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How long can you keep a smoothie in the fridge before it goes bad?

Introduction

Smoothies make for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack. They’re quick and easy to make – simply blend up your favorite fruits, vegetables, protein powders or other mix-ins with some liquid and you’ve got a tasty and portable meal or treat. However, like most fresh foods, smoothies don’t keep forever. The nutrients start to degrade over time and bacterial growth can occur if kept too long. So how long can you store a smoothie in the fridge before it goes bad?

How Long Do Smoothies Last in the Fridge?

In general, homemade or store-bought smoothies can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days. The USDA recommends consuming refrigerated smoothies within this timeframe for food safety.

Here are some more specific timelines depending on the smoothie ingredients:

– Fruit/Veggie Smoothies: 2-3 days
– Smoothies with Dairy: 1-2 days
– Green Smoothies: 1-2 days
– Smoothies with Protein Powder: 3-4 days

The main factors that impact smoothie shelf life are the ingredients used and how it’s stored. Fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that continue ripen and degrade the smoothie over time. Dairy products are highly perishable. Leafy greens also degrade quickly. Added protein powders and juices can help extend the fridge life by a day or so.

Proper storage is also essential. Your smoothie needs to be kept chilled at 40°F or below. Make sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent contamination, oxidation, and refrigerator odors being absorbed. Glass jars or bottles work best. The more air exposure, the quicker the quality declines. Portioning smoothies into individual servings can help avoid contamination from repeated opening as well.

How to Tell if a Smoothie Has Gone Bad

Watch for these signs that indicate your refrigerated smoothie has spoiled and should be discarded:

– Change in texture: Becomes very watery or has an overly thick consistency
– Unpleasant sour smell
– Mold growth
– Unnatural or dull color changes
– Strangely fizzy carbonation

If any of those changes occur, it’s best to play it safe and make a fresh smoothie. Smoothies with leafy greens or dairy products tend to show signs of spoilage quickest.

Tips to Extend the Fridge Life of Smoothies

Here are some tips to help your homemade or pre-made smoothies stay fresher longer in the refrigerator:

– Store in airtight glass or plastic containers to prevent oxygen exposure. This slows oxidation.
– Portion smoothies into individual servings to avoid contamination from repeated openings.
– Keep smoothies made with produce towards the front of the fridge where it’s colder.
– Add lemon juice to fruit smoothies – the acidity helps inhibit bacterial growth.
– Use frozen fruit and veggies which degrade slower than fresh produce.
– Let smoothies cool to room temp before refrigerating so fridge temperature doesn’t rise.
– Avoid using pre-cut produce which spoils faster than whole fruits/veggies.
– Mix in yogurt or acids like citrus juice that create an less hospitable environment for bacteria.

Can You Freeze Smoothies to Make Them Last Longer?

Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of smoothies for several months. This stops any further ripening and degradation of the ingredients.

Prep your smoothies for the freezer by:

– Leaving a little extra headspace in containers for expansion as the smoothie freezes.
– Using freezer-safe containers like mason jars, plastic bottles or bags.
– Letting smoothies cool fully before freezing.
– Storing for up to 2-3 months for best quality.

Thaw frozen smoothies overnight in the fridge before enjoying. Give it a good shake or stir once thawed to recombine any separation.

You can also freeze already blended smoothie packs. Simply blend up your smoothie as normal, then pour into freezer bags or containers to freeze. These ready-to-go smoothies can be grabbed from the freezer and thawed overnight when you want a quick breakfast.

Can You Refrigerate or Freeze Pre-Blended Smoothies?

Pre-made, bottled smoothies from shops and markets can also be refrigerated or frozen to extend their shelf life.

For refrigeration, it’s best to consume pre-bottled smoothies like Bolthouse Farms drinks within 2-5 days. Make sure they are sealed and stored properly in the fridge.

You can freeze most bottled smoothies for 2-3 months with good results. Shake the bottle vigorously before freezing to blend any separation. Leave headspace for expansion and avoid glass bottles which may break.

Once thawed, shake or stir the smoothie well to reincorporate ingredients before drinking. The texture may be slightly altered after freezing but the taste and nutrition should still be decent.

The Bottom Line

Properly stored, most smoothies made with fruits, vegetables, leafy greens dairy and protein powders should last 2-4 days in the refrigerator. If you see any mold, off smells or textures, err on the safe side and discard the smoothie. For extended fridge life up to several months, smoothies can be frozen. Just make sure you leave headspace for expansion and use freezer-safe containers.

Follow proper storage guidelines, choose more stable ingredients when possible, freeze for longevity, and enjoy your smoothies soon after making or thawing for best flavor and nutritional content. With some simple precautions, you can keep pre-made smoothies on hand for healthy grab-and-go snacks and meals.

Refrigerator Smoothie Storage Times

Smoothie or Ingredient Type Refrigerator Shelf Life
Fruit and Vegetable Smoothies 2-3 days
Smoothies with Dairy 1-2 days
Green Smoothies 1-2 days
Smoothies with Protein Powder 3-4 days
Pre-bottled Smoothies 2-5 days