Prune juice is a popular beverage that is made from dried plums. It has a sweet, thick taste and is often consumed for its potential health benefits. Some of the key nutrients in prune juice include vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants.
Once opened, prune juice will start to slowly lose quality and freshness over time. However, an unopened bottle of prune juice can last 12-18 months past the printed expiration date if stored properly in the refrigerator. So how long does prune juice last once you open it? Here is a detailed guide on maximizing the shelf life of prune juice after opening.
Factors that affect how long prune juice lasts once opened
There are several key factors that influence how long prune juice will last after opening:
- Storage temperature – Storing opened prune juice in the fridge vs room temperature
- Package/container type – Plastic bottle vs glass jar vs juice box
- Quality of the juice – Freshness, preservatives, pH level
- Exposure to air – How often the container is opened
- Personal tolerance – How long before unacceptable changes in taste/texture
Storing opened prune juice properly in the refrigerator and limiting exposure to air will help extend its shelf life. However, there will be some natural degradation in quality over time.
For maximum freshness, store opened prune juice in the refrigerator. The cool temperatures will slow down spoilage. Here is how long prune juice will last in the fridge once opened:
- Plastic bottle – 5-7 days
- Glass jar – 7-10 days
- Juice box – 3-5 days
Plastic bottles and glass jars provide more protection against air exposure compared to juice boxes. Also avoid storing prune juice in the fridge door, where the temperatures fluctuate more. The back of the fridge maintains a more consistent cold temperature.
For longer term storage, prune juice can be frozen once opened. To freeze, pour the juice into freezer-safe airtight containers leaving 1⁄2 inch of headspace. Suitable freezer containers include plastic freezer bags, Mason jars, or freezer-safe plastic containers with lids.
Properly frozen, prune juice will maintain best quality for about 6-8 months in the freezer, though it will still be safe to consume after that. To thaw, place the frozen container in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, use within 3-4 days.
It is not recommended to store opened prune juice at room temperature. The juice will spoil much quicker without refrigeration. After opening, prune juice stored on the counter or pantry will only last about 8 hours before it starts deteriorating in quality and flavor.
How to tell if opened prune juice has gone bad
Prune juice that has gone bad will show signs of spoilage. Look for these indications that opened prune juice is no longer good:
- Appearance – Cloudiness, particles, sliminess
- Texture – Increased thickness, clumpiness, bitterness
- Smell – Sour, unpleasant, rotten odor
- Taste – Increased sourness, bitterness, moldy flavor
- Mold – Powdery or fuzzy growth anywhere on juice or container
If your prune juice exhibits any of these signs of spoilage, it should be discarded. The changes in sensory characteristics and mold growth indicate the juice is past its prime and beginning to decay in quality.
How to extend the shelf life of opened prune juice
To maximize the freshness of prune juice once opened, follow these tips:
- Refrigerate immediately after opening
- Store in airtight containers (e.g. Mason jar, plastic bottle with tight lid)
- Keep air exposure to a minimum
- Keep juice box straws clean to avoid contamination
- Finish juice box within 2-3 days
- Freeze surplus juice in portions if you don’t plan to use within 3-5 days
- Use clean and dry utensils when dispensing juice to avoid introducing bacteria
The shelf life of unopened prune juice
For comparison, commercially packaged prune juice that has not yet been opened will maintain quality and freshness significantly longer than opened juice.
Here are the general shelf life guidelines for unopened prune juice from the printed date of manufacture:
- Plastic Bottle – 10-12 months
- Glass Jar – 12-18 months
- Juice Box/Aseptic Packaging – 8-12 months
An unopened bottle of prune juice stored in a cool, dark pantry can last up to 1 year beyond the printed date. Once opened, it should be consumed within 5-7 days.
Can prune juice be reheated after opening?
Yes, it is safe to reheat previously opened prune juice. To retain the most flavor and texture, reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave. Avoid boiling. Reheated prune juice can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days.
What is the best way to store prune juice long term?
For long term storage of prune juice, the freezer is ideal. Freshly opened prune juice can be frozen in airtight containers for up to 8 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before use.
What happens if you drink spoiled prune juice?
Drinking expired prune juice that has started to ferment or become otherwise contaminated can cause unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Severely spoiled juice may present a risk of food poisoning.
Can you make prune juice at home?
Yes, you can make homemade prune juice using dried prunes, water, and a bit of lemon juice. Simmer the prunes in water for 15 minutes then blend and strain out the solids. Refrigerate and enjoy within a week.
What are the health benefits of prune juice?
Prune juice contains antioxidants, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber. It provides digestive health benefits thanks to its natural laxative effects. Some studies suggest prune juice may help build bone density, lower blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol.
Prune juice will maintain best quality and freshness when stored in the refrigerator after opening. Properly stored, an opened bottle can last about 5-7 days in the fridge. For longer term storage, freeze serving portions of prune juice in airtight containers. With adequate refrigeration and limited air exposure, prune juice can retain its nutritional value and flavor for up to a week after opening.
|Storage Method||Shelf Life of Opened Prune Juice|
|Pantry/Room Temperature||8 hours|