Have you overstocked your soda supply? Have you noticed that some of that pop is past its best buy date? If so, the one question that might be at the top of your mind is ‘does soda go bad?’ read on for answers and tips on how best to store your soda for freshness.
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Does Soda Go Bad?
Soda is non-perishable, which means it does not go bad per se. What happens is that carbonated drinks lose their fizz and flavor when not properly stored and if you keep the drinks for too long.
Your favorite carbonated drink does not come with an expiry date. Instead, it features a ‘sell-by’ or ‘best before’ date, which is simply a quality date rather than a safety date.
Just because it is past its sell-by date does not mean that the soda has gone bad, especially if it is unopened.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the shelf life of soda and tips on keeping your pop fresher for longer.
How Long Does Soda Last?
How long soda lasts majorly depends on two things: How you store it and whether it is opened or unopened.
You might be tempted to discard soda that is past its sell-by date, but not too fast. This date is just the manufacturer’s recommendation for when you should consume the soda to enjoy the bubbly fizz, which is a sign of freshness.
Soda can last well past its sell-by date but while it might be safe to drink, its quality will deteriorate the longer the drink goes past the recommended best-before date.
How you store the soda also affects its shelf life. We recommend storing carbonated drinks in a cool, dark place for maximum freshness.
The pantry is a great choice especially if you have a large stock that will otherwise take up too much space in the fridge. Here, unopened soda can last 6-9 months past its best-before date.
Once you open a bottle or can of soda, it is best to refrigerate the remaining content but you should make a point of consuming it within 4 days before the drink starts to lose its characteristic flavor. Unopened soda stores well in the fridge and will be good 6-9 months past the sell-by date.
Soda Shelf Life
|Unopened soda||6-9 months||
4 Tips To Tell If Soda Has Gone Bad
When we talk about soda going bad, what this primarily means is that the drink has lost its bubbly fizz. It should still be safe to consume but you might not enjoy it as much if the bubbles are no longer there!
That said, if you are unsure whether your carbonated drink has gone bad, here is how to find out:
You know that ‘tsss’ sound that is produced when you open a bottle or can of soda? Soda is bottled under high pressure to ensure proper carbonation and that crispy, fizzy sound is a sign that the drink is at peak freshness.
So, if you open a soda bottle or can for the first time and it doesn’t produce the tsss sound, then your drink has probably gone ‘flat’. You can still consume it but without the fizz and bubbles, the drink might not be as enjoyable.
If your drink does not smell off or you do not notice a strange color change, try taking a sip to ascertain its freshness. When soda stays unused for too long it can lose its crispy taste.
Other than a lack of crisp, the soda might also have a weird taste that is different from what you are used to. For example, an orange-flavored drink might no longer have that orange-y taste. If this is the case, the soda has lost its freshness.
Pour the drink in a clear glass and check for any noticeable color changes that might indicate that the soda is past its peak quality. If the drink is not too fresh, you might also notice some residue around the inside of the glass.
4. Condition of the bottle or can
You should discard carbonated drinks if the bottles show signs of rusting, bulging, leaking, or denting.
Now that you know how to check if soda has gone bad, let’s take a look at how best to extend the shelf life of your carbonated drink.
5 Tips To Store Soda
When it comes to storing soda, the goal is to keep the drink from going flat. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
1. Store away from heat
Carbonated drinks do not do too well in high or even warm temperatures. This is why soda chilled in the fridge can be so addictive while warm soda only tastes meh.
High temperatures encourage gas to escape from the bottle thereby leaving soda flat. The cooler the soda, the better the gas will dissolve in the fluid, which helps to retain the fizz in the drink.
The best place to store your carbonated drinks is in a cool and dry pantry or in the fridge. The cool environment will keep soda at peak freshness.
2. Seal it
As soon as you serve your soda, you should place the cap back on. If you buy your pop in cans, pour the remaining content in a bottle and put a cap on the bottle.
Alternatively, once you open the can you could seal it using aluminum foil to preserve the remaining content. Use a rubber band to hold the foil in place then store in the fridge until you are ready to use again.
3. Squeeze it
By reducing the volume of space in an opened soda bottle, you can slow down the rate at which carbon dioxide escapes from the bottle.
To do this, gently squeeze the soda bottle as you put the cap back on. The less space there is in the bottle, the less carbon dioxide will leave the bottle. In other words, less volume means more gas can be trapped in the bottle, which helps to retain the fizz longer even after opening the bottle.
4. Transfer to smaller bottles
Another neat trick is to store soda in smaller sealable bottles. This has the same effects as the squeezing method—it reduces the volume in the bottle therefore lowering the amount of gas leaving the bottle.
So, if you are a slow drinker and you find yourself with an opened two-liter bottle of soda, you can keep your drink fresh by pouring it into smaller bottles, replace the cap, and refrigerate. Your soda will stay fresh and fizzy for a few more days.
5. Place it upside down
Keep your opened bottle of soda perkier for longer by storing it upside down in the refrigerator. When you open a bottle of pop, gas rushes to the top and this is why you hear that pssst sound.
Turning the bottle upside down pushes the gas to the bottom of the bottle, forcing it to dissolve back into the soda. The more gas you can keep in the bottle, the fresher the soda will be.
The Risks of Consuming Expired Soda
If you have soda that is past its sell-by date, you might worry about getting sick from drinking it. The good news is you will not get sick from consuming expired soda in and of itself.
The best-before or sell-by date on the bottle is just an indication of quality, not safety. The only thing you will have to contend with when you drink old soda is the flat and awful taste.
That being said, we recommend consuming opened soda as soon as you can, preferably within four days. If you leave soda in the open and unrefrigerated even for a couple of hours, it is best to discard it for hygiene purposes.
Can You Freeze Soda?
Putting a can of your favorite soda in the freezer to get it to cool faster might seem like a no-brainer but it is actually not a good idea.
Canned soda does not freeze well and here is why: the water content in the soda expands by about nine percent when it freezes. As the carbonated drink freezes, the expanding water pushes out the carbon dioxide in the soda.
Because the freezing can is sealed and under pressure, it prevents the carbon dioxide from leaving, which results in the bottle exploding and spluttering its content all over the freezer. For this reason, you should never attempt to freeze canned soda.
If you want to enjoy frozen soda, you can prepare a slushie. Try these steps:
- Pour your drink into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Chill the remaining soda in the fridge.
- When you are ready to use, place the ice cubes in a blender, pour in the chilled soda, and blend until well mixed.
- Serve in mason jars and enjoy!
Sodas have an impressively long shelf life and even though your favorite pop will likely not go bad, the longer you keep it, the more it losses its crisp and fizz. For peak freshness, it is best to consume your soda as close to the purchase date as possible.