Cold-pressed juice has become increasingly popular in recent years as a nutritious and delicious way to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Unlike traditional juices which are processed using heat, cold-pressed juice is made by hydraulically pressing fresh produce to extract the juice. This preserves more nutrients compared to traditional juice making methods.
However, the lack of heat treatment also means that cold-pressed juices have a shorter shelf life. Cold-pressed juices are packed with active enzymes and vitamins that can degrade over time. So how long do these healthy juices stay fresh past the printed expiration date? Let’s take a closer look.
What is cold-pressed juice?
Cold-pressed juice is made by pressing fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs through a high-pressure hydraulic press. This processing method crushes produce to extract the liquid while retaining nutrients, flavors, and colors. The juice is never heated, allowing it to maintain key enzymes and vitamins.
Cold-pressing produces a thick, pulpy juice full of fiber and phytonutrients. It has a very fresh, bright taste. Common ingredients in cold-pressed juices include leafy greens, carrots, beets, apples, citrus fruits, and ginger.
Benefits of cold-pressed juice
Drinking cold-pressed juices provides many benefits:
- High nutrient density – Cold-pressed juices contain a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from whole fruits and veggies. You can drink a rainbow of nutrients in one serving.
- Increased vegetable intake – Juices make it easy to consume the recommended daily amount of vegetables.
- Enhanced bioavailability – Nutrients and enzymes remain intact since produce isn’t heated.
- Easily digested – The juice form makes nutrients readily available for absorption by the body.
- Supports detoxification – Cold-pressed green juices can aid the body’s natural detoxification processes.
Drinking fresh produce in liquid form provides superior nutrient absorption compared to eating whole produce. However, juices lack the gut-healthy fiber contained in whole fruits and vegetables. For best results, enjoy both whole produce and cold-pressed juices.
How is cold-pressed juice different from other juices?
There are a few key differences between cold-pressed juice and conventionally produced juices:
|Made by pressing produce
|Made by shredding then straining produce
|Not heated during processing
|Pasteurized and heated to extend shelf life
|Preserves nutrients and enzymes
|Heat destroys nutrients and enzymes
|Smooth, filtered texture
|Shorter shelf life
|Longer shelf life
The cool thing about cold pressing is it retains the integrity of the ingredients. The downside is the lack of heat treatment reduces how long the juice stays fresh.
How long does cold-pressed juice usually last unopened?
When properly sealed and stored, unopened cold-pressed juice typically lasts 5-7 days past the printed expiration date if kept refrigerated. The expiration date is calculated based on when the juice was pressed.
Juice companies determine expiration dates through rigorous shelf life testing under various temperature conditions. The printed expiration or ‘best by’ date is a conservative estimate of when the product will remain at peak quality.
As long as the bottle is unopened and has been continuously refrigerated, the juice should retain optimal flavor and nutritional value 5-7 days past this date.
How to tell if unopened cold-pressed juice has gone bad
Here are signs that your unopened cold-pressed juice has spoiled and should be discarded:
- Bottle is swollen or leaking
- Liquid is murky with an unusual color
- Strong, unpleasant odors when bottle is opened
- Fizzy carbonation upon opening
- Visible mold inside bottle
If your juice shows these warning signs, err on the side of caution and throw it out. A bulging bottle or carbonation means unhealthy bacteria have likely multiplied. Off-odors also indicate spoilage.
As long as the juice looks and smells normal, it should be safe to consume for up to a week past the printed date. But quality and nutrient content will slowly diminish over time.
How to store unopened cold-pressed juice
To get the longest shelf life from your cold-pressed juices:
- Store in the refrigerator immediately after purchasing. Keep refrigerated.
- Minimize exposure to light and oxygen. Keep bottle sealed.
- Avoid storing on refrigerator door. Optimal temperature is 34-40°F.
- Keep juices away from ethylene gas-emitting fruits like apples, bananas, and tomatoes. This accelerates nutrient breakdown.
- Set fridge below 40°F if storing for over 5 days.
- Freeze juice if you won’t finish within 5-7 days.
The cooler the juice is kept, the better it retains nutrients and flavor. For long term storage beyond a week, freezing is best.
How to freeze and thaw cold-pressed juice
Here is a simple process to safely freeze cold-pressed juice:
- Shake or stir juice to reincorporate ingredients.
- Pour juice into freezer safe containers or bags. Leave 1 inch of headspace to allow for expansion.
- Seal containers and lay flat in freezer.
- Frozen juice lasts 6-8 months.
- To thaw, place container in refrigerator overnight.
