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There’s no denying that fresh, homemade juice is far more nutritious than the bottled juice you can buy from the supermarket.
But, without using any nasty preservatives, how long will your fresh juice last? And what might affect your juice’s shelf life? I’ll be discussing everything you need to know in this article.
🤔 So, How Long Does Fresh Juice Last Anyway?
There’s no definite answer to this question. The shelf life of your fresh juice depends on a number of factors, including the type of juicer you use, where you store your juice, and even the ingredients used to make your juice.
Luckily, it is possible to extend the shelf life of the juice you make, so you’re not required to drink an entire batch of juice immediately after making it.
There are a number of strategies that you can use to make your juice last longer while it’s in storage. I’ll be outlining some of the strategies that have worked best for me below.
How Long Does Homemade Juice Last in the Fridge?
How long does fresh juice last in the fridge? Much longer than if you were to store juice in room temperature.
While it’s advisable that you drink your juice as soon after you’ve made it as possible, you can store the juice in your refrigerator if you need to.
In room temperature, a cup of juice lasts for a maximum of four hours before it will start to spoil. On the other hand, if you store the juice in the fridge, it has a much longer lifespan of up to 24 hours from juicing.
Of course, the exact lifespan of your juice, even when stored in the fridge, will depend on other factors, including the juicer you used to make the juice and the ingredients you use. To extend the shelf life of your juice in the fridge, add antioxidant-rich ingredients to the juice, such as lemons, which will slow down the oxidation process.
How Long Does Homemade Juice Last in a Mason Jar?
Oxidation is the process in which oxygen (air) is introduced into a juice, causing it to spoil. The more air your juice is exposed to, the faster it will spoil.
Storing your juice in a sealed mason jar will slow down the oxidation process, increasing the shelf life of your juice. When you store juice in a mason jar, you can expect it to last up to two more days than if it was left in a pitcher or glass in the fridge.
Mason jars are ideal storage containers for homemade juice as they’re made from glass, which means there’s no risk of plastic toxins leaching into your juice. Look for a high-quality mason jar with a rubber seal to store fresh juice. The rubber seal will prevent oxygen from getting inside.
Another tip is to fill your jar to the brim with juice, which will prevent oxygen in the trapped air from causing issues.
How Long Can I Keep Fresh Juice in the Freezer?
You can store your fresh juice in the freezer, and this, of course, will prolong the juice’s shelf life significantly.
How long does fresh juice last in the freezer? If you place your fresh juice immediately in the freezer after juicing, you can expect it to last for up to 6 months. Keep in mind, however, that some nutrients may be lost during this time in storage. As always, the sooner you can drink your juice, the better.
The most sensible time frame for storing juice in the freezer is three months. This will allow you to enjoy the full range of the juice’s nutrients. You will need to defrost your juice before drinking.
If you like to make big batches of juice from fruits and vegetables, freezing your fresh juice will help you to avoid waste, and you’ll still be able to enjoy a healthy, nutritious juice.
It’s worth noting that juice, like water, will expand when frozen. When you’re filling containers with juice, make sure you leave some room for the juice to expand – or it may end up bursting out of the container.
💨 What is Juice Oxidation?
Oxidation, in scientific terms, happens when a molecule loses an electron. Oxidation of fresh juice can be caused by several factors, notably heat production and exposure to oxygen (in the air).
The proteins and amino acids in fresh juice react with the oxygen, resulting in nutrient loss. Oxidation of juice is less obvious than oxidation of the fruits and vegetables that are used to make juices. We’ve all seen the discolored flesh of a sliced banana or apple that has been left out for too long. This discoloration is a sign of oxidation.
✔️ Factors Affecting Oxidation of Fresh Juice
There are a number of factors that can affect the oxidation of fresh juice, including:
Type of Juicer
The type of juicer you use will affect the oxidation level of your fresh juice. The two most common juicers to be aware of are masticating (or slow/cold press) and centrifugal juicers.
Masticating juicers, otherwise known as slow juicers or cold press juicers, are the better choice if you’re looking to retain nutrients for longer. The masticating process reduces heat build-up and minimizes oxidation. These juicers can also extract a greater quantity of juice from the same ingredients, making them better for waste reduction and value for money.
Alternatively, centrifugal juicers operate at much faster speeds, forcing liquid to separate from fruit and vegetables with a spinning blade. This process increases oxidation, and you will need to drink your fresh juice much faster (within at least 20 minutes) before nutrients are lost.
There are several other, less common juicers to be aware of, including triturating, hydraulic, and twin-gear juicers. All of these juicers are similar to masticating juicers in performance, and limit oxidation levels, ensuring a high nutritional value from your juice.
Heat exposure comes hand-in-hand with the type of juicer that’s used to produce your fresh juice. The more heat involved in the juicing process, the greater the oxidation.
