The shelf life of Cold-pressed juice, (how long you can drink it after juicing) is typically 3-5 days. It’s a product that will spoil quickly and must be kept refrigerated. It’s one of the challenges starting a cold-pressed juicing business. For example. You can lose money when you haven’t sold “out of date” juices. There’s a higher risk of customers getting sick because of contamination. And overall, it’s difficult to manage.
But why is determining shelf life important? When you leave juice in your refrigerator for an extended period, it will often get contaminated by bacteria and becomes dangerous to drink. I’ve made juices that have turned bad after just one day. So what happened? I discovered that counting days isn’t accurate to determine how long you can safely store juice. For example. Juice can remain fresh if it’s appropriately refrigerated. But when you don’t keep juice cold, it can spoil within hours. And other factors determine how long your juice last. I’ve compiled them into these 4 steps to a longer shelf life.
First and obviously is the quality of produce. If you put a rotten apple into a juicer, you can’t expect fresh juice flowing out.
How it’s Made
It can take an apple 2-4 week before it goes bad. But the moment you slice an apple in two, it’s exposed to oxygen, and almost immediately the apple will turn brown. This process is called oxidation. The same applies to juice. When you press the apple, you essentially cut the apple into small pieces, and your juice will oxidize. If there’s more air exposed when you juice, the faster it will oxidize. When your juicer is of better quality, then it’s also possible to create higher quality juice. Because it’s able to extract more nutrients, create less oxidation but also separates the juice better from the pulp, which plays a significant role in shelf life.
The Acidity of Your Recipes
You can store an apple for 1 to 2 months in the fridge. You can store carrots 2-3 weeks. Every ingredient is different. So is every recipe. But why is that? Every ingredient has a different acidity. The less acid, the faster the juice breaks down. That’s why you can store lemon juice (more acid) longer than greens or carrots (less acid).
The warmer the juice, the faster it goes bad. And this applies from veggies going in, juice that’s getting bottled and stored, up to when the juice is delivered and sold. You have to keep the juice cold during the entire process!
By taking these steps, I’m able to extend shelf life to 3-5 days. Now there’s still a pretty big gap between 3 or 5 days. This highly depends on those 4 points. I would recommend to keep testing and drinking your juice over time and learn which juices last longer than others. When you need to find out exactly how long your juice will last, you need to do a microbiology test it in a laboratory to check the stability & shelf life. Your juice will be tested on several factors. From mold growth, aerobic bacteria, pathogenic organisms, the PH levels and how they change over time. And it’s also possible to monitor the color, texture, aroma, and taste of the product age.
Extending Shelf Life Beyond 3-5 Days
If you’ve ever been to France. You know that they’re selling the best bread in the world. The cracking of the crust. The smell when you walk past a corner bakery. The quality! What makes their bread so good? In 1993 French Bread law describes how bread should be produced and sold in France! If you want to be called a “Boulangerie” a bakery must make it’s own bread fresh on-site! You can not use any pre-made dough. It must have a specific weight and size. And there’s even a very specific recipe. There are no preservatives or additives allowed. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific law or standard for cold-pressed juice. Cold-pressed only refers to how juice is made. With a cold-pressed machine. But however you process juice afterward, companies still call it “cold-pressed”. When reading cold-pressed juice on the label, you would almost assume it’s raw juice. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth.
There are cold-pressed juices that have a shelf life of 30 or even 100 days in supermarkets around the world, what’s their secret? If you want to sell juices wholesale in the US. The FDA requires you to process and extend shelf life for safety. Typically this is being done by pasteurization (heating the juice) or HPP (High-Pressure Processing). By processing the juice we destroy most of the bacteria that could develop, but we also kill essential vitamins and minerals in the process. Such as living enzymes, essential minerals, antioxidants and natural antibiotics which make raw juices so attractive for our health. This what gives small juicing businesses an opportunity to sell Raw, cold pressed and unprocessed juice. It’s like a small French “Boulangerie” bakery on the corner. Selling the highest quality product that people love and can’t wait to get more of. Small businesses have the opportunity to make juice the way it’s supposed to be. And in the arms of doing so, our best weapon is a short shelf life.
Short Shelf Life is a Blessing, Not a Curse
Selling fresh juice compared to processed juice is about educating people. When you understand the difference and can afford it. You’ll prefer the healthier option. But simplifying the difference between raw and processed juice can be quite the challenge. I use to think it was simple. Just check the label for 100% juice, no added sugars, and no additives. Then you find out it contains juice from concentrate. Which has up to 6 additional steps (Pasteurisation, dehydration, freezing, dilution, thawing and then reintroducing flavors).
You ad “Not from concentrate” to your list of things to check on the label before you buy juice. Then you find out that sugars are added. So you check the label for “No added sugar”. Eventually, the list seems to get longer and longer:
no added sugar
Not from Concentrate
You need a dictionary to read it. But finally, you’ve found a juice that checks all the boxes. Then you discover that the shelf life is still 90 days. How is this possible?! Some processes, are not required to be put on the label. This makes it very difficult to educate people about the difference of your fresh juice. Although there’s one simple obvious point that makes the difference: A short shelf life! If someone asks, how to know the difference? Look at the expiration date!
So for small business owners who are considering to process their juice. Embrace the short shelf life and handle your juice with love and care because we are able to make a difference that large companies are unable to make. This could only seem like a small difference, although it tends to create the ripple effect, that for many of us is the reason we got into juicing. To help people with juice.
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