Does Orange Juice Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Does orange juice go bad? Yes, it can become bitter, sour and change color. Most store bought orange juices have a use by date which usually gives you a shelf life between 1 and 2 weeks from when it first arrives at the store.

Fresh-squeezed orange juice is best drunk fresh for taste and nutritional value. Store bought juices usually contain additives to give them a longer shelf life.

This delicious beverage can be frozen for long-term storage. If purchasing orange juice, buy smaller containers so it can be used up quickly and deliver the best quality dose of vitamin C.

Does Orange Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

does orange juice need to be refrigerated

Orange juice needs to be purchased from the refrigerator case and stored in your home refrigerator. It's important to note that orange juice oxidizes once the seal has been broken, so if you notice any change in color or smell, it should be discarded.

For long-term storage, fresh-squeezed orange juice can be frozen. Merissa with LittleHouseLiving.com recommends purchasing organic oranges, juicing them and loading the undiluted juice into ice cube trays.

Once the trays freeze, transfer the orange juice cubes to airtight freezer bags. When you want a glass of juice, simply load a glass with a few cubes.

Per experts from UC Davis, pulp should be removed before freezing fresh-squeezed orange juice. It's also important to note that frozen juice will have a lower nutritional benefit than fresh.

Here is a video of Jay Kordich demonstrating how to make "real" orange juice​:

What Ways Can Orange Juice Go Bad?

Orange juice generally goes bad in two ways. Either it oxidizes, causing a sour taste and a change in color, or if the juice contains pulp, the pulp will turn bitter in solution.

Per experts at the National Food Lab in Livermore, CA, the expiration date on orange juice containers are required by law and simply provide a date that's the regulatory number of days after the container was sealed.

Those dates do not necessarily indicate an expiration of freshness or suggest any safety risk.​

However, experts at the National Food Lab are tasked with pushing the envelope on expiration dates. It's their job to taste things and rate the quality of items that are long past their use-by date.

Their recommendation? Smell the orange juice. If it smells OK, it's probably OK. If it doesn't, toss it.

It's important to remember that food-borne illness is seldom found in expired food. Food-borne bacteria such E. coli and salmonella are the most dangerous sources of food-borne illness, and contaminated foods that have only arrived at the store may smell just fine.

Careful food storage and diligent handling of raw meat are the best way to protect yourself against food-borne illness.​

Does Orange Juice Go Bad? No, It Gets Tired!

EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer suggests not putting too much stock in expiration dates and their impact on food safety. However, she does recommend guarding against the risk of oxidation.

Eight ounces of orange juice, served from a newly opened jug, delivers a day’s worth of vitamin C. Even kept in the refrigerator, though, orange juice loses its nutritional punch by the day.

Large containers are not always a great investment if light and air rob you of good health. To maintain optimum vitamin delivery, orange juice is best purchased in small containers and drunk quickly after opening.

Final Thoughts​

As a cultivated crop, oranges have been around for a long time. The courts of the Emperor Constantine were decorated with tiles depicting oranges and lemons growing among lush greenery. Citrus fruits were also depicted in the mosaics of ruined Pompeii.​

Spanish explorers planted orange trees on the American continent in 1493. This delicious and versatile fruit has been available throughout India and China for centuries.

If you're lucky enough to have an orange tree, or prefer to make your own juice, not only will you enjoy the freshest beverage around, but you'll be boosting your thyroid and adrenal functions as well.

The best oranges for juicing include Valencia, Clementines, Tangerines and Blood Oranges. To be sure you're selecting the best oranges for homemade orange juice, pick the heaviest fruits.

For safety's sake, organic oranges are the best choice when making your own juice. Be sure to wash the oranges in their peels before you start cutting and juicing.​

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