Smoothies make for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack. Blended fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to fuel your body and mind. But what if you don’t finish your smoothie in one sitting? Can you store leftovers in the refrigerator for later?
How Long Do Smoothies Last in the Fridge?
The shelf life of a smoothie depends on what ingredients it contains. Here are some general guidelines for how long different types of smoothies last refrigerated:
|Fruit and/or vegetable smoothie
|Green smoothie with leafy greens
|Smoothie with dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese)
|Smoothie with eggs or meat
As you can see, smoothies without dairy or animal products tend to last a bit longer. The more ingredients you add, the shorter the shelf life due to potential spoilage.
How to Store Smoothies
Proper storage is key for preserving your smoothie and preventing bacterial growth. Here are some tips:
- Let the smoothie cool completely before refrigerating. Putting a warm blend in the fridge can raise the temperature and spoil other foods.
- Transfer to an airtight container, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Mason jars or bottles with tight lids work great.
- If storing for more than 2 days, pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil on top to prevent oxidation.
- Place smoothie toward the back of the fridge where temperatures are coldest.
- Avoid storing for more than 4-5 days maximum.
How to Tell if a Smoothie has Gone Bad
Despite proper storage, smoothies don’t last forever. Make sure to check them before drinking for signs of spoilage:
- Change in color – Fading or unappetizing brown, gray, or green hues.
- separates – Liquids separating from solids.
- Texture changes
- Strange smells – Sour, rancid, or rotten odor.
- Mold – Fuzzy or slimy growth anywhere on the smoothie.
- Bubbles – Carbonation or fizzing can indicate fermentation.
– Becomes overly thick, slimy, mushy, or gritty.
If your smoothie exhibits any of these signs, err on the side of caution and throw it out. Consuming spoiled smoothies can cause unpleasant stomach issues.
Does Freezing Extend Shelf Life?
Good news – freezing smoothies can prolong their shelf life significantly. This is because freezing puts bacteria growth on pause. Follow these tips for freezing smoothies:
- Use fresh, high-quality ingredients – freezing won’t improve the quality of old produce.
- Wash produce thoroughly before blending.
- Let cool before transferring to freezer bags or containers.
- Exclude ice cubes – they will expand and crack containers.
- Lay bags flat in freezer to quick freeze contents.
- Squeeze out excess air before sealing bags.
- Leave 1/2 inch headspace in rigid containers.
- Label bags with contents and freeze-by date (2-3 months).
Thaw frozen smoothies overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Give a quick stir or shake once thawed. Freezing is ideal for making smoothies in batches for grab-and-go convenience.
Can You Freeze Leftover Smoothies?
You can freeze leftover smoothies from the fridge, but they will have a shorter freezer life. Use these guidelines:
- Only freeze leftovers 1-2 days old
- Check for signs of spoilage before freezing
- Freeze in smaller portions to limit thaw times
- Consume within 1 month for best quality
- Avoid refreezing thawed smoothies
Some ingredients require extra precautions when preparing smoothies for storage:
- Leafy greens – Spinach, kale, and other greens contain enzymes that accelerate spoilage. Use them in moderation or blanch before blending for fridge storage.
- Avocado – Prevents oxidation but increases spoilage rate. Best if used immediately or frozen.
- Nut butters – Natural oils can separate after freezing. Stir well before drinking.
- Chia seeds – Soak before blending to prevent texture issues when thawing.
- Flax seeds – Grind before adding to smoothies to access nutrients. Ground seeds have shorter shelf life.
With proper preparation and storage methods, you can safely store smoothies in the refrigerator or freezer. Fridge storage lasts 3-5 days for most types. Freezing extends shelf life to 2-3 months. Keep smoothies chilled at 40°F or below. Discard immediately if you notice any signs of spoilage. Following these guidelines will allow you to whip up smoothie batches to enjoy all week long!