How Long Does Orange Juice Last?

The sweet and mildly sour OJ is both delicious and super nutritious – but only before its expiration date. If you make orange juice yourself, its shelf life is much shorter than a regular store-bought carton of OJ. Fresh orange juice can only last between 1 and 3 days before it goes bad. Here’s what makes the difference in juice longevity and how to make your fresh-made OJ last longer.

A refreshing glass of freshly squeezed orange juice

With a Cold Press Juicer (Masticating Juicers)

Also called slow juicers, the higher-end juicing machines are popular because they give you premium quality juice.

Masticating juicers take a long time to squeeze the juice out of fruit, so many people prefer to make their juice ahead of time. It’s simply more practical to have the juice ready to drink in your refrigerator.

Due to their slow, cold juicing process, juice created with a masticating juicer doesn’t get oxidized during the pulverizing process. That makes orange juice from a masticating juicer last longer than OJ made with other types of juicers.

You can store OJ made with a masticating juicer for up to 72 hours in your fridge. Just make sure you fill the bottle to the brim and seal it tightly.

With a Centrifugal Juicer

A glass of orange juice sitting near a centrifugal juicer

Fast-spinning centrifugal juicers are the most popular type of juicers on the market, thanks to their lower prices.

Centrifugal juicers are fast and effective, so most people prepare their juice when they feel like drinking it. Making a glass of fresh OJ takes only a couple of minutes, but the speed compromises juice quality.

The fruity pulp gets oxidized more during the rapid spinning cycles in the machine. That’s why juice made with a centrifugal juicer doesn’t stay good to drink past the 24-hour mark, even if stored in the refrigerator.

The chances are that your OJ starts losing its nutrients only 4 hours after juicing. The best-case scenario – you drink the juice as soon as you make it.

Hand Squeezed Orange Juice

Someone manually juicing an orange

You can also use a good, old-fashioned squeezer to juice your oranges. Sure, you’ll waste a bit more of the fruit, but the clean up is so much simpler.

If you hand-squeeze your orange juice, it’ll be safe to drink for the next 24 hours if stored in the refrigerator.

How Long Does Orange Juice Last Out Of The Fridge?

Whether you couldn’t be bothered to prepare your juice for storage, or you forgot to put your juice in the fridge – it’s going to go bad faster than you think.

The FDA claims that foods are only safe to consume if they spent less than 2 hours outside the fridge. Take this advice if you want to err on the side of caution, but in the case of orange juice, the chances are that your juice will stay safe to drink even after 3 or 4 hours sitting out.

That’s because orange juice (along with lemonade and lime juice) has a high acid content, making these foods less attractive to bacteria.

Can You Freeze Orange Juice?

Of course! Freezing your fresh-made OJ is a great way to make a tasty treat that can last a long time: up to four months! The chances are that your juicy ice will remain safe to consume beyond the four-month mark, but it’ll start losing all the best nutrients before it reaches that point.

Here’s how to freeze your orange juice: Pour fresh juice into an ice cube tray, store it in the freezer for a day. Once they’re solid ice, transfer the cubes to a zip-lock bag and leave them in the freezer. It’s as simple as that!

Why Does Orange Juice Really Go Bad?

Pick up an apple, chop it in half, and just let it be for a few hours. After a while, it’ll turn completely brown and taste somewhat repulsive. In other words, the exposed part of the fruit will oxidize. The same process happens to orange juice, except that every ounce of it is in contact with oxygen – making juice spoil way faster than fruit. Naturally present bacteria and enzymes further speed up the process.

When you get a carton of store-bought orange juice, you can keep it in the fridge for months without fearing it’ll go bad. That’s because store-bought juice is pasteurized – treated with heat to remove the bacteria and enzymes that play a role in spoiling.

If you want to store your fresh juice for a long time (say, a few months), you can pasteurize the juice you make at home. But keep in mind that it’s a delicate process that takes attention and patience.

How Can You Tell If Orange Juice Has Gone Bad?

Rely on your senses – if your fruit juice has turned  brown and it smells unappetizing – it’s time to throw it away. If it’s only slightly darker than fresh OJ, you may drink it without fear, but chances are it has already lost some of the nutrients.

Can You Drink Expired Orange Juice?

Drinking homemade OJ past its prime can cause mild food poisoning. A glass of browned-up orange juice may leave you with an upset stomach, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.

Food poisoning typically only lasts around a day or two.

Make sure you drink plenty of water during this time. Staying hydrated is extremely important, especially if you get diarrhea, which can quickly drain your body of fluids. Drink lemonade or a sodium-rich drink (like coconut water or sports drinks) to help you recover.

If your symptoms persist after three days or you get a fever, see a doctor ASAP.

How to Help Your Orange Juice Stay Fresh Longer

Making orange juice a couple of days in advance can save you a lot of time. However, it’s hard to enjoy your freshly squeezed OJ if you’re worried that your orange juice is bad.

So, to assist, here are some tips that can help keep your orange juice fresh longer.

A glass of orange juice with an orange slice stuck on the glass

Refrigeration

Refrigerating your juice is the most crucial step in keeping it fresh. Keep your orange juice in the coolest part of your fridge.

If you’re serious about juicing, you may even get a mini-fridge for juices only. A mini-fridge  is a great idea because you should store your juiced at a temperature around 34°F – much lower than the 40°F recommended for general produce.

Minimize Air

Prepare your juice for the fridge the right way. Minimizing the amount of air that can get inside the bottle will help avoid oxidation for a longer time.

Get clean jars or bottles, fill them to the brim with your fresh-made OJ, and close the lid tightly. You may even consider getting a vacuum sealer for your jars. This little device can keep your properly stored juice tasting fresh even longer.

Pasteurization

Pasteurization gives store-bought orange juice its impressively long shelf life.  

Pasteurizing your juice at home is complex and requires a lot of attention – but it’s the single best way to prepare your homemade orange juice for storage. This process involves heating your orange juice in controlled settings to kill off some of the bacteria. Granted – pasteurizing will sacrifice a small amount of nutrients for a shelf-life of up to 3 months. 

Wrap Up

Orange juice is a refreshing drink that goes well with almost any meal out there – but only within its expiration date. Just make sure you don’t let your orange juice go bad and check if it smells sour before drinking. 

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About the author

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Donna Djuragic

Donna Djuragic is a crafty blogger who's always on the lookout for ways to make her homestead nicer, better organized, and more functional. She enjoys reading, gardening, home improvement, and finding pragmatic solutions to common homeowner problems. Feel free to get in touch via donna@thehomedweller.com.

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