- Once thawed, use immediately. Do not refreeze.
Freezing prevents further nutrient degradation. Thawed juice will taste fresher and maintain more nutrients than juice left continuously chilled in the fridge. However, some separation may occur after thawing. Give juices a good shake or stir before enjoying.
How long does opened cold-pressed juice last?
Once exposed to oxygen, cold-pressed juice oxidizes and loses nutrients rapidly. Opened juice should be consumed immediately for best quality.
If you can’t finish your juice in one sitting, here are some shelf life guidelines for opened bottles:
- Juice lasts 24 hours if resealed and refrigerated immediately after opening.
- For maximum freshness, consume within 4 hours.
- To extend shelf life, pour remaining juice into a sealed container with no headspace and refrigerate.
- Never leave juice at room temperature or re-freeze after opening.
Drink juice as soon as possible once exposed to air. Discard any remaining juice after 24 hours. An opened bottle is at much higher risk of spoilage.
How to tell if opened cold-pressed juice has gone bad
Check opened juice for the following signs of spoilage:
- Changes in consistency – becomes thicker, chunkier, or develops bubbles
- Cloudy appearance
- Strange colors or black flecks
- Fermented, yeasty odors
- Foul, rotten, or moldy smell
If your juice exhibits these characteristics when opened, it’s best to discard. The juice has likely started fermenting or bacteria have contaminated the bottle. Don’t take the risk if juice seems off.
Tips for making opened juice last
Here are some tips to maximize the shelf life of opened cold-pressed juice:
- Keep juice refrigerated and reseal the bottle tightly after each use.
- Pour juice into a sealed container like a mason jar with no air gaps before refrigerating.
- Avoid transferring juice into containers that are hard to clean and can harbor bacteria.
- Never return unused juice to the original bottle.
- Drink juice within 4 hours for optimal freshness and nutrients.
- Add ice to help juice retain flavor and nutrition if not consuming immediately.
- Stir or shake juice before drinking to redistribute separated ingredients.
The less time juice spends at room temperature after opening, the longer it will last. But no matter what, try to finish opened bottles within a day.
Does expired cold-pressed juice make you sick?
Drinking spoiled juice may cause unpleasant symptoms or illness in some cases. Consuming microbe-contaminated juice can result in:
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Fever or chills
Severe reactions are more likely in those with compromised immune systems like older adults, infants, and pregnant women.
Moldy juice may cause allergic reactions or breathing issues in some people. Rotten juice also poses a risk of foodborne pathogens like E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.
Exercising caution is advised. Unless juice is preserved through freezing, bacteria and mold will grow over time, even if refrigerated. Stick to the recommended time limits.
Can expired cold-pressed juice make you sick immediately?
You likely won’t get sick right after ingesting expired juice if it was properly stored. Harmful microbes take time to multiply to amounts high enough to cause illness.
Spoiled juice also won’t make every person ill. Those with stronger digestive systems may experience zero side effects. Negative reactions depend on individual sensitivities.
That said, expired juice provides an ideal breeding ground for dangerous pathogens. And juice lacks the protection of an acidic pH like other beverages. So extended storage will increase the risks of adverse effects, especially for those vulnerable to food poisoning.
Err on the side of caution and avoid drinking juice more than 1-2 days past the expiration date. Don’t consume if you notice off smells, flavors, or bottle swelling.
How long past expiration date is cold-pressed juice safe?
Cold-pressed juices typically stay safe for:
- 5-7 days past the expiration date if refrigerated and unopened.
- 24 hours after opening if refrigerated promptly in a sealed container.
Assuming proper storage, healthy adults can likely safely consume juice up to one week from the printed date before significant nutrient loss or pathogen growth. However, flavor, color, and texture will deteriorate.
For maximum quality and safety, try to drink opened bottles within 4 hours and freeze unopened bottles for longer storage. Over 2 weeks, the risks start outweighing the benefits.
Ultimately, it’s smart to evaluate the actual appearance, aroma, and taste of juice before consuming to determine safety based on freshness, not just the date. Discard at the first off impression.
When kept chilled, unopened cold-pressed juice typically stays good for 5-7 days past its printed expiration date. Once exposed to air, juice only lasts about 24 hours before substantial nutrient degradation occurs.
For ideal safety and quality, try to drink juice within one week of production. Discard bottles that are leaking or show obvious signs of spoilage like off-colors, smells, or textures.
Adhering to refrigeration requirements and proper handling procedures minimizes the risks of foodborne illness from expired juice. But when in doubt, remember it’s better to be safe than sick and err on the side of caution.