For many people, soda is a delicious and refreshing drink that’s good all year long. And when there’s a sale on for your favorite soda, it’s easy to stock up on cans or bottles that could last you months.
But it can seem hard to tell when this fizzy drink has “gone bad” or expired, especially with dark sodas like cola.
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Soda and the Best-By Date
Soda is not usually sold with an expiration date on its label. That’s because soda doesn’t really expire.
In fact, soda has even been known to grow mold before it can become bad enough to make you sick (see below for more details on this).
Therefore, soda manufacturers almost always list a best-by date rather than an expiration date. This just indicates the approximate date you should drink the soda by for maximum flavor and freshness.
If your can or bottle of soda is unopened, it should be sealed by the manufacturer well enough to protect it from anything in the world that could harm it or speed up its expiration.
How do I store soda properly?
No matter what kind of soda you have, they all should be stored in similar conditions. The real difference is whether the fizzy drink comes in a can or a bottle.
If you buy your soda in cans, it can be stored practically anywhere that doesn’t get too hot or has a fluctuating temperature.
The kitchen, fridge, and pantry are all good options. Bottles of soda need to be stored in a dark, cool place, so the fridge or pantry are better options than the countertop.
Some sodas have ingredients that can be influenced by high temperatures to change the way they taste. Heat also increases the pressure inside bottles and cans, which may lead to an explosion of soda all over the place.
It’s generally a good idea to keep your soda as cool as possible to avoid these possible effects.
Does soda go bad after you open it?
Soda can’t really go “bad.” Not in the sense that other food and drinks can.
Typically, when food expires, it becomes no longer safe for human consumption. It can cause whoever eats it to become sick with food poisoning. This can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, and chills.
Fortunately, soda rarely runs the risk of expiring so badly that it could make you physically ill.
Even though expired soda can’t give you food poisoning, it can still lose its appeal. Once soda is opened, it only takes a matter of days for it to lose its carbonation, causing it to go flat.
Expired soda also loses its flavor and becomes bland or even develops a nasty flavor.
How long does soda stay good in the fridge?
If you’re like me, however, you sometimes need to refrigerate the rest of your soda to be enjoyed later.
Heat causes the gases that form the bubbles in soda to move faster, which leads to them “escaping” from the soda faster. The fridge is a great way to keep a soda cool to slow down the gases and keep the fizz trapped for a bit longer.
Soda can stay “good” for about 2 to 4 days in the fridge. After that, it’s very unlikely that the soda will retain any of its fizz or fresh flavor.
A tightly sealed bottle will stay fresher longer, so if you have an unfinished can of soda, try to transfer it to a bottle or seal the top with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and a rubber band.
This seal will keep bubbles from leaving the drink while it chills.
How can you tell if a can of soda has expired?
If your soda is unopened, you should check to see if the can or bottle has been damaged or is leaking. If so, it was not protected from bacteria and other environmental elements and should be thrown out.
If the soda is opened, you can check for the same signs that it’s gone off as mentioned above.
Remember, soda can almost never give you food poisoning, so the worst that can happen is the soda tastes terrible.
Soda is an incredibly resilient beverage. It seldom goes bad enough to spoil, and even when soda grows mold, it can’t give food poisoning to the brave soul who drinks it.
There are several ways to preserve your soda to make sure it lasts up to its full potential, which could be as long as 9 months past its best-by date.
To maximize your soda’s shelf life, store it in a cool, dark place and refrigerate it once opened. If you are unsure if your soda has expired, check to see if it looks, smells, and tastes as it should. If so, it should be good to drink.