Freshly squeezed juice from a juicer is a delicious and nutritious drink. Many people wonder if it’s safe to drink juice that has been made the day before or if it needs to be consumed right away. There are a few factors to consider when deciding if juice will keep from one day to the next.
How Long Does Juice Last?
In general, most fresh juices from a juicer will last 24-72 hours when properly stored. The shelf life depends on a few key factors:
Type of Produce
Juices made from more delicate produce like greens, berries, and stone fruits tend to have a shorter shelf life of just 24 hours. This is because they spoil and lose nutrients more quickly. Heartier fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, beets, and citrus can often last 48-72 hours.
How the juice is stored after juicing makes a big difference. Juice should be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated right away. Mason jars or airtight pitchers work well. This minimizes exposure to light, heat, and air which cause spoilage. Leaving juice at room temperature significantly reduces its shelf life.
Pasteurization is the process of briefly heating juice to destroy harmful bacteria and pathogens. This can extend the shelf life to 5-7 days. However, pasteurization also reduces the nutrient content and flavor. Many prefer to drink raw, unpasteurized juice and accept the shorter lifespan.
Here is a table summarizing how long various juices may last:
|Type of Juice
|Shelf Life in Refrigerator
|Greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
|Root veggies (carrot, beet, etc.)
How to Tell if Juice has Gone Bad
Since juice content can vary widely, it’s important to closely examine juice before drinking to check for signs of spoilage. Here are ways to tell if your juice has gone bad:
Freshly made juice should be opaque and cloudy, with a vibrant color true to the original produce. Over time, separation may occur with the pulp sinking and the liquid rising. However, the juice should not look coagulated, chunky, or have film/foam. These are indications of microbial growth.
Take a whiff of your juice. It should smell fruity or vegetal depending on the ingredients. Foul odors like sulfur, rotten eggs, or vinegar are red flags for spoilage.
Obviously a small taste test is the best way to determine if your juice is off. Fresh juice will taste bright and flavorful. Discard juice that tastes moldy, fermented, or funky.
The texture of juice should be smooth and uniform. If it has become slimy, stringy, or coagulated, it is likely contaminated.
Trust your senses – if anything seems off with the juice’s appearance, smell, taste or texture, it is better to be safe than sorry and not drink it.
Best Practices for Juice Shelf Life
Follow these tips to get the maximum freshness and shelf life out of your juices:
– Wash produce thoroughly before juicing
– Juice only what you will use within a day or two
– Drink juice as soon as possible after making, ideally within 24 hours
– Transfer juice to a sealed airtight container (mason jar, pitcher with lid)
– Minimize air exposure by leaving only 1/4 inch of headspace
– Refrigerate juice right away at 34-40°F
– Store juice towards the back of the fridge where it is coldest
– Keep produce prep and juicing surfaces sanitized
– Consider pasteurizing juice if you want longer shelf life
– When in doubt, remember the adage “When it smells funky, toss that monkey”
Does Juice Go Bad?
Yes, juice can definitely go bad and become unsafe to drink. The biggest concerns with spoiled juice are foodborne illnesses. Juice is perishable since it lacks the protection of a fruit or vegetable’s skin. It provides the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and yeast.
Some common pathogens that can grow in juice include:
– Salmonella – Causes salmonellosis often with fever, diarrhea, vomiting
– E. coli – Causes severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea
– Listeria – Causes listeriosis which can be fatal
– Norovirus – Leads to the very contagious stomach flu
Consuming contaminated, spoiled juice can cause symptoms ranging from digestive issues to serious systemic illness. Juice should never be drank past its prime.
What Happens If You Drink Bad Juice?
Drinking juice that has gone bad can make you very sick. The specific symptoms and severity will depend on what pathogen is present and the amount consumed.
Typical effects from drinking bad juice may include:
– Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
– Abdominal pain and cramping
– Fever and chills
In severe cases or for high-risk groups like the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems, drinking contaminated juice can even be deadly. Food poisoning can be very dangerous.
If you experience concerning symptoms after drinking questionable juice, seek medical care. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from loss of fluids need to be treated.
How to Avoid Bad Juice
You can take simple precautions to avoid ever drinking a spoiled juice:
– Follow safe juicing practices like washing produce and sanitizing equipment
– Only make what you know you will consume within 72 hours
– Store juice properly in an airtight container in the fridge
– Check juice before drinking for any signs it has gone off
– Don’t take chances on juice that is older than 2-3 days
– When in doubt, remember it’s better to waste a few dollars worth of ingredients than to risk getting sick
– Juice smaller batches more frequently for maximum freshness
Being cautious and using common sense helps ensure you only enjoy perfectly fresh, nutritious juice.
In most cases, juice made from a juicer will stay fresh and safe to drink for 24-72 hours when properly stored in the refrigerator. Certain delicate juices may need to be consumed within 24 hours. Always inspect juice before drinking for any odd appearance, smell, taste or texture that could indicate spoilage. Contaminated juice can harbor dangerous pathogens that cause unpleasant illness. Following best practices when making and storing juice helps maximize shelf life. But when in doubt, don’t take chances drinking old juice that may have gone bad. Making juice in small frequent batches is the best way to enjoy all the nutritional benefits.