Using a cold-press juicer to process your fruit and vegetables will produce the least heat, and therefore the least oxidation. The design of a masticating juicer prevents heat buildup; the masticating process slowly crushes and grinds fruits and veggies without introducing heat. Cold-pressed juice has a significantly longer shelf-life of up to 72 hours.
A centrifugal juicer, on the other hand, produces a lot more heat during the juicing process. A typical centrifugal juicer uses a fast-spinning blade to slice produce and extract juice at high speeds. The process is designed to be much faster than the cold-pressed process, at the expense of the juice’s nutritional value. It’s because of this heat build-up that juice made in a centrifugal juicer has a lower shelf life.
The ingredients used in your fresh juice will also affect how long you can store it.
How long does fresh juice last if it contains organic produce? Typically longer than juice made from non-organically farmed store-bought fruits and veggies, as these contain lower levels of nutrients.
Aside from this, the types of ingredients you use won’t have a huge impact on the shelf life of your juice. All fresh juice should be consumed within 24 hours, or 72 hours if stored in a sealed glass container.
Some juice ingredients, such as citrus fruits, have antioxidant properties that may increase how long the juice will last. However, that doesn’t mean that adding citric acid from orange juice or lemon juice to your beverage will massively increase its shelf life.
As I mentioned earlier in this guide, the way that you store your juice will affect how long it’ll last. Proper storage is essential if you plan to drink your juices after 48 hours or longer, and you don’t want your juice to go bad before then.
If you store your juice in a drinking glass at room temperature, it’ll have a particularly low shelf-life. This is because it is exposed to oxygen, which will speed up the oxidation process. Being at room temperature won’t help matters, either.
Your juice will have a much better shelf life if you store it in glass containers, such as mason jars, in your refrigerator. A glass container with a vacuum seal will prevent nutrient loss before you drink the juice.
If you keep the juice made from a masticating or twin-gear juicer in an airtight glass jar in the fridge, it should last for up to 72 hours.
🕓 How Can I Increase the Shelf Life of Fresh Juice?
It’s still recommended that you drink your juice as soon as possible to enjoy the highest nutritional value from the fruit and vegetables you’re consuming. However, if you want your juices to stay fresh, you can increase their shelf life by doing the following:
Juice When You’re Ready To Drink
The easiest way to prevent nutrient loss is to drink your juice immediately after juicing. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to make and drink your batch of juice, whether that means getting up earlier in the morning or juicing when you’re not so busy. If you drink your juice immediately, you’ll know for sure that you’re consuming it before it has the chance to go bad.
Use A Cold Press Juicer
Stored juice from a cold press juicer will last longer than juice from a fast juicer. When produced using a mastication method, juice has a lifespan of around 3 days. You can extend the shelf lifespan of your juice simply by using a cold press juicer.
Store Your Juice Properly
All different types of fresh juice can benefit from being stored in glass containers in a refrigerator. Vacuum-sealing your juices will also extend their lifespans beyond 24 hours. While storing your juices in a plastic container won’t affect their lifespan, the plastic chemicals from the container could affect the quality of the juices in a different way.
Additionally, you can freeze your juices to make them last for a greater period after juicing. As long as you don’t freeze them for more than 3 months, this method of storing your juices shouldn’t affect their quality.
Use Organic Ingredients
Fresh juices will go bad faster than shop-bought products, no matter what ingredients you use. But natural, organic ingredients are better-quality and typically have a higher nutritional value, which means that your juice will last for more days, without needing to be consumed right away.
Use An Airtight Container & Fill To The Rim
Will juice go bad faster if it isn’t stored in an airtight container? Yes. To properly store your fruity beverages, keep them in airtight, vacuum-sealed containers or bottles. Fill the bottles to the rim, which will prevent trapped air from killing off the juice’s natural vitamins and minerals.
If you plan on freezing your juices, don’t fill to the rim – leave enough room for the liquid to expand as it freezes.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for fresh juice to lose its nutrients?
This depends on which juicing machine you’re using and how you store your juices. Fresh juice from a centrifugal juicer can typically last in the fridge for up to 24 hours before losing its nutrients. Juice made from a masticating juicer will take longer to lose its nutrients; usually around 3 days of fridge storage.
How far in advance can you make fresh juice?
You now know how to extend the freshness of your juice – but how far in advance can you actually make your juices?
At the very maximum, you can make your juices 72 hours (or three days) in advance of drinking them. Even if you keep your juices in the fridge, add lemon or orange to prevent them from getting spoiled, and store them in a jar or bottle, they won’t last for any more days after this.
As mentioned many times in this guide, I would avoid waiting a long time to consume your juices. Instead, try to drink them as soon as you can.
How do I know if my juices are losing their freshness?
The best way to know that your juices are losing their freshness is by their color. They will start to take on a brown tint when they’re rapidly letting go of nutrients. The taste of your beverages may also be less pleasant when they’re losing their freshness.