Is Fermented Orange Juice Safe to Drink?

If you love starting your day with orange juice, you’re not alone. However, what if you’ve gone out of town for a bit and come home to orange juice you’ve left for a while that has become fermented. Is it fermented orange juice safe to drink?

While plenty of people deliberately ferment their orange juice for drinking, there are just as many who have found their bottle of orange juice has fermented on its own. Those people wonder if they can still drink it or if they should throw it away.

Left in the fridge too long, a regular container of orange juice can ferment. You may notice it is bubbly or fizzy. This can also happen if you leave it out on the counter and forget to put it back in your fridge.

Should you still drink this orange juice or not? Read on to find out!

Is fermented orange juice safe to drink?

Orange juice that has fermented on its own when left too long is not safe to drink. It is not the same as orange juice that has been fermented with probiotics. As such, orange juice that has fermented on its own is not safe to drink and can leave you feeling sick.

Orange juice can ferment on its own when left too long in your fridge, perhaps shoved behind something else that made you forget it was there. If you go to pour yourself a glass and it’s fizzy or bubbly, throw it out.

However, you can ferment orange juice for a tangy, fizzy drink that is safe to drink. You just have to ferment it correctly.

In other words, don’t let your OJ go bad in the fridge or on the counter and then try to drink it. You’ll get sick. But if you deliberately ferment it the right way, you’ll love it!

What happens with spontaneously-fermented orange juice?

When your orange juice ferments unintentionally, this is caused by it being contaminated with bad bacteria. Most orange juice is pasteurized, a process which kills off any good bacteria.

But even if you buy raw orange juice, it can spontaneously ferment too, and that’s not exactly safe to drink either.

Orange juice, or any juice for that matter, that you let ferment by mistake isn’t safe for drinking. It may contain salmonella or E. coli which can result in you feeling extremely ill. 

When something like orange juice spontaneously ferments, the bacteria and yeast eat up the sugars that are naturally found in the drink. This causes gases and ethanol to release.

That’s why your accidentally fermented orange juice is now bubbly. It will also contain a low alcohol content, though it is certainly not something you want to drink.

However, you can deliberately ferment your orange juice and that would be safe for drinking. The difference is in how it is prepared to ferment. When accidentally done, you create a breeding ground for bad bacteria to thrive and make you sick.

But when you ferment it on purpose, you can drink that orange juice safely. 

What’s the difference between spontaneously fermented orange juice and deliberately fermented orange juice?

Orange juice that you’ve accidentally fermented is not created by control. This will happen if you don’t refrigerate it properly. It can also happen when you don’t use it up in enough time.

It’s easier than you think to spontaneously ferment orange juice by mistake. All it takes is a full fridge or sticking it out of your line of vision in the side of the fridge door. 

There’s a reason why orange juice and other types of juices too will be found in the refrigerated section.

They will be labeled to instruct you to keep it refrigerated and recommend you discard any remainder that hasn’t been used within 7 to 10 days of opening it.

But when you intentionally ferment orange juice, as long as you follow the right steps and store your fermented orange juice correctly, it will be safe to drink.

To make fermented orange juice, you will need a starter. Any fermented drink you buy ready-made will have been made with some kind of lactic acid starter to let the good bacteria thrive.

What does fermented orange juice taste like?

When you open up a container of fresh orange juice, it’s sweet. But when you ferment that orange juice, that sweetness disappears.

If you’ve accidentally fermented your orange juice and you don’t know it, you’ll likely be able to tell from the taste. When you pour it into your glass and it has a bubbly, slightly tart taste, it is fermented. Throw it out!

For anyone that is less daring, you may want to give it a sniff first. If it smells sour in the same way vinegar does, it’s a wise idea to avoid drinking it. 

Of course, if you are making fermented orange juice the proper way, you’ll be glad to find this taste. That means that you’ve successfully made fermented orange juice to enjoy!

How long does it take to ferment orange juice?

When you intentionally ferment orange juice, it will take 24 to 48 hours for the process to finish. But of course, if you’re not intending to do so, you may find that the orange juice you bought at the store that is still sitting in your fridge past the 7 to 10 days after opening has fermented. 

It’s not a pleasant discovery. And while the taste of fermented orange juice is enjoyable, if you’ve accidentally let your orange juice ferment, it’s something you don’t want to continue drinking.

Can you get drunk off fermented orange juice?

