You can enjoy orange juice for breakfast, on a hot summer’s day, or at no specific time at all – it’s truly a versatile drink. It’s no wonder orange juice has remained a staple beverage loved by many all around the world.
Orange juice packs a punch with many nutritional health benefits, such as antioxidant effects. It’s notably rich in Vitamin C, an essential ingredient for our health and immune system.
If you’re like me and love drinking and buying orange juice, especially when it’s on a discount, you’ll know you want to extend its shelf-life and make it last as long as possible. But how long can it last? Can you freeze orange juice? Spoiler alert, yes, you can freeze OJ!
In this article, I’ll dive into the different ways you can freeze orange juice at home. I’ll also explain how to go about defrosting it. Finally I’ll show you ways you can use frozen orange juice other than just as a juice.
How Long Does Orange Juice Last?
Generic store-bought orange juice, such as Tropicana or Florida’s Natural, will typically last for quite some time or until its “best-by” date when unopened.
Opened store-bought orange juice lasts up to 10 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Freshly squeezed orange juice should generally be consumed as soon as possible and shouldn’t be kept at room temperature. In the fridge, freshly squeezed orange juice can last up to 3 days and up to 6 months when appropriately stored in the freezer.
Store-bought orange juice will generally last much longer than freshly squeezed orange juice. This is because store-bought orange juice contains added preservatives and chemicals.
|Type||In the Fridge||In the Freezer|
|Unopened Store-Bought Orange Juice||Slightly beyond the “best-by” date||Up to 1 year|
|Opened Store-Bought Orange Juice||Up to 10 days||Up to 6 months|
|Freshly squeezed Orange Juice||Up to 3 days||Up to 4 months|
Does Orange Juice Freeze Well?
Like most fruit juices (apple, lime, lemon), orange juice also freezes rather well. This is because orange juice contains mainly water, and as we know, water freezes quickly. However, how well your orange juice freezes will depend on the type you have.
Is your OJ pulpless, or does it contain orange pulp?
Pulpless orange juice will freeze well and easily. When defrosting pulpless orange juice, the texture and flavor will probably remain the same, smooth and fresh, and be the best defrosted compared to orange juice with pulp.
Freshly squeezed orange juice or orange juice with pulp bits in it will freeze slightly differently and not as well as pulpless juice. The pulp may crystalize and create lumps in the liquid. This causes it to change the juice’s texture, creating a grainy consistency. Sometimes it also changes its flavor.
So, to freeze any orange juice well, I’d advise you to strain your juice to remove any orange pulp and particles before freezing.
Can You Freeze Store Bought Orange Juice?
Store-bought orange juice usually lasts much longer than homemade juice. But, it’s always nice to have the option of freezing it to extend its shelf-life even more. You’ll be glad to know that store-bought orange juice can indeed be frozen.
When you’re freezing store-bought orange juice, you should transfer it to a new container with extra space to spare. When orange juice freezes, it expands. If it’s in its original container, it may expand and explode. Don’t fret; I’ll share how you can properly freeze your orange juice below.
Can You Freeze Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice?
There’s nothing more satisfying and delicious than squeezing your own fresh orange juice. There are no preservatives in homemade orange juice, and it’s generally healthier with no added sugars.
Sadly, from experience, freshly squeezed orange juice does not last that long and will spoil much faster than commercially produced orange juice.
Luckily for us, freshly squeezed orange juice can be frozen! Freshly squeezed juice can be frozen relatively easily with minimal equipment.
Be sure to rinse and clean your oranges before juicing and strain and filter the pulps out afterwards. I personally like freezing orange juice without pulps to achieve a smoother consistency when defrosting.
How to Freeze Orange Juice
There are a few methods to freeze orange juice at home. All of them are relatively simple and can be done with equipment you have at home. It just depends on how you would like to use your frozen orange juice afterward. Will you be defrosting small or large quantities of orange juice?
Once you’ve figured out how much orange juice you want to freeze, here are two methods for freezing orange juice you can try.
In a Container
Choose a suitable container. To freeze orange juice in a container, make sure to get an airtight freezer-safe container. It could be plastic or glass, even a mason jar (provided you have a lid).
Pour orange juice into the container. Carefully pour the orange juice into the container. Leave some space and air at the top to allow the orange juice to expand when frozen.
Label and freeze. Cover and seal the container tightly – label with the date and content and store. You’re good to go! It will take around 6 to 12 hours to freeze, depending on the volume of juice.
Ice Cube Tray Method
This method is best when you need small portions of orange juice. You won’t need to unnecessarily go through the hassle and time of defrosting a whole container of orange juice.
Pour orange juice into the ice cube tray. Carefully pour the orange juice into an ice cube tray. Be sure to not fill it up and leave some space. This will give the orange juice space to expand when frozen.
Store and freeze. Place the ice cube tray into the freezer and freeze. Orange juice in an ice cube tray usually takes 1 to 2 hours to freeze.
Transfer ice cubes to a new container (optional). Once frozen, you can transfer your orange juice cubes into a freezer-safe bag or container. It saves you some space in your freezer, and you have one ice cube tray free to use again. Remember to seal the container tightly and label it.
Can You Freeze Bottled Orange Juice?
You might think that the easiest method to freeze orange juice would be in the container or the bottle it came with. You’d be right!
You generally can freeze bottled orange juice with no trouble. However, there is much debate as to whether you should freeze bottles unopened or opened.
Many people have experiences of their bottles, cartons, or containers of orange juice swelling and exploding in the freezer. Thus, it’s generally recommended to pour some orange juice out before freezing.
Others say that it’s safe to freeze as it is, unopened. Personally, I would just leave some room for the orange juice to expand. Even better if your bottle or container is expandable and flexible.
But to be safe, I’d say freeze to freeze your orange juice in ice cube trays, my favorite option, or in a new container.
What to Do With Frozen Orange Juice?
Now, you have all this frozen orange juice. What can you do with it? You’d be surprised to know that frozen orange juice is rather versatile and can be used not just for drinks but also for desserts and cooked dishes. Here are some ideas you can try.
Frozen orange juice makes for great ice pops, especially on hot summer days. To make orange juice ice pops, you can use an ice pop mold or ice pop bag.
Another recipe you can use for frozen orange juice is to make smoothies. Smoothies are customizable and easy to make at home. The base of smoothies is ice cubes, milk, and some water. Blend it all together, and you have a smoothie. You can experiment by adding other flavors, such as berries or even a teaspoon of sugar or syrup if you need.
Cocktails or Mocktails
Frozen orange juice would also be great for mocktails and cocktails. Especially if you have made ice cubes. You can substitute regular ice cubes for orange juice ice cubes! Frozen orange juice ice cubes would be great for flavoring drinks or even plain water.
The least unexpected but fantastic use of frozen orange juice would be for cooking! Orange juice brings an acidic but sweet zest and flavor to dishes. You can use ice cubes of orange juice for slow cooker dishes or more recipes here.
How to Defrost Frozen Orange Juice
Defrosting frozen orange juice is as simple as freezing it or easier.
If your orange juice is frozen in a bottle or container, simply take it out of the freezer and leave it in your fridge to thaw. It will probably take a few hours or overnight, depending on how much orange juice you have.
If you’re in a rush, you can also submerge it in lukewarm water or briefly heat it up in the microwave.
Once the orange juice is defrosted, give it a good shake to recombine the liquid content, and voila, you have some fresh orange juice you can enjoy.