Juicing fruits and vegetables is a great way to get an concentrated dose of nutrients. Freshly squeezed juice often has a delicious, vibrant flavor. But juice can spoil quickly if not stored properly. Here’s what you need to know about how to store juice and keep it fresh longer.
How Long Does Juice Last In The Fridge?
In general, most homemade or store-bought juices will last up to 72 hours when properly refrigerated and stored in an airtight container. However, some factors impact juice shelf life:
- Ingredients – Juices with more delicate ingredients like spinach and kale will spoil faster.
- Processing method – Juice that is pasteurized and freshly bottled will last longer than freshly squeezed juice.
- Acidity – Acidic juices like orange or grapefruit last longer than less acidic options.
Here are some juice storage timelines as a guide:
|Vegetable juice||24-48 hours|
|Fruit juice||48-72 hours|
|Citrus juice||3-5 days|
How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Juice
Here are some tips to help your homemade or store-bought juice stay fresh for longer:
- Store in airtight containers – This prevents oxygen exposure which causes juice to degrade.
- Fill containers to the very top – This leaves no oxygen space.
- Never store at room temperature – Refrigerate promptly after juicing.
- Freeze for long-term storage – Freezing prevents microbial growth.
- Add lemon juice – The acidity helps prevent spoilage.
- Store pulp separately – The pulp speeds up spoilage.
How To Tell If Juice Has Gone Bad
Watch for these signs that your juice is past its prime:
- Unpleasant sour smell
- Fizzing or bubbling
- Mold growth
- Discoloration or separation
- Expired use-by date
If your juice exhibits any of those characteristics, err on the side of caution and throw it out. Don’t take risks with spoiled juice.
Can You Freeze Juice To Make It Last Longer?
Yes, freezing is an effective long-term storage method for juice. Here are some freezing tips:
- Make sure juice is already chilled before freezing.
- Freeze juice in airtight containers or freezer bags.
- Lay bags flat in freezer to prevent expansion damage.
- Leave 1/2 inch headspace in rigid containers.
- Juice cubes can make great popsicles.
Most juices maintain quality frozen for 4-6 months. Citrus juice will keep for up to a year frozen.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Juice?
It’s best not to refreeze thawed juice. When juice thaws, the ice crystals disrupt the cell structure. Refreezing will degrade the quality further.
If thawed juice smells and tastes normal, you can refrigerate it for 24-48 hours max. But don’t refreeze or leave it at room temperature.
Is It Safe To Drink Juice After The Expiration Date?
It’s generally not recommended to consume juice after the printed expiration or use-by date. However, some juices may still be safe for a short window past that date if properly stored. Here are some guidelines:
|Juice Type||After Expiration Date|
|Pasteurized juice||5-7 days|
|Fresh juice||1-2 days max|
|Juice blends||Don’t consume|
When in doubt, remember it’s better to be safe and discard expired juice. Don’t take risks with your health.
Does Juice Lose Nutrients Over Time?
Unfortunately yes, juice loses some nutritional value during storage as vitamins degrade. Light, heat, and oxygen exposure speed up nutrient breakdown. Here’s a look at how different storage times impact nutrients:
|Storage Time||Nutrient Retention|
|1-3 days fridge||95%|
|5-7 days fridge||85-90%|
|2 months freezer||75-80%|
|6 months freezer||65-70%|
Vitamin C and folate in particular degrade rapidly during storage. For maximum nutrition, aim to drink juice as soon as possible after juicing.
What Is The Best Way To Store Juice?
Here is a quick summary of the best practices for maximizing juice shelf life and quality:
- Refrigerate juice right after juicing – don’t leave at room temperature.
- Store in airtight glass or plastic containers – no oxygen exposure.
- Ensure containers are completely full – no oxygen space.
- Consume within 3 days for maximum freshness.
- Freeze for long-term storage up to 6 months.
With proper refrigeration and air-tight storage, you can minimize nutrient degradation and still enjoy your homemade or store-bought juice for up to 3 days.
Other Ways To Use Older Juice
If your juice is past its prime don’t throw it out! Here are some ideas:
- Add it to smoothies
- Blend into soups or sauces
- Use in place of water to cook grains or oatmeal
- Freeze into popsicles or ice cubes
- Mix with vinegar and oil for a salad dressing
With a little creativity, you can use up older juice instead of having it go to waste. Adding complimentary flavors helps mask any taste changes.
Can You Juice In Advance For The Week?
It’s generally not recommended to juice more than 3-4 days in advance. Juice is most nutritious and flavorful when consumed fresh.
However, you can juice for 2-3 days in advance if you take proper storage precautions. Here are some tips:
- Store juice in airtight containers in fridge after juicing.
- Try freezing individual portions for a later day.
- Add lemon juice to help preserve.
- Keep pulp separate from liquid to avoid spoilage.
- Label containers with juicing date so you know what’s oldest.
With careful storage techniques, you can juice every 2-3 days while still enjoying maximum juice quality. Just avoid juicing for the whole week at once.
The Takeaway On Storing Juice
Maximize your juice’s nutrition, flavor and shelf life by:
- Refrigerating promptly after juicing
- Using airtight storage containers
- Consuming within 72 hours
- Freezing for long-term storage
With proper handling, you can enjoy all the healthy benefits of fresh homemade juice even days after juicing. Just be sure to store your juice correctly using the tips above.