How long does fresh juice last? If you juice your fruits and veggies regularly, you’ve probably asked yourself this question many times. After all, if you were to store your juices, it would reduce your workload in terms of how many times you process them and the dishes you have to clean. Additionally, it could save you lots of time.
However, there is a period limit to how long you can store the juice, whether you put it in the fridge, freezer, or elsewhere. This limit varies based on the factors that we’re going to highlight below. Also, we will tell you how to find out if your juice has gone bad, the underlying causes, and what you can do to extend the juice’s shelf life.
If you’ve attempted to store your juice and you can’t quite tell if it’s good or bad, we can help you with that. First off, if you have a nagging suspicion that the juice you’re about to put in your mouth is bad, you’re probably right. Having seen how other foods look and smell when bad over the years may have allowed you to develop some instincts in this area.
However, there are physical signs as well if you’re looking to confirm your suspicions. The first is the smell. If it smells sour or putrid, dump it in the sink. The scent may not be as evident when the juice starts to go bad, so you may need to be keen. However, the longer you store it, the worse the smell.
Additionally, brown coloring on top of the liquid may be a warning sign that you shouldn’t go anywhere near that juice. Consequently, we recommend that you don’t shake the juice until you’ve checked the color of the juice; otherwise, it might be challenging to establish whether the beverage is fresh or not.
Just like every other food and beverage that you make at home, fresh juice is highly perishable. However, if you find the root cause of the problem and eliminate it, you should be able to store your fresh beverages for longer. The two major reasons why fresh juice goes bad are oxidation and bacteria.
Oxidation is caused by a reaction between the enzymes in your fruits and the oxygen in the air. Admittedly the enzymes in fresh fruits don’t come into contact with air due to the outer skin(exocarp). However, as the fruit breaks down due to age, you will notice some browning and oxidation.
Additionally, most of these fruits contain antioxidants that slow down oxidation. By juicing, the enzymes in the fluid will be more exposed to oxygen, which will hasten the process. Additionally, heat will increase the speed of oxidation several-fold. This is the reason why your choice of juicer is important.
You have to choose between a centrifugal, masticating, or twin-gear juicer. A centrifugal juicer is the worst of the lot. It uses high spinning blades to juice your veggies and fruits, which means that lots of heat is produced. In addition to increasing the oxidation rate, the heat in the centrifugal juicer will also lead to the loss of some nutrients.
Masticating juicers are also nicknamed cold press juicers since they produce almost no heat during the juicing process. They contain slow augers, which crush fruits and vegetables in contrast to the high-speed design of their centrifugal counterparts. The minimal friction produced means reduced oxidation as well.
Despite the difference in name, the twin gear juicer is also a masticating juicer. However, instead of crushing the fruits and veggies against a chamber, the first gear crushes them against a secondary gear. A twin gear juicer is slow and quite effective if you want to retain flavors, nutrients, and even the antioxidants as you’re juicing.
The Tribest GSE-5010 is a perfect example of a twin gear juicer and one that comes highly recommended by both previous users and juicing experts. It’s easy to clean, makes light work of fruits and veggies, and produces nutrient-dense results.
There are also bacterial microorganisms that will grow and reproduce in your juices the longer you leave them alone. Unfortunately, they produce substances that will change the beverage’s odor, color, taste, and texture.
The longer you wait to drink your juice, the more bacteria there are, and the worse the juice becomes until eventually, you’ll be putting yourself at risk by drinking it. Even washing your fruits before juicing them does not eliminate these microorganisms.
How long does fresh apple, celery, orange, or ginger juice last, you ask? It will depend on several factors. One is the processing method as mentioned above; consequently, if we were to compare juices made using centrifugal, masticating, and twin gear juicers, the twin gear beverages last the longest. The masticating and centrifugal juicer-based drinks last the second longest and the shortest in that order.
Also, this shelf-life is based on the assumption that you store the juices in the fridge. If you don’t, they might not even last the full 24 hours, depending on the juicer type you used. Alternatively, you could put them in a freezer, and they will last longer. However, the juice’s nutritional value will be depleted the longer you leave the juice in there.
Also, the type of container you use to store your juices will impact shelf-life. The mason jar is the most recommended. Since it’s made of glass, you reduce the chances of the juice leaching toxins from the container, as is common when you use plastic.
Additionally, mason jars come with airtight lids. As such, if you seal your juice properly, the jar should keep oxygen out. Lastly, you should fill the mason jar to the brim if you can. This will remove all the air from the container, ensuring oxidation levels stay low.
