So you’ve just juiced a bunch of fresh juice and now you’re left wondering…just how long does fresh juice last? Or perhaps, you’re gearing up to do some serious juice prep but you want the answer to an all-important question first: how long does fresh juice hold its nutritional value?
All very good questions but the answer kind of varies, so grab a fresh glass of juice and settle in for a moment because we’re going to turn you into an expert on getting the most freshness out of every batch of juice you make.
How Long Does Fresh Juice Last?
Some days, my schedule is completely clear of obligations and I can juice to my heart’s content. On other days, I really wish that I could juice a month’s supply and drop some magic “fresh pill” into the concoction to keep it nice and fresh forever.
Of course there is no such magic pill and fresh juice does lose its freshness after awhile (unlike you, if you juice :), which is why frankly speaking the best time to drink fresh juice for maximum freshness is immediately.
Here’s what we mean.
How Long Does Fresh Juice Hold Its Nutritional Value?
Fresh juice is best consumed fresh – and that means within the first twenty minutes. The reason for this is simple: Fresh juice – and all its benefits – come from its freshness.
That’s because of a little thing called oxidation.
As soon as you juice fresh produce, you’re breaking open the cell walls of these nutrient-rich fruits and veggies and activating the nutrients – the vitamins, enzymes, minerals, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, etc. – found in the produce.
Many of these nutrients are time-sensitive. Just as you wouldn’t slice an apple, leave it out to turn brown and shrivelly and then consume it, the same logic also applies to juice.
The process that causes apples to go brown so quickly is known as oxidation, which is simply exposure to oxygen.
Juice is even more susceptible to oxidation since every part of the fruit or vegetable is being exposed to air.
Oxidation is natural and it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it does reduce the enzymes and vitamins in the fruit and veggie juices, defeating a large part of the point of drinking such juices.
Even when there’s no visible color alteration in the juice, the same process of oxidation occurs.
Does Squeezed Lemon Juice Help?
People commonly recommend adding a squirt of lemon juice to sliced apples or even to halved avocados to prevent signs of oxidation.
Whereas this certainly helps an apple or avocado from turning really brown, really quick – the vitamin C in lemon juice (which is an antioxidant that fights oxidation) will only slow oxidation, not prevent it.
When fruits and vegetables are juiced, adding lemon juice may slow the oxidation a bit, but it won’t be able to protect the integrity of the juice against exposure to the air.
With prolonged exposure to air, the vital enzymes and nutrients in the juice begin to deteriorate and are mostly gone within twenty minutes time. Which is why if you want to absolutely get the most nutritional value out of your juice, it’s best to drink it as soon as you can.
But of course, we’re all pretty busy people. And the good news is that you don’t have to quickly shoot down all the juice you make immediately and still retain nutrient value, albeit not as much as you’d get if you drank immediately.
How Long Can You Store Fresh Juice?
Juice is delicious nutrients delivered straight into your bloodstream. And produce is expensive these days! So the last thing any of us want to do is waste any precious juice.
So you want to make sure you get every glass of fresh juice in its prime. Which leads to the question: how long does fresh juice last?
Well, it depends very much on two factors:
- What type of juicer are you using?
- How are you storing your fresh juice?
Let’s break it down.
What Type of Juicer are You Using?
Never underestimate the importance of the type of juicer you’re juicing with. Each type of juicer has a different mechanism by which it extracts the juice and each extraction process affects the quality of the juice.
Centrifugal juicers – such as the Jack LaLanne juicer and most of the Breville juicers – operate at high speeds, which produce heat and introduce oxidation into the juicing process itself, compromising the freshness of the juice.
Juices made with these juicers really should be consumed quickly – at most within 24 hours. And that’s even when you’re storing it correctly.
On the other hand, slow juicers like masticating or triturating juicers work at very slow speeds with little-to-no heat, which means less oxidation in the juicing process. As a result, juices made with slow juicers have a higher shelf life and can retain their nutritional potency for up to 48 hours. So if you plan to juice in bulk and store the juice – a slow juicer is a good investment.
Hydraulic press juicers extract juice using two steel plates, which clamp down on the pulp and exerts extreme pressure. It’s slow going but results in the best juice quality as the extraction doesn’t disturb the cellular structure of the produce being juiced and thus, does a better job of preserving enzymes and nutrients from oxidation.
Thanks to this, juice made from press juicers can last up to 72 hours.
How To Store Fresh Juice?
It goes without saying that fresh juice lasts much longer in the fridge than it does left out out on the counter. So how long does juice last in the fridge?
A general guideline is juice made from a centrifugal juicer should be consumed within 24 hours, juices made from masticating or triturating juicers should be consumed within 48 hours and juices made from press juicers can be stored up to 72 hours.
Of course, refrigeration isn’t the only thing you should be doing to preserve your fresh juices. You must store them correctly as well.
Our best recommendation to storing juice is to get yourself a collection of glass containers to store your freshly made juice in. You want to minimize oxidation as much as possible by reducing the airspace in the jar – you can do this by filling the glass containers almost to the top, leaving only about 1mm of airspace at the top.
Don’t be concerned if a little juice squirts out when you seal the containers – that means there’s very little airspace, thus less oxidation. And of course, refrigerate immediately.
Do I Have to Throw Out Old Juice?
If your juice has gone bad, you’ll know immediately and yes, definitely toss it!
But what about properly stored juice that has simply stayed in the fridge past its allotted “drink by” date? Well, it’s usually fine to drink.
Despite the general “drink by” times per juicer outlined above, I’ve found that correctly stored juice made from a slow juicer has held fine for 3 to 4 days after it was juiced and correctly stored juice extracted from a press juicer was good to go even after 4 to 5 days.
Sure, it may not have as much nutritional value and health benefits as when it was first juiced and brimming with active enzymes, but keep in mind that even older freshly squeezed juice is still better than any pasteurized juice you’d find on a supermarket shelf.
But all in all, fresh juice does have a much shorter shelf life than, say, supermarket juice and the old adage, “Good things come to those who wait,” is absolutely false when it comes to fresh juice. So don’t wait! Drink up.