What happens if you don’t refrigerate orange juice?

Everyone loves the taste of freshly squeezed orange juice, especially in the morning. Whether you purchase it from the grocery store or make it yourself, one of the most important questions to ask is whether or not it needs to be refrigerated. Have you ever left your orange juice on the counter for a few hours and thought to yourself if it was still safe to drink? In this blog post, we will discuss what happens when you don’t refrigerate orange juice.

What Happens When You Don’t Refrigerate Orange Juice?

Freshly squeezed orange juice is not pasteurized, which means it is raw and contains natural enzymes that break down the juice over time. Refrigeration slows down this process and helps to preserve the juice. Leaving your juice out on the counter or in a warm environment will speed up this breakdown process, causing the juice to spoil more quickly.

When the enzymes in the juice break down, it starts to ferment. Fermentation is the process where microorganisms, such as yeasts and bacteria, break down the natural sugars in the juice. This is what gives bread and beer its characteristic flavor and texture, but it is not desirable in orange juice. As the juice ferments, it becomes sour and fizzy, and the natural orange flavor is lost.

Another consequence of leaving your orange juice out is the growth of harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. These bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments, which is what you create when you leave your orange juice out. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

How Long Can You Leave Orange Juice Out?

For freshly squeezed orange juice, it is best to consume it within a few hours of squeezing it. Anything longer than that, and you risk the juice starting to spoil. If you must leave your juice out, it is best to keep it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

Opened store-bought orange juice can be left out for up to two hours, but it is best to err on the side of caution and put it in the refrigerator after an hour. If the juice is unopened, it can be stored safely in the pantry until the expiration date.

How to Store Orange Juice Properly

The best way to store orange juice is in the refrigerator. Store-bought orange juice should be kept in its original container and kept in the refrigerator at all times, even if it is unopened. Once opened, transfer the juice into an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. Homemade orange juice should be stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator right away.


In conclusion, leaving orange juice out for an extended period can cause it to spoil quickly. This situation can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness. Therefore, it is best to keep orange juice in the refrigerator at all times. Even store-bought orange juice should be kept refrigerated since room temperature can cause it to spoil after a few hours. So, if you want to enjoy a nice, cold glass of orange juice, make sure to refrigerate it properly.


How long can orange juice be left unrefrigerated?

Orange juice is a popular beverage that can be consumed alone or as part of breakfast. However, as with any perishable beverage or food, it’s important to consider food safety and storage to avoid foodborne illnesses. Generally, orange juice can stay fresh and safe to drink for a certain period depending on various factors such as the method of processing, the packaging, and the temperature conditions under which it’s stored.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), perishable foods that are supposed to be refrigerated, like juice, can only be left out at room temperature for two hours before it’s considered unsafe to consume. This two-hour rule applies to both opened and unopened containers of orange juice.

If the orange juice has been left unrefrigerated for more than two hours but is still unopened, it’s generally safe to drink. However, it’s important to check the packaging for any signs of spoilage, such as bloating, significant alteration of color or smell. Once opened, the shelf-life of orange juice decreases, and it is recommended to consume it within a week.

In warm temperatures, the time that orange juice can be left unrefrigerated is even shorter. On a warm day, the two-hour window may even be shorter. In some cases, such as in outdoor or camp settings, it’s always good to err on the side of caution and keep perishable beverages or food refrigerated using convenient storage methods.

Orange juice is a perishable beverage that can only be left unrefrigerated for a short period before it becomes unsafe to consume. It’s best to keep the orange juice in the fridge at all times and ensure it is consumed within a week upon opening. By taking these measures, one can ensure the safety and enjoy the fresh taste of the juice.

Is it safe to drink orange juice that is warm?

When it comes to consuming orange juice, the temperature of the juice is not necessarily what determines if it is safe to drink or not. However, if the orange juice has been kept in warm temperatures, it may have an impact on the overall quality of the juice.

From a food safety perspective, the main factor to consider is whether or not the orange juice has been properly pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process that involves heating the juice to a high temperature, which kills any potential harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning. Most commercially produced orange juice is pasteurized, and this is usually designated on the label of the juice container.

If you are uncertain whether the orange juice in question has been pasteurized, it is advisable to avoid drinking it or to heat the juice to a high temperature yourself to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Boiling or heating the juice on high temperatures for 1-2 minutes can be an effective method to kill any potential bacteria that may have accumulated while the juice was stored at warm temperatures.

However, it is important to note that warming the juice can have an impact on the taste and overall quality of the orange juice. The natural sugars in orange juice can begin to break down at high temperatures, and the prolonged exposure to heat can make it taste either sour or bitter. Additionally, orange juice that has been heated and cooled several times can become acidic, which can cause stomach discomfort and heartburn. Therefore, it is recommended to consume orange juice as soon as possible after opening and to store it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness.

The temperature of the orange juice is not necessarily what determines whether or not it is safe to drink. Instead, it is important to consider whether the juice has been properly pasteurized and stored in safe conditions. If in doubt, it is best to heat the juice to a high temperature before consumption or to choose pasteurized orange juice from a reliable supplier.

Does warm orange juice help with sickness?

There is a common belief that drinking warm orange juice can help alleviate symptoms associated with sickness such as sore throat and cough. However, this is nothing more than a myth. While oranges contain vitamin C which is known for its immune-boosting properties, the idea that warm orange juice will help ease sickness symptoms is not backed by scientific research.

In fact, warm liquids can help with congestion and other symptoms of sickness, but there is no evidence to suggest that the warmth of orange juice has any additional benefits beyond those provided by any other warm liquid. Furthermore, drinking too much orange juice when sick may actually do more harm than good due to the sugar content which can aggravate a sore throat.

It’s important to remember that the best way to fight sickness is to get enough rest, stay hydrated, and consume a healthy diet to support your immune system. While consuming foods rich in vitamin C may provide some benefit in terms of protecting against illness, the evidence does not support the idea that drinking warm orange juice can alleviate sickness symptoms.

If you are feeling unwell, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional for advice on how to get better as quickly and safely as possible. They may suggest over-the-counter medications, rest, or other treatments that are more effective than warm orange juice.

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