Fermented orange juice can get you drunk, though you need to intentionally ferment it in that way. It all depends on what you use to ferment it. For your store-bought orange juice, there is little danger that it will get you drunk once fermented.

Store-bought OJ has too little alcohol in it to begin with. Plus, it’s sterilized. The amount you’d need to drink to get drunk off of it would fill you up too much before you’d even remotely have a buzz. 

If you’re looking to get drunk, perhaps pair your orange juice with a spirit like vodka!

Will fermented orange juice make you sick?

That depends. If you let it accidentally ferment spontaneously in your fridge, then yes. You will most likely get sick. The bad bacteria that caused it to ferment will take over and you’ll likely spend some time in the bathroom with an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Those microorganisms flourish and multiply quickly in spoiled orange juice. 

But if you intentionally ferment your orange juice the proper way, you will not get sick. That’s because you’re using good bacteria to ferment it. 

Does orange juice make it easier to get drunk?

Interestingly enough, if you want to feel drunk faster, you might want to mix your drinks with orange juice. Mixers that have sugar such as soda or juice will slow your body’s alcohol absorption capabilities in your bloodstream.

Orange juice also naturally contains vitamin C, an antioxidant known for cancelling out free radicals before they can cause damage. Fructose, the main sugar in orange juice, can increase alcohol metabolism as much as 80%. 

So, if you want a quicker buzz or perhaps to feel drunker off of less, considering mixing your drinks with orange juice!

The benefits of fermented orange juice

Now, if you intentionally ferment your orange juice, you’re going to enjoy some great health benefits. It is probiotic when made this way and has nutrients that help your body detox, boosts hydration, and reduces inflammation. This is way better than packaged juices that often come with added sugars and removal of key ingredients.

Oranges themselves are brimming with polyphenols and phytonutrients. These help bolster your immune system so you can fight away pathogens.

Polyphenols are excellent for lowering blood pressure too. And if you have inflammation in your body, oranges are wonderful anti-inflammatory agents. They are highly alkalizing on their own as well is in deliberately-fermented formats. 

On top of all this, fermented orange juice when done right has electrolytes your body needs. These include magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium.

Now, back to that vitamin C. You’re still getting that in your intentionally fermented orange juice. And that’s one powerful antioxidant that can help reduce your risk for certain types of cancer.

Additionally, vitamin C is the precursor for glutamine, an important antioxidant that helps your liver detox for healthy function.

When you buy store-bought orange juice, it has a high sugar content. It’s also missing the fiber that comes from the whole fruit. This can cause insulin spikes, boost cortisol levels, and cause you to crave fatty, sugary, and salty foods.

When you ferment your orange juice, you get all the benefits oranges have with a sugar-free probiotic benefit that will improve your gut microbiome and support your best health. 

Another great thing about fermenting orange juice is that it will last longer in your fridge and still retain the health benefits you need from it!

How to make fermented orange juice

If you want to make your own fermented orange juice, it starts with fresh oranges. Grab a bag of them and squeeze them fresh so that you have 6 cups of juice from the oranges. 

You’ll also need a starter culture. Cutting Edge Cultures makes one that is very easy to use in its pouches. You can also use it to ferment vegetables to make all sorts of things like sauerkraut and more!

Using a starter culture, you’ll need between 4 and 6 tablespoons. You should prepare them the way the starter culture package instructs.

You’ll also need 1 cup of filtered water. It should be at room temperature. 

Don’t forget to stock up on quart-sized mason jars! Ball has a set of 12 which will certainly come in handy to make enough for your family!

To make the fermented orange juice without making yourself sick, you will want to take the juice you’ve squeezed from your orange and add about 3 cups per mason jar.

You will then add ½ cup of the filtered water and then 2 to 3 tablespoons of the starter culture you’ve prepared. This is its moment!

After that, screw the lids onto the mason jars tightly. Once tightened, shake it up to mix the ingredients together.

Now, all you have to do is wait. Let your jars sit at room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours on up to 48 hours. By then, it should be bubbly, and once it is, you can move it to the fridge and enjoy as you wish!


If you’ve left your orange juice in your fridge too long, it will ferment. You should not drink juices that ferment in this way because they can breed bad bacteria that will make you sick.

However, you can intentionally create a fermented orange juice that is safe to drink. You just need to squeeze your own juice from fresh orange, combine it with a starter culture and water, and put it in airtight mason jars for up to 48 hours to ferment it at room temperature.

Once fermented the right way, you can drink it and reap the benefits of fermented orange juice for your health!


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