We all know that fresh juice is highly perishable so drinking it right away is ideal, but not always practical. Plus, juicing daily can become a time-consuming chore and is often a reason why people stop juicing. If this is you, don’t give up yet!
It is possible to still enjoy the benefits of fresh juice daily. The trick is to make larger batches and store the juice for later. Not only will this cut time prepping produce, but also reduce cleanup.
Juice made fresh ahead of time can last for up to 5 days. How long it lasts will depend on the quality of ingredients, type of juicer used, and how it is stored. Juice prepared from organic produce with a masticating (or cold press juicer) and stored under vacuum will have the longest shelf-life. If using a centrifugal juicer, fresh juice can still last up to 2 days with proper storage.
Below is a guide to storing fresh juice (even if you are traveling) so you can start making larger batches, and still get your daily ‘juice fix’.
First up, it’s important to understand what causes juice to go bad so you can minimize these factors in your juicing process.
- What Makes Homemade Juices Go Bad?
- How To Store Fresh Juice
- How To Store Juice for Travelling
- Can You Freeze Homemade Juice?
What Makes Homemade Juices Go Bad?
Fresh juice is highly perishable and starts to lose nutrients straight away. There are several things that contribute to this.
Light, heat and air are all the enemies when it comes to oxidation. Any of these can start the process and start to shorten the life of fresh juice. In time the juice will turn sour.
The type of juicer used can make a difference when it comes to oxidation. Masticating and twin gear juicers operate slowly, extracting more nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants, which act as preservatives to keep the juice stable and extend its shelf life. They also produce minimal, if any, heat during juicing resulting in little oxidation.
In contrast, centrifugal juicers have high-speed spinning blades which create heat and trigger oxidation.
As a result, juice from a masticating juicer will have a longer shelf life. You can read more about the differences between masticating and centrifugal juicers here.
A great tip for helping to fight off oxidation is to add citrus, which is high in antioxidants. Throw in a lemon or orange to power up your juice.
While using organic produce is ideal, not everyone can afford to buy it. The next best option is to buy the freshest, highest quality produce you can afford. If you grow it yourself, even better, as this allows the addition of trace minerals to the soil.
The freshness of fruit and vegetables is important because over time the nutrients will decrease. The fresher it is, the more nutrients will be available.
Just as freshness declines over time, bad bacteria increases. This bacteria is what causes fruit and vegetables to ultimately rot. Minimizing ‘bad bacteria’ will help lengthen the life of your juice, so make sure to wash all your produce before getting started.
How To Store Fresh Juice
To store fresh juice for maximum shelf-life you need to:
- Minimize air and oxidation.
- Keep it very, very cold by storing properly in the fridge.
- Limit the opening and closing of the storage container.
Minimizing Air and Oxidation In Your Juice
The first step in minimizing oxidation is to use a good quality juicer. A masticating juicer is the preferred choice if you will be storing juice. But, if you are using a centrifugal juicer, all the steps that follow will still help to preserve your juice for up to 48 hours.
Once you have prepared the juice, it is time to bottle it up. There are several different types of containers that are suitable for storing juice:
- Glass bottles
- Glass jars (e.g. Mason jars)
- Stainless steel bottles
- Insulated Thermos Style containers (perfect for travel)
Here’s how to bottle your juice for storing:
- Clean and dry all containers, if possible at least a few hours ahead of juicing. This ensures no bad bacteria are introduced at this stage.
- Put the clean, dry containers into the fridge to pre-chill. This will help the juice get to a cold temperature faster.
- Pour the juice into the container, filling it to the top to minimize air and oxidation.
- (Optional) Vacuum seal your juice. This will remove any remaining air left at the top of the container preserve the freshness of the juice even longer.
- Place the juice in the fridge, ready to drink.
How To Store Juice In The Fridge
The key to storing fresh juice in the fridge is to keep it as cold as possible, without freezing it. This is ideally around 35F – 38F (1.5C – 3.5C).
To achieve this ideal temperature, you need to know if you have ‘cold zones’ in your fridge. These are the spots where things will partially freeze, particularly produce. Usually, these zones will be around 38F and are the perfect spot to store your fresh juice.
If you want to establish the cold zones in your fridge, an inexpensive fridge thermometer can do the trick. Put the thermometer in different locations of the fridge over a few days.
To properly establish the temperature, you will need to leave the thermometer undisturbed, preferably without opening the door, for a few hours. Note the temperature and position to create a map of your fridge. Not only will this be handy for storing your juice, but other things as well.
Another option, particularly if you are an avid juicer, is to buy a mini-fridge and set the temperature exactly. No doubt there will be other things you can store in the fridge as well.
How Long Does Fresh Juice Last In The Fridge?
How long you can store your homemade juice in the fridge depends on the type of juicer and whether it was vacuum sealed.
Below is a guideline on storage times:
- Centrifugal juicer – 24 hours
- Masticating juicer – 2 to 3 days
- Twin gear juicer (e.g Greenstar elite) – 4 to 5 days
The best way to establish the storage time based on your equipment is to experiment by making a (small) batch of juice and storing it following the guidelines above. Check every day and see how long it takes to turn sour. You might be surprised by the results.
Remember, drinking juice well before it turns sour is ideal for optimal nutrition and health benefits. But, even an older, homemade juice is far better than a pasteurized, high pressure-packed store-bought version.
Limit Opening and Closing Stored Juice
This is another trick to maximizing the life of your juice, particularly if you have gone to the trouble of vacuum sealing it. Once open, the juice is immediately exposed to air and light, the temperature will increase and again oxidation can begin. The more you open and close the container, the faster juice will deteriorate.
One way to overcome this is to store juice in single-serve containers. Mason jars (8 oz or 16 oz) are perfect and easily vacuum sealed. Plus, they look great when all your juices are lined up in the fridge.
If you don’t have small, single-serve containers, it is important to open, pour, and close the juice container as quickly as possible.
How To Store Juice for Travelling
The best method of storing juice to take with you, or when traveling, is an insulated thermos style container. Designed to retain cold (or heat), they are perfect for keeping juice chilled and fresh.
To get the best result, make sure both the thermos and juice are well chilled (35F). Adding chilled juice to the cold thermos will maintain the temperature for up to 24 hours. But remember, once you start to open and close the thermos, the temperature of the juice will increase and it will spoil faster.
It is also important to know that not all insulated containers are created equal (is anything?). If you will be using one regularly, it will be worth investing in one with more insulation. The more insulation, the longer your juice will remain cold. A great option is a triple insulated container.
Can You Freeze Homemade Juice?
Freezing juice is an alternative if you have more juice than you can drink before it will spoil. It is not as good as keeping it cold and fresh in the fridge, but still better than store-bought options.
The freezing and thawing process can reduce the nutritional quality of the juice, so it is not ideal if your goal is to have the highest quality juice. Fragile enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients can be destroyed in the process.
If you do want to freeze juice, pour it into silicone ice cube trays. Once frozen, put the cubes into a suitable freezer container or bag and remove all oxygen with a vacuum pump. Stored this way your frozen fresh juice will last up to 6 months.
Time to get juicing!