So you probably juiced days ago and stored the leftover in some corner of the fridge, only to be forgotten. Now you’re wondering whether it’s still usable. After all, nobody wants to gulp down a big glass of cold pressed juice that is just packed with stale fruits and veggies and has almost zero nutritional value. Everything has an expiry date and so do fresh juices. Just like raw fruits and vegetables, fresh juices too are only good till they are fresh. So how long do they stay fresh? What is the best possible way to store them? Are there any tips and tricks that you can try to increase the shelf life of fresh juices? Keep reading and in just a few minutes you’ll find out everything.
Why is there a shelf life?
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that help your body in countless ways. The same nutrients are transferred to the extracted juice which helps build your immune system, enhances detoxification of your system, promotes healthy, glowing skin, improves digestion and much more. However, these benefits will only be achieved as long as the juice is fresh.
From the moment the juice is extracted, it is exposed to air and light. This exposure starts a process called oxidation which gradually destroys the nutrients. It is the same process that comes into play when you cut an apple or peel a banana and leave it for a while. The browning of the surface is oxidation. This process is even faster in juices since a greater surface area of the fruits and vegetables are exposed to the environment. The longer you leave the drink to be oxidized, the more nutrients you are wasting.
The Factors that Affect Oxidation
There are certain factors that will affect the rate at which oxidation of the juice takes place. Here they are:
Type of Juice:
Store-bought juice will include preservatives in them which makes them last much longer than fresh juices. Depending on the expiry date mentioned on the package, they can even last for months if left unopened. However, this isn’t the case with fresh juices. Since preservatives are not available at home, the shelf life of fresh juices is much smaller. It is best to consume the fresh juices right away but you may also store them in the fridge and consume them within 2 to 3 days maximum.
Type of Juicer:
To decide upon the shelf life of a particular glass of juice, you also need to consider the type of juicer that was used to extract it. The two varieties of juicer that are most popular in the market are centrifugal juicer and cold-press juicer.
The centrifugal juicers are the traditional varieties although many people are still using it. They use fast-spinning blades to chop the fruits and vegetables in order to extract the juice. In doing so, they let in more air into the drink from the environment which quickens the oxidation process. In general, juice extracted from a centrifugal juicer should not be left longer than a day inside the fridge.
Cold-press juicers, on the other hand, extract juice at very low speeds so as to ensure minimum exposure of the drink to heat and air. This results in a longer shelf life provided that you store it properly. Even with cold-press juices, store them in the fridge and consume them within 3 days.
Quality of the Ingredients:
The quality of the ingredients also plays a major role in establishing the life of the drink extracted from them. If you’re already using stale produce, you cannot expect it to give you the regular shelf life of 24 hours in case of centrifugal extraction and 72 hours for cold-press extraction. In contrast, if you use fresh and organic produce which has a much greater nutritional value to start with, you can expect a much longer life of the drink that is extracted from them.
The storage technique that you are using to keep the drink will also either prolong or shorten the life of the juice. Using substandard plastic bottles to store the drink will not let it stay fresh for long. On the other hand, storing it inside Mason jars with airtight lids and then keeping it in the fridge will give you a longer shelf life of the drink from 1 to 3 days depending on other factors.
How long does Cold Pressed Juice last in a fridge and in a freezer?
If you are not ready to consume all the juice that you have extracted from the juicer, you must store any leftovers in the fridge. It is only when the juice is refrigerated that it will give a complete shelf life of 24 or 72 hours depending on whether it is extracted from a centrifugal juicer or a cold-press juicer.
It may be stored in the freezer as well, although it is not recommended that you do that. The reason is that the drink will lose the nutrients gradually and will not be as beneficial as freshly extracted juice. However, it will not go bad and can be consumed for up to 3 months. Freezing is generally the only viable option when you are growing your own produce since it isn’t possible to consume the entire harvest at once. You should, however, make sure that you use up the frozen juice within 3 months.
How to make juice last longer?
Proper storage of the extracted juice is very important for ensuring its long life, as you have already seen. Tightly sealed glass jars or Mason jars are highly recommended rather than plastic containers as they can prolong its life.
Another useful tip is to fill the container to the rim before sealing the lid and placing it inside the refrigerator. Filling it to the rim ensures that there is no space left for air within the container which will further slow down the oxidation of the juice. Immediately refrigerate the drink and use it within the recommended time limit.