How soon do you have to drink juice after juicing?

Juicing fruits and vegetables is a great way to get a concentrated dose of nutrients. Freshly squeezed juice contains vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes that provide many health benefits. However, there are some important factors to consider regarding the freshness and quality of your juice if you don’t drink it right away.

Why It’s Best to Drink Juice Right Away

When you juice fruits and vegetables, the process ruptures the cell walls and releases the nutrients and enzymes within. These enzymes are important for proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients in the juice. However, enzymes are very delicate and start losing potency shortly after juicing due to exposure to light, heat, and air.

Therefore, it’s ideal to drink freshly squeezed juice immediately or within a few minutes of juicing to get the most nutritional benefit. The longer you wait to drink it, the more nutrients are lost as the juice is exposed to air.

How Long You Can Wait Before Drinking Juice

If you can’t drink the juice right away, here are some general guidelines on maximum times to wait before drinking for best quality:

  • 15-30 minutes – Best to preserve nutrients and enzymes
  • 2 hours – Still good, minimal nutrient loss
  • 24 hours – Significant loss of nutrients and enzymes
  • 3+ days – Old and oxidized, enzyme activity virtually gone

Drinking juice within 2 hours ensures you still get most of the available nutrients. After 24 hours in the fridge, the juice will start to oxidize and lose its freshness and vibrancy.

Tips for Storing Juice If You Can’t Drink It Right Away

Here are some tips for storing freshly squeezed juice to preserve nutrients, enzymes, color, and flavor:

  • Store in an airtight container like a mason jar or hermetic bottle with no air gaps.
  • Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon into juice to slow oxidation.
  • Fill container to very top to minimize air exposure.
  • Keep refrigerated at all times until ready to drink.
  • Drink within 24 hours for best quality.
  • Shake or stir juice before drinking to redistribute settled pulp.

Does Juice Go Bad If You Wait Too Long?

Freshly squeezed juice doesn’t really “go bad” in the sense of spoiling. Since there is no dairy or animal products, there is no risk of foodborne illness. However, the quality, flavor, and nutrition does degrade over time.

Here are the signs your stored juice is past its prime:

  • Color changes – Orange juice will lose vibrancy, green juices appear brown.
  • Cloudy pulp sinks to bottom.
  • Oxidized taste and smell – Lacks freshness and vitality.
  • Enzymes and nutrients degrade rapidly.

While juice stored for over 24 hours won’t make you sick, the flavor and nutrition will be significantly diminished. At that point it’s best to discard and make a fresh batch.

Does Juice Go Bad Faster If It Contains Certain Ingredients?

Yes, certain fruits and vegetables cause juice to deteriorate faster than others:

Ingredient Juice Life
Apples 24 hours
Grapes 24 hours
Berries 12-24 hours
Melons 8 hours
Leafy Greens 12 hours
Beets 2-3 days when refrigerated
Carrots 2-3 days when refrigerated
Ginger 2-3 days when refrigerated
Citrus 2-3 days when refrigerated

Melons, berries, grapes, and apples should be consumed within 6-8 hours for best flavor and nutrition retention. Leafy greens also degrade quickly. Beets, carrots, ginger and citrus tend to last a bit longer.

Does Adding Lemon or Lime Juice Help Preserve It?

Yes, adding some fresh lemon or lime juice to your juice blend can help keep it fresher for longer. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties and can slow down oxidation. Mixing in a squeeze of lemon or lime:

  • Adds flavor and cuts bitter tastes
  • Helps preserve color and nutrient retention
  • Delays spoilage by slowing oxidation
  • Allows juice to keep for up to 24 hours chilled

Aim for around 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice per 16 oz of juice. Any more can make the juice too tart. Other antioxidants like vitamin E from seeds or skins can also help prolong freshness.

Should You Store Juice Pulp and Liquid Separately?

Straining out the pulp and just storing the liquid may extend the juice’s shelf life slightly since the pulp oxidizes faster. But the pulp also contains a lot of nutrients, so it’s best to keep them together. Store juice and pulp combined in an airtight container, chilling both promptly after juicing.

If you prefer straining your juice, make sure to consume the pulp very soon after or incorporate it into recipes like smoothies, oatmeal or muffins. Don’t waste all that extra fiber and nutrition!

Can You Freeze Juice to Make it Last Longer?

Yes, you can freeze excess juice to store it for longer periods. This stops the nutrient degradation process and preserves enzymes and vitamins. Some tips for freezing juice:

  • Store in airtight containers or freezer bags.
  • Squeeze air out before sealing to reduce oxidation.
  • Leave space at top for expansion as juice freezes.
  • Thaw in refrigerator before drinking for best flavor.
  • Mix in a little lemon juice before freezing for added antioxidant protection.
  • Most juices last 6-8 months frozen.

Freezing is ideal if you want to make large batches of juice and stock up for the week or month. Thawing overnight in the fridge allows juices to recombine as they liquify.

Can You Refrigerate Juice Overnight Then Drink Later?

Yes, you can store freshly made juice in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Put it in an airtight jar in the coldest part of the fridge right after juicing. There will be some nutrient degradation but juice kept chilled overnight retains most of its nutrition and flavor.

For best results, make sure juice comes straight from the juicer into the fridge. Letting it sit out before chilling accelerates oxidation. Give the juice a shake or stir before drinking to recombine any separation.

Does Juice Lose Nutrients After Juicing Over Time?

Unfortunately yes, juice begins losing nutrients quickly after juicing due to oxidation and enzymatic breakdown. Here is a rough guideline for nutrient loss:

  • Within 15 Minutes – Minimal loss
  • Within 2 Hours – 10-15% loss
  • Within 24 Hours – 15-35% loss
  • Within 72 Hours – 50-70% loss

Vitamin C and antioxidant compounds degrade the fastest. Enzymes also start becoming inactive quickly. Juice stored more than 24 hours retains limited nutritional value and lacks enzyme activity.

Minimize nutrient loss by drinking juice ASAP or within 2 hours. Keep refrigerated and topped up in an airtight container. Adding lemon juice also slows oxidation.


Drinking juice immediately after juicing provides the most nutritional benefits. Enzymes and nutrients start degrading within 15-30 minutes of juicing due to oxidation and exposure to air and light. For best quality, drink juice within 2 hours. Juice can be stored up to 24 hours refrigerated in an airtight container while retaining most nutrients. Certain fruits like melons deteriorate faster than roots and citrus. Adding lemon juice helps prolong freshness and nutrient retention. Juice should be discarded after sitting for more than 24 hours. Freezing is great for storing juice long term.

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