Fresh fruit juices have many health benefits. They are a quick, nutritious and delicious way to load up on your daily vitamin and mineral requirements. There are also plant-based nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes and certain phytochemicals that are really good for the body. It’s a great way to kick start your day, and get that energy boost before going for a walk or hitting the gym. Although fresh juices are easy to make, it becomes a little tricky when it comes to storing them for later.
The main question that arises here is how long does fresh juice last? You don’t want to be drinking a huge glass of fruit juice with empty calories and high sugar content without any real nutritional value. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about fresh fruit juices, how long they can be stored for, and why it is so important to take out time to make fresh fruit juices every day!
How Long Does Fresh Fruit Juice Last: Everything You Need to Know
The short answer to this question would be, it depends. Different fruits and the method of preservation and storage all play an important part in the freshness and nutritional value of the juice. There are many simple tips to follow to extend the shelf life of the juice and enjoy their taste and health benefits with your family.
As a general rule, you should consume fresh raw fruit juice within 20 minutes of making it, and not store it for more than a day. The real challenge comes when you have to make it for a single serving, as there’s always some leftover. With time, you’ll get a better idea of how much fruit and vegetables are sufficient for a single serving. Here are a few things to consider when making fresh fruit juice every day.
Time Limit and Oxidation Process
Fresh fruit juices are great for the skin, digestion and overall immunity and strength. When you store these fresh juices for a long time, these nutritional benefits diminish due to a process called ‘oxidation’. It is the same like cutting the apple or avocado and storing it for later. Not only does it lose its nutritional value, but also its taste and appearance. Juices go bad faster so that their freshness and taste are no longer palatable. This is because extracting the juice makes the available surface area much larger to be affected by oxidation.
Now let’s talk about the process of oxidation. In simple terms, it can be described as a chemical process in which the exposed surface area of the fruits causes the oxygen to become highly reactive. By reacting with the plant-based components of fruits, this process affects the color, taste and nutritional value. The oxygen reaches the fruit as the skin and cell membrane is broken while juicing. Oxidation also diminishes the vitamin content of the juice, especially Vitamins A, C, and E.
Factors Affecting the Oxidation
There are several factors that can fasten or slow down this oxidation process, as well as increase the overall freshness and nutritional value of the juice.
Buying Organic Products
We all know that in general, it’s much better to use raw and organic produce to get optimum health benefits from a fruit or vegetable. Organic fruits are free of pesticides, wax, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals that can be detrimental for the body. Raw juicing is an excellent way to get the best out of fresh juices, as the peel stays on. The peel usually has high fiber content which is wasted when it is taken off. Another benefit of using organic products is that the juice retains its nutritional value for a longer time. They also last longer in the fridge, even when not bought for juicing but for general use.
One thing to consider here is that organic produce is often more expensive. If you can’t always afford the organic produce and want to use the fruits for juice with the peel, soak them in water mixed with vinegar for about 10 to 15 minutes. The vinegar washes off the wax, dirt, and chemicals from the skin of the fruit, and makes them last much longer.
Type of Juicer Used
The type of juicer you use also greatly affects the freshness and even the nutritional value of the fruit juice. There are four main types of juicers that are commonly used to extract fruit juice.
- Centrifugal Force Juicer
This is also known as a ‘fast juicer’ as it is quick and gets the job done in no time. It is also the most commonly purchased variety, as everyone needs an option that can be adjusted in their busy routine. The vegetables and fruits are loaded in the juicer via a feed tube, and the rest is taken care of by the super-fast blade working at a speed of 12,000rpm to shred and juice them. The good part about the centrifugal juicer is that it is swift, budget-friendly and low maintenance. They are also good for handling softer fruits like berries and plums etc. But when it comes to health benefits, the centrifugal juicers take away from the nutritional value and shelf life of the fruit juice.
The high speed per rotation can dilute the juice and cause a higher amount of oxidation to take place. This is evident from the foam-like layer at the top of the glass. They are also not very good with green leafy vegetables. The freshness and quality of the fresh juice are diminished within minutes of juicing, meaning that you should drink it as soon as the juicing process ends to get the best out of the fruit juice. It also produces a ‘pulpy’ quality with high amounts of solids in the juice. This juicer is best for those who don’t store the juice and drink it as soon as it’s made.
- Masticating Juicer
This juicer has a slower processing time, but you reap the reward of your patience. The juicer makes use of a slow auger or gear, which crushes the fruits against a plastic screen or a mesh made of stainless steel. The rotations are slower, with 80 to 100 rpm that doesn’t shred the fruit like a centrifugal juicer.
As a result, you get a high juice yield with less and slower oxidation. The fruit juice retains its freshness and nutritional value for a longer time and can be stored for later. On the other hand, you have to make time for it as it is a time-consuming process. This juicer also produces more of a pulpy concoction but with maximized health benefits, taste and freshness.
- Juice Press
The pneumatic or hydraulic juice press is essentially a two-stage juicer. In the first step, the fruit is grounded up as pulp. After that, the juice is extracted by pressing this pulp. It is a slow process but it extracts the maximum amount of nutrients from the fruits and veggies. For this reason, it is one of the top options for health nuts who want to enjoy the health benefits from the juice they make. They also have the longest shelf life out of any other juicer. You can store the fruit juices for as long as 3 to 5 days!
There is little to no oxidation with no foam in the juice. You can yield good results with fruits and vegetables that are harder to juice, like leafy greens. About 99% of the juice content is liquid, with some amount of pulp. However, it is quite expensive for home use, space-consuming, and high maintenance.
- Twin Gear Juicer
As its name suggests, this juicer functions on two gears or augers. The juice is processed by crushing the fruit into a pulp and then pressing it for juice. More vitamins, fibers, minerals, and enzymes are released in this way. They are quite slow and offer a decent storage time for the fresh juice. The juice content has a high amount of pulp in it.
Additionally, some people also use blenders to prepare fresh fruit juices. Unlike most juicers, the blending process generates heat and this heat is transferred to the juice as well, which lowers its shelf life. When properly stored, a blended juice can last for about a day or two at most.
Storage of Fresh Juice
Storage also plays an important role in the freshness of the juice. Refrigeration is very important if you want to drink the juice later. A freshly prepared fruit juice can only last about 4 hours at room temperature, considering its storage in a proper airtight seal, method of juicing and extent of oxidation. If you keep the juice in the fridge, it can last for as long as 24 hours. If you want to extend the freshness and nutritional value of the juice, you can squeeze some lemon juice to it, as it greatly limits the level of oxidation.
In order to provide an airtight atmosphere and prevent toxins leaching from plastic, it is advisable to store the juice in a glass container such as a mason jar. It has a rough rubber seal on the lid that limits the oxidation process and keeps oxygen out of the jar. Make sure that you fill it up to the brim so that there’s no space left for trapped air. This gives you an additional storage time of as long as 48 hours after juicing the fruits.
Even after all these precautions, if you feel a difference in taste, its best to not consume the juice and make a fresh batch. To be on the safe side, consume the fresh fruit juice right away, or within the first 24 hours. Freshness is key to getting the best out of the fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
When it comes to freshness and nutritional value, you should trust your eyes and taste buds more than anything else. A change in color, foaming and fermented or diluted taste are all indicators of high oxidation and spoiled juice. No matter how good your juicer and storage process is, it is best to consume the juice within a couple of hours to get the best out of the health benefits it offers.