How Long Does Clamato Last After Opening?

Clamato® began refreshing Californians in the year 1969. Farmers chose clamato juice as the drink that made their laborious workdays under the sun more tolerable. Soon, its popularity spread all across the United States and Mexico.

Today, Clamato is the brand everyone prefers when preparing beverages and meals, and they’re still winning over palates all across the country.

If you’re also a fan and buy clamato juice in bulk, you may want to know its shelf life and expiration date. So, how does clamato last after opening?

While unopened clamato juice can last about three to five years, its shelf-life diminishes to three weeks after opening. And if clamato gets heated, the shelf life further reduces to only three hours. Once spoiled, clamato juice will smell and taste sour. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss how to store your clamato juice and how long it lasts so you can see if it’s worth buying in bulk or not.

What is Clamato?

Clamato is made of clam juice, tomato juice, and seasonings. The combined flavor of these ingredients is very popular. Also, this combination is excellent for long-term preservation. Pure clam juice can last for about three days when refrigerated. On the other hand, tomato juice can last for a week in the fridge. But what makes tomato juice last longer? The natural acidity in tomato juice prevents microbial growth and preserves the juice.

Looking at these facts, you might think that clamato juice will only stay fresh for a week. So how does it last so much longer? Let’s learn about the natural preservatives of clamato.

We know that pure tomato juice can last a week, but Clamato doesn’t use pure tomato juice. Instead, it contains tomato concentrate, which raises the juice’s acidity and improves its shelf life.

Sugar is another key ingredient in clamato that helps with preservation. It is a natural preservative, with eight grams per eight fluid ounces of sugar in each bottle. The sugar added to the acidity creates a perfect environment for preservation. Thus, you can refrigerate clamato much longer than any of the primary ingredients.

How Long Does Clamato Juice Last after Opening?

As we already know, clamato juice can last two to three weeks in the refrigerator. If unopened and juice is properly stored in the refrigerator as soon as possible, it can last up to three weeks. This shelf life only applies if you keep clamato in the fridge and out of the sun the entire time.

Unopened clamato juice will remain stable and fresh for up to three years in your pantry or on a shelf- but keep your eyes on the best-by date.

Note: Always store your unopened clamato juice in a cool, dry area.

Does Clamato Expire?

The manufacturer sets clamato expiration date. The is a best-buy date — indicating that the quality of the juice might degrade after that time. Typically, the juice will remain safe for consumption for a fair while after that date, but there are no guarantees on freshness when an expiration date passes.

You should not purchase expired clamato, but if you have an unopened bottle that has passed its date, you can sniff it before deciding to consume it or throw it away.

What Does Fresh Clamato Juice Taste Like?

Fresh tomato juice has a delicious flavor. It is a combo of clam and tomato juice with seasonings added for flavor. Some people say clamato tastes like tomato juice left open around seafood. Because clamato has a unique taste, some may enjoy drinking straight, while others may prefer only to drink it mixed with other cocktails.

Many people prefer it over regular tomato juice. And the best way to check if the juice is tasty is to try it. Clamato juice is an acquired taste and isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth trying if you have never had it before.

Shelf-Life of Clamato Juice (Chart)

ItemLength of Time
Unopened Clamato Juice3-5 years
Opened Clamato Juice – Refrigerated    2-3 weeks
Opened Clamato Juice at room temperature2-3 hours

How to Tell if Clamato Juice Has Gone Bad?

Visual signs are a good way to check if clamato has gone bad. Any mold that may appear indicates that the juice has gone bad and should be discarded.

Mold is commonly seen in spoiled tomato juice, as more solid particles are present. If the clamato juice becomes cloudy and bits of sediment form, it can signify that it has spoiled.

The smell is another indicator that clamato juice has gone bad. If clamato begins to smell sour, it shouldn’t be consumed.

Whether or not the broth has been previously opened, if the container is swelling or bulging, this is a sign of bacterial growth, and the broth should not be consumed.

Large or sharp dents in a clamato bottle may also lead to microbial growth and potentially botulism contamination. If you are concerned that the bottle of clamato may be contaminated, discard it in the trash.

The clams in clamato are another source of trouble. Clams go bad when infected with microbes. The microbes feed on the clam juice and reproduce. This process can release toxic compounds that will harm you if you consume them.

Can Expired Clamato Juice Make You Sick?

Yes, expired or spoiled clamato can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal distress.

Tomatoes in clamato juice can ferment or mold. Consuming fermented tomato juice can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Also, fermented juice won’t taste good, so you’re unlikely to gulp it down.

