I fortunately have never drank bad orange juice, but I unfortunately have destroyed an entire loaf of cranberry orange nut bread by using spoiled orange juice. My citrus flavor had turned rancid, so I then had to start from scratch after running to the store to get fresh OJ.

I'm so used to orange juice being in my fridge that I never think about how soon it goes bad. I've always assumed that I'll drink it before it goes bad. Does orange juice expire? Apparently it does, and a lot faster than I would have imagined.

The Best By Date Is Actually True

orange squash, smoothie, orange juice, cocktail, sweet, juice
Jocelyn Hsu

If you buy orange juice already refrigerated, then you'd better drink up. According to Can It Go Bad, a website about all things expiration dates, OJ that is sold refrigerated goes bad in about a week to a week and a half, tops. This means that if you think you can last on a bottle for two or three weeks, you're sadly mistaken.

If you buy commercially canned or bottled orange juice, then you're on the safer side. These types of orange juices are pumped with preservatives and last up to a year unopened. But when you do open it, drink it quickly because your juice won't last long.

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Jocelyn Hsu

Like most other fresh squeezed juices, freshly squeezed orange juice lasts only for a few days. Fresh squeezed OJ is best used the day of or as soon as possible. If you're in charge of picking up the orange juice for mimosas, it's best to pick it up on your way to brunch.

How to Tell If Your OJ Is Expired

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Amelia Hitchens

You can tell if your orange juice is bad by three different ways. The first way to tell if it goes bad is to pour the juice into a transparent glass and see if there are any unusual masses or mold that has grown in the juice.

The second way to tell if your juice has gone bad is the color. Either when in the bottle or when poured into a transparent glass, if you notice the juice is an unusual color, then chances are it's time to throw it out. If the juice just appears slightly darker, then it's still okay. To confirm whether or not the color change is unusual, sniff the juice and if it has a rancid smell then it's time to let it go.

The final way is to taste the juice. If the juice has a rancid or off flavor, then it's gone bad. This may not be the most pleasant way to tell if the juice is old, but you'll at least know for sure.

Crap, How Do I Use it Before it Goes Bad?

lemon, tangerine, juice, citrus
Amelia Hitchens

Don't fear, my friends. If you're now realizing that it's been a few days since you opened your orange juice and you want to get rid of it ASAP, you can. If you're not one to drink a lot of it, then you can always cook with it. OJ tastes great in chicken recipes and cupcakes. You can also throw it into sangria and other drinks.

My blissful ignorance about whether orange juice expires or not is shattered. However, I know there are plenty of ways to use it in breads or marinades. Be sure to check the expiration dates on all your juices because this sad news applies to all of them. To learn more about expiration/best by dates, read this comprehensive guide on what expiration dates really mean.