Here's How Long Cranberry Juice Actually Lasts After Opening

Glasses of cranberry juice
Glasses of cranberry juice - Dmitrii Ivanov/Getty Images

Cranberry juice is the perfect complement in a number of drink recipes, but it can also stand alone and be enjoyed by itself. Its notable red color helps give cocktails a pop, and says it has surprising health benefits, such as potentially preventing urinary tract infections and helping rheumatoid arthritis. But, if you want to enjoy these benefits, and your juice at its freshness, you need to know how long it lasts.

While cranberry juice remains usable for about eight months prior to being opened, once you crack it open, you should use it within three weeks to enjoy it at its best. Cranberry juice will last longer than some other juices -- especially those that you squeeze fresh yourself -- but it's still a fruit, so its shelf life is pretty short. Once you arrive home from the store, be sure you are storing your juice property.

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How To Properly Store Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice drink with cranberries
Cranberry juice drink with cranberries - Iryna Baranouskaya/Getty Images

You can store an unopened bottle of cranberry juice at room temperature. However, once it is opened, it should be placed in the refrigerator with its lid on tight to ensure it stays stable for as long as possible. Because cranberries are acidic, with a pH of around 2.5 (they contain citric, malic, and quinic acids), they last longer than other juices. But if that three weeks is just not long enough, you can freeze your juice to prolong its life even further.

If you want to freeze your cranberry juice, you must take note of the fact that it contains water and could expand a bit when it freezes; store the juice in a freezer-safe container with enough room to make way for this. Most juice, whether fresh or store-bought, will last up to one year in the freezer. That said, it could lose its flavor and texture.

How To Tell If Cranberry Juice Has Gone Bad

Cranberry juice drink with straw
Cranberry juice drink with straw - Intek1/Getty Images

Cranberry juice has a bright red color. If you find an old bottle in your pantry and that color looks closer to brown than red, it's most likely expired and shouldn't be thrown out. But if you're storing it in the fridge and its color is still intact, then you should turn to its smell to tell you what you need to know. Fresh fruit juice smells sweet and inviting; but as it gets older, that smell can turn sour and rancid.

You can also take a small taste of the juice to be certain before using it in a drink. However, you should look for any potential fermentation or mold before you do. If you do see anything floating in your juice, or any film sticking to the bottle, your best bet is to err on the side of caution and discard it.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.