Molded tomato juice can also cause severe gastrointestinal issues. The mold isn’t always easy to smell, so it can be harder to detect. If you notice signs of mold in clamato, throw out the whole bottle.

Bad clamato juice can cause any of the above symptoms, and none of them are pleasant. So if you have any doubts, give the juice a sniff test.

What To Do If You Consume Expired Clamato Juice?       

It’s very unfortunate, but it can happen. Every person’s response to bad clamato juice will vary, and you should let your symptoms dictate your first step to recovery.

If you get serious symptoms from consuming clamato juice and feel sick, you should prepare for bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. If the symptoms are severe, consult with a doctor. It is always best to visit a medical professional.

Clamato Juice and Allergies: A Real Threat

Yes. Clamato has two main ingredients that trigger common allergies. The presence of clam can trigger seafood allergies, and those can be serious if not treated. If you have a seafood allergy and accidentally consumed clamato juice, consult your doctor immediately.

Tomatoes can also set off an allergic reaction. These reactions range from extremely mild to quite serious. If you know your allergic symptoms, you can gauge the risk of consuming clamato juice. Antihistamines can help with a mild reaction, but if you have any trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

Tips for How to Keep Clamato Juice Fresh Longer

Here’s a fact:

The best time to drink fresh clamato juice is right after it’s been opened. That way, all of the available vitamins are still present and viable. A nutritionist will tell you that you should drink clamato juice immediately within the first hour of opening. But if you order clamato juice in bulk, you may have too much to drink all at once. In that case, storing clamato correctly to reduce and improve its shelf life is your best bet.

Here are the best tips to help you keep clamato juice fresh longer:

Put Clamato Airtight, Glass Containers

Oxygen degrades the nutrients in clamato juice, so storing it in an airtight, glass container is best. It prevents oxygen from degrading nutrients, and no acids can harm the glass. You won’t get polyethylene and other nasty stuff in your clamato juice.

Fill the Airtight Container As Much as Possible

Knowing that oxygen degrades the nutrient value of your juice, fill the airtight container as much as possible. That way, you can reduce its exposure to oxygen.

Second, don’t heat the clamato juice.

Third, don’t add any new ingredients to the juice. Once you’ve opened the can or bottle, the only thing you should add is ice.

Drink Refrigerated Clamato within 72 Hours (3 Days)

We’ve already talked about clamato juice nutrient loss. Again, clamato juice loses nutrients quickly when opened and starts to spoil. That’s why we recommend you drink your clamato juice within 72 hours.

Freeze Clamato Juice

If you can’t drink your clamato juice within two or three days, you should consider freezing it. Freezing will prevent clamato from going bad. You can freeze clamato in an airtight glass container and leave half an inch of space at the top for expansion when freezing. We recommend that your thaw frozen clamato juice in the refrigerator. When thawed, consume it as soon as possible.

Common Uses for Clamato Juice

Clamato juice is useful for many things. You can add clamato to sauces and broths to enhance flavor. You can also drink it if you like the taste. You can combine clamato with pretty much anything.

Its most popular uses are cocktails. Clamato makes unique variations on the Bloody Mary, also called a Michelada. It is also frequently paired with beer to make cheladas and other seasoned beverages.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you enjoyed reading this guide about clamato juice and its shelf life. We’ve put together some related questions and answers in this section and we invite you to check if you might find any of the information valuable.

Related Questions

Does clamato contain clam juice?

Yes. Clamato is made of tomato and clam juices. Adding lemon juice, hot sauce, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce give clamato a hearty, spicy taste. You can serve clamato as a drink or use it in cocktails.

Can you drink clamato that was left out overnight?

No. Clamato is a perishable juice and can only be left out at room temperature for two hours before it’s considered unsafe to drink.

How to Freeze Clamato?

Freezing is a great way to preserve your clamato and enjoy it as you see fit. Clamato can stay fresh in the fridge for a week or two, and you can usually smell it if it goes bad. However, you can just freeze clamato in an ice cube tray and keep it safe for longer. Just transfer the frozen cubes into a labeled freezer bag, so they don’t get thrown out or misused.  

Is Clamato Bad for You?

Like most juices, there are pros and cons to a bottle of clamato juice. It is an FDA-approved product, so there are no major health concerns with consumption. Tomato juice has antioxidants that are good for general health. There are also trace amounts of vitamin A and C in clamato juice.

Clamato juice does have some sugar, so if your diet requires you to limit sugar intake, read the label carefully. Clamato also has a relatively high salt content. Anyone with blood pressure problems should stick to small portions.

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