How long does fresh homemade apple juice last?

Homemade apple juice is a delicious and nutritious beverage that many people enjoy making at home. However, there is often confusion around how long fresh apple juice will last before it goes bad. This article provides a comprehensive guide to determining the shelf life of homemade apple juice and how to store it for maximum freshness.

What is Apple Juice?

Apple juice is made by pressing or juicing apples to extract the liquid content. It typically contains three main components:

  • Water -extracted from the apple flesh (84–89% of juice content)
  • Sugars – fructose, glucose, sucrose (10–15%)
  • Acids – such as malic acid and quinic acid (0.5–0.9%)

In addition to these components, apple juice contains various vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber originally present in the fruit.

Compared to store-bought apple juice, fresh homemade apple juice retains more nutrients since it undergoes less processing. However, it also has a shorter shelf life due to lack of preservatives or pasteurization used in commercially sold juices.

How Long Does Homemade Apple Juice Last at Room Temperature?

Fresh homemade apple juice stored at room temperature without any preservation method will only last 1-2 days before spoiling. Here is a breakdown of how long apple juice lasts unrefrigerated:

Room Temperature Range Shelf Life
68°F – 77°F (20°C – 25°C) 1-2 days

At room temperature, natural enzymes and microbes quickly multiply causing apple juice to ferment and develop unpleasant tastes and aromas. The juice may also become unsafe to drink due to potential pathogen growth.

To maximize freshness, homemade apple juice should always be stored in the refrigerator or freezer after juicing.

How Long Does Apple Juice Last Refrigerated?

Refrigerating homemade apple juice significantly prolongs its shelf life. The cold temperatures slow down enzymatic reactions and microbial growth that cause spoilage. Here is how long apple juice will last chilled:

Refrigerator Temperature Shelf Life
34°F – 40°F (1°C – 4°C) 3-5 days

At optimal refrigerator temperatures around 34-40°F, homemade apple juice can stay fresh for 3-5 days when stored in a sealed container. The juice may start tasting flat or slightly fermented toward the end of this timeframe.

To extend the shelf life by a few more days, store apple juice in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is at the back of the top shelf. Avoid keeping it in the refrigerator door where temperatures fluctuate.

How to Tell if Refrigerated Apple Juice Has Gone Bad

Here are some signs that refrigerated homemade apple juice has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Cloudy appearance
  • Change in color – brown, greyish hue
  • Off smells – fermented, winy, rotten
  • Sour, tangy, bitter taste
  • Fizziness, bubbling
  • Mold growth – white film, fuzzy texture

Always inspect apple juice before drinking and look for changes from its fresh state. If any unpleasant signs are detected, err on the side of caution and throw the juice away.

How Long Does Apple Juice Last in the Freezer?

Freezing homemade apple juice enables long-term storage for several months. Here is how long apple juice keeps frozen:

Freezer Temperature Shelf Life
0°F (-18°C) 6-8 months
-10°F (-23°C) or below 12 months

At a constant 0°F, apple juice will retain optimal quality and freshness for 6-8 months in an airtight container. Temperatures below 0°F prolong shelf life to about 12 months.

Freezing prevents microbial growth and slows enzymatic reactions that lead to spoilage. Portioning juice into smaller containers also limits oxidation.

How to Freeze Apple Juice for Maximum Freshness

Follow these tips for best frozen apple juice quality:

  • Use fresh juice – Freeze immediately after juicing.
  • Portion – Divide into air-tight freezer containers or bags.
  • Exclude air – Leave 1⁄2 inch room for expansion.
  • Seal tightly – Prevent freezer burn.
  • Freeze quickly – In coldest part of freezer.
  • Avoid thawing – Refreezing alters texture.

Properly frozen apple juice should retain the same flavor, color, and nutrition it had when fresh. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

How to Tell if Frozen Apple Juice Has Gone Bad

Here are indicators that frozen apple juice is no longer safe to consume:

  • Ice crystals or frosty buildup – freezer burn
  • Discoloration – browning
  • Off odor when thawed
  • Unpleasant sour, bitter taste
  • Change in texture – watery, mushy
  • Mold growth – dry, fuzzy

Discard apple juice immediately if any signs of spoilage appear. Do not attempt to refreeze apple juice after it has thawed.

Does Apple Juice Go Bad or Become Harmful?

Yes, apple juice eventually goes bad and may become unsafe to drink, especially if it contains pathogenic bacterial growth. Here are some potential health risks of spoiled apple juice:

  • Foodborne illness – from mold, bacteria
  • Vomiting, diarrhea – from toxins
  • Allergic reaction – to mold

Fermented apple juice with high alcohol content can also cause intoxication if consumed in excess. Only drink homemade apple juice within recommended time frames and discard immediately if expiry signs appear.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Homemade Apple Juice

Here are some methods to safely prolong the shelf life of homemade apple juice:

  • Refrigeration – Store at 34°F – 40°F (1°C – 4°C).
  • Freezing – Maintain constant 0°F (-18°C) temperature.
  • Pasteurization – Heat gently to 160°F (71°C).
  • Canning – Sterilize then seal in jars.
  • Preservatives – Ascorbic acid or citric acid.
  • Hot packing – Heat juice before refrigerating.

Always use proper food safety practices when preserving apple juice. Refrigerating for up to 5 days or freezing for several months are the easiest methods for home use.


Homemade apple juice has a limited shelf life and can quickly deteriorate without proper storage. But by refrigerating juice for up to 5 days after making, or freezing it for 6-12 months, you can continue enjoying fresh apple juice for extended periods. Keep an eye out for any signs of spoilage and discard apple juice immediately if it tastes or smells off. With optimal storage conditions, homemade apple juice can remain a nutritious and delicious beverage to drink year-round.

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