Not all juices, spirits and home-made drinks are created equal! There is a wide range of hold times for the beverages in your home and they change depending on opened/unopened or refrigerated or not! Follow our helpful guide and hints below to keep you and your family stay organized, safe and keep your drinks tasty all summer long.
Before we dive in, get yourself a bold permanent marker, and keep it somewhere close to your fridge. Marking beverages with a date and/or time is a great habit that keeps you from drinking something you shouldn’t. I always use a 6-digit code on my items, telling me when it’s time to toss. For example if a bottle of juice has the code 062012, I know it should be discarded by the end of the day on June 20th. Find a system that works for you and your family!
Fruit Juices: There’s quite a spectrum out there when it comes to fruit-based beverages! If you’re making your own fresh fruit juice, keep it for 3 days only. The same goes for fresh squeezed juices you buy in seal containers, unless they are unopened in which case they will last up to 5 days. Pasteurized juice will last 3 weeks unopened or 1 week opened in your fridge. Always refrigerate your opened or fresh juices, never leave them out for long periods of time on the counter. Got unopened juice boxes? They’ll be fine in the cool/dark portion of your pantry for up to 6 months!
Alcohol: From wine to beer to spirits, the differences in storage are amazing! On one end of the spectrum, we have dark liquors like brandy. They will keep indefinitely (ever wonder why Fruitcake lasts forever, it’s the brandy the cake is coated in that makes it edible for months (years) afterwards). Clear liquors like vodka will last for up to 2 years. Don’t keep a bottle of wine for too long, most wines will only last a year unopened in your pantry. Keeping wine for extended periods without the proper storage can cause the wine to become vinegar and the cork could rot through causing quite and smelly mess. Have leftover wine in your fridge? Drink it within 2 days. Unopened cases of beer are fine in your pantry for up to 9 months, but if you open one you should consume it within a day.
Soda: You may think that soda will last forever but in truth everything has an expiration. You can keep an unopened case or bottle in your pantry for up to 6 months or an opened can in your fridge for up to two days.
Iced tea/coffee: Although bacteria actually does not grow in coffee and it’s safe to drink a long time after it’s brewed, you would never be able to stand the increasingly bitter taste. Iced coffee will keep an acceptable flavor for 24 hours in the fridge, but if you’re going for a fresh-brewed taste stick to an 8 hour maximum. Iced tea is much the same, depending on the type of tea, the taste can go south in a day or two. Know how to properly make iced tea or iced coffee? Fill up half a pitcher with a double-strength brew, add ice to the top, properly date and chill. If you’re opting for bottled beverages, they will keep for a week opened in your fridge.
For more food safety and storage tips, check out Real Simple’s Food Storage Guide.
How do you monitor the beverages in your home for safety? We want to know!
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