Below are a few tips we recommend you use to store your juice for as long as possible.
We’ve already stated the importance of using the correct type of container as well as putting the juice in the fridge. Remember that juices start to lose nutrients as soon as 30 minutes after juicing, and thus, you shouldn’t let them sit in the refrigerator for too long. Alternatives to the mason jars are glass bottles with airtight lids and even thermos flasks. You might also want to label your storage jars, so you keep a practice of first in first out when taking out your juices.
It’s a good idea to use the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find in your grocery store. Remember that oxidation and bacterial degeneration will start to happen in fruits and veggies, whether you juice them or not. For older fruits, these processes may already have started. As such, if you use them, the juice you make will already have a shorter shelf life.
Also, the standard fruits you buy from your local grocery store may contain chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers that lead to faster deterioration. Consequently, organic fruits and veggies are always better if you can get your hands on them. However, they’re often pricier than their non-organic counterparts.
We already mentioned that you might have to seal the mason jar to the brim to remove the air in the container that may cause oxidation. There is, however, another way to work around this where you use a vacuum sealer in conjunction with your mason jars. This works exceptionally well if there’s space between the juice and the lid.
According to reviewers and users, the Foodsaver V4400 is fantastic not just for sealing juices in your mason jar but for other foods as well. The retractable handheld sealer included in the machine is especially handy when working with containers, mason jars, and zipper bags. Additionally, the automatic moisture detection feature will come in handy to ensure you’re working with the correct mode.
Remember that one of the reasons for your juice going bad is due to the microorganisms present in the beverage. As such, if you could eliminate these microorganisms, you effectively increase the shelf life of your drink. This is precisely what the UV treatment does.
This technology is used to disinfect drinking water as well. That said, you’ll hardly ever find anybody using this method to preserve the fresh juice they make at home. The equipment is expensive, and as such, it’s not very cost-effective unless you intend to start selling fresh juice.
Additionally, UV treatment is not very effective for juices with high turbidity, which will be the case for many byproducts of your juicer.
The electrical pulses released by a PEF machine perforate the cell membranes in the juice. This process should render all the microorganisms in the juice inactive. As a side benefit, this process leaves all the nutrients, pigments, and antioxidants intact. The resulting juice can last anywhere between 7-20 days in the fridge without going bad.
As for the downsides of PEF treatment, they include a high initial cost. You may need to spend up to $300,000, and if you’re only making juices for home use, this cost hardly seems worth it. If you decide you want to sell fresh juice, that’s a different matter altogether. Also, if you don’t cool the juice after each pulse, the temperatures could shoot up, leading to oxidation and loss of nutrients.
Pasteurization is often used in commercial settings rather than at home to process juices and milk. It uses mild heat at certain intervals to target and eliminate the pathogens and microorganisms that usually cause your juice to go bad. This leads to increased shelf life for the products in question.
That said, pasteurization is relatively broad, and there are several ways to go about it. One example is slow pasteurization. In this method, the juice you’re trying to store is heated to about 149°F for between 20 to 30 minutes. After that, it is left to cool, sometimes even for 24 hours before it is packaged. This has affected the taste of juice in the past and is thus not very popular.
Flash pasteurization, on the other hand, uses a higher temperature range of 176°F – 203°F. However, the heating time is reduced to between 15 and 30 seconds. This method is less disruptive to the flavor and nutrients in juice and is preferred. Juices processed with flash pasteurization tend to last a maximum of 20 days in the refrigerator for those with non-aseptic packaging.
Those packed using aseptic containers can last months. Next, we have ultra-pasteurization, which uses even higher heat. Juices are heated to 280.4°F for a few seconds. When they’re eventually packaged into aseptic containers, they have a shelf-life that can extend for months. The juices don’t even need refrigeration to stay fresh.
Since pasteurization methods all use heat, there is going to be some degradation in nutrients and flavors. As such, some people prefer cold processing methods such as high-pressure processing. The juices are put into containers before being subjected to high levels of pressure. The pressure, in turn, inactivates the microorganisms in the juice, allowing it to last longer and making it safe to drink. With this processing method, you get a maximum shelf-life of 45 days.
How long does fresh juice last? Well, typically, the maximum storage period is five days depending on the processing method. However, for store-bought juice that has been packaged in a factory with more advanced equipment, the beverage can even last for months. That said, the most important information for you from the write-up above is how best to store your juice at home. With this, you can juice and store your fruit and veggie beverages more efficiently.