied shelf lives. Orange juice is a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet. Having some on hand or juicing your own is a great way to add flavor, variety, and a bit of zing to each day. Knowing how long it lasts and when to toss it will keep you vibrant, happy, and healthy.