Does coconut water go bad?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “does coconut water go bad?. “We will also discuss the shelf life of coconut water as well as the best ways of storing it.

Does coconut water go bad?

Yes, if it is not properly kept, it will go bad. Coconut water is highly sensitive to microbial attack within a few hours after its extraction from the nut and thu having a very short shelf life.(1) 

What is the best way to preserve coconut water?

Fresh coconut water, whether collected from a young or mature fruit, has a short shelf life and should be used immediately. 

The water should be saved in a freezer-safe sealed container once it has been strained through a  sieve after the coconut has been opened. It is entirely up to you whether you want to keep it in the fridge or the freezer.

Coconut water remains remarkably sterile while it remains enclosed within the fruit. However, once extracted, its shelf life becomes limited. Even a minor crack in the coconut shell can lead to spoilage. 

Consequently, there is a need to extend the shelf life of coconut water to ensure its preservation during transportation to different regions of the country.  (2)

Similar to other tropical fruits, subjecting coconut to temperatures below 12 °C can lead to chilling injury, causing the skin of the coconut to darken rapidly. However, in the case of an untreated whole coconut, optimal preservation was observed when stored for 28 days at either 12 °C or 17 °C. (3)

What is the shelf life of coconut water?

At room temperature (27 °C), coconut water exhibits limited stability, lasting less than 24 hours, evident from changes in smell and taste. 

The acidity of coconut water, measured by its citric acid content, increases with maturity, indicating a rise in sourness resulting from microbial spoilage.

 When stored under ambient conditions, freshly harvested green coconuts can be preserved for 5 to 7 days.

To maintain the quality of tender coconut water, it can be stored in glass or PET bottles at temperatures ranging from -20°C to +2°C, allowing it to retain its freshness for 2-3 months. 

Alternatively, if coconut water is heated to 100°C for 10 minutes, it can be stored for 6 months at room temperature. 

Furthermore, when packed in Tetra Pak or PET containers, both fresh and stabilized coconut water can remain suitable for consumption for as long as 12 months.(2, 4, 5)

How Can You Tell If Coconut Water Is Bad?

Even under refrigerated storage conditions, the catalytic activities of food enzymes can lead to numerous undesirable effects in coconut water. 

This includes the formation of pink color, browning, unpleasant flavors, and odors, all stemming from the enzymatic processes and microbial activity.

 Notably, enzymes such as polyphenol oxidases (PPO) and peroxidases (POD) play a significant role in diminishing the market potential and storage life of coconut water.

Moreover, fresh coconut water is highly vulnerable to microbial attacks, particularly from microorganisms like Clostridium botulinum. 

Within just a few hours of extraction from the nut, coconut water becomes highly susceptible to microbial contamination. This not only results in the loss of vital nutritional components but also leads to a shortened shelf-life. (1)

Is it possible to freeze coconut water?

Yes, coconut water can be frozen without any issues. In fact, frozen coconut water samples exhibit optimal values for the characteristic properties typically found in fresh green coconut water.

When evaluating the impact of three distinct processes (ultrafiltration, pasteurization, and freezing) on the mineral composition of young coconut water, it was observed that ultrafiltration effectively retained the majority of minerals present in the coconut water. 

On the other hand, pasteurization tended to increase the concentrations of Cu, Fe, and Zn. In contrast, freezing caused a complete alteration in the distribution of minerals within the coconut water. (3)

What are the risks of spoiled coconut water?

Consuming spoiled coconut water poses a risk because it can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. Symptoms of these infections can include nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. (1)

In what ways may fresh coconut water be preserved longer?

There is a variety of preservation methods that are used to extend coconut water shelf life.

Ultra-High Temperature (UHT)

Heating your coconut water for 2 – 45 seconds below 130 degrees Celsius to 150 ° c  is required for this method to be successful. Bottled coconut water is treated in this manner to ensure that it would remain shelf-stable for at least usually one year. 

Cold Refrigeration

Refrigeration is used for preservation purposes at cold temperatures. To keep coconut water fresh for 10 days to 3 weeks without changing its original taste, it goes through several procedures such as filtering, bottling, and temperature control. ​


Microorganisms and dispersed particles are removed from coconut water via a physical filtering process in which the water travels through a membrane with pores of varying sizes.(2, 4, 5)


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “does coconut water go bad?. “We also discussed the shelf life of coconut water as well as the best ways of storing it.


  1. Prithviraj, V., Pandiselvam, R., Babu, A. C., Kothakota, A., anikantan, M. R., Ramesh, S. V., … Hebbar, K. B. Emerging non-thermal processing techniques for preservation of tender coconut water. LWT, 149, 111850. 2021.
  2. L., Sunil & Appaiah, Prakruthi & P K, Prasanth Kumar & A.G., Gopala Krishna. Coconut Water – A Nature’s miracle health drink: Chemistry, Health Benefits, Packaging, Storage, and Technologies: A Review. 1-11. 2020.
  3. Prades, A., Dornier, M., Diop, N., & Pain, J.-P. Coconut water preservation and processing: a review. Fruits, 67(3), 157–171. 2012.
  4. Naik, M., C. K., S., Rawson, A., & N, V. Tender Coconut Water: A Review on Recent Advances in Processing and Preservation. Food Reviews International, 1–22. 2020.
  5. Aditi Mathur, Gadhe Shruthi. Market Analysis of Packed Tender  Coconut Water in India. Institute Of Agri Business Management  Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University Bikaner. 2019

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