How long does my juice last?

How long does my freshly pressed juice last?
July 28, 2016 jeff

One of the main questions we get is about juice shelf life. How long can you actually store your freshly produced juice? Can you add anything that will improve the shelf life of juice?

In this article, we will discuss several options that are used by juice businesses today.

Some are great, some are good and others are extremely bad. After reading this, you will know more about all of the different options that are available and decide what will work for you and your business. And to your juice shelf life question of “How long can I store my freshly made juices?” the short answer is: 48-72 hours.

When you buy a fresh apple, you can leave it in your fruit bowl for 2-4 weeks. But leave your freshly produced juice in the fridge for 2-4 weeks and you will create a monster that will come and eat you alive! When you slice an apple in two, almost immediately the apple will turn brown, right? Because it’s now exposed to oxygen. We call this oxidation. The apple will oxidize. It is still good to eat, although it does not taste as fresh as eating it immediately. When you add some lemon to the apple after you have just sliced it open, it will slightly slow down oxidation and your apple will still look and taste fresh.

The same applies to juicing. When you produce your juice, you essentially break down the apple, and the juice will oxidize. You can add some lemon to slow down oxidation, but it will only make a slight difference. The more air that is exposed to the juice during juicing, the faster your juice will oxidize. When you use a centrifugal juicer (high speed juicer), then oxidation will happen faster because more air is introduced to the juice. By using a slow juicer/cold pressed juicer, you will slow down oxidation and your juice will look and taste good for a longer time.

There are many debates about nutrients in a juice produced by a slow juicer compared to a centrifugal juicer. Some say that juice produced with a centrifugal juicer must be consumed immediately, or else the juice will oxidize and lose its nutritional value. Obviously, we can see the difference with our eyes and know that juice produced with a centrifugal juicer oxidizes faster. Just look at the results between a centrifugal juicer and a slow juicer.

Juice Shelf life difference between slow juicer and centrifugal juicer

Image from Kuvings

The juice produced with a slow juicer has a vibrant color and doesn’t separate (create the foamy stuff) as fast. But I have personally been juicing with a centrifugal juicer for years and have also created juices in advance for the next day and had amazing results! And I am not the only one. Jason Vale (The big Juice Experiment) and Joe Cross (from Fat Sick And Nearly Dead) both used a centrifugal juicer in the early days and benefited from it. So to say that it loses all nutritional value isn’t true, in my own experience.

When you start your own juice business, you want your juices to taste and look good! Especially when you want to start a juice business that bottles the juice. And by those standards, I think cold press juicing is definitely the way to go.

Now there are juices in the supermarket that have a juice shelf life of around 20 days! What’s up with that? There are two popular ways to process these juices.

1. Pasteurization

Pasteurization is the process of heating the juice. You can also call it the process of creating soup from your juice. Soup Juice! Yum! Why would anyone do something like this? The two main benefits of pasteurization: It’s free from disease-causing germs, such as E. coli and Salmonella, and the juice shelf life will be extended to 100 days. But by killing the bad bacteria, it is also killing everything else that would be beneficial. This is not only a bad idea because of all the nutrients that get destroyed. It’s also a very competitive market, because those are the juices that are on the shelves already. You can not compare freshly produced juice with pasteurized juice.

2. High Pressure Processing Also (HPP) or Pascalization

HPP is a relatively new way of extending the shelf life of products. With this method, you can preserve juice by using extremely high pressure on it. “Eliminating harmful bacteria while maintaining a higher yield of vitamin, minerals and enzymes” A higher yield than what? Probably pasteurization. Because there aren’t enough studies done on this topic to really conclude that it will still provide you with the same benefits as fresh juice, although this method definitely beats pasteurization. The high pressure application also happens after the juice is bottled, and the juice shelf life can be extended up to 30 days. Although the entire process can be very expensive.

Different processes to extend juice shelf life

It is difficult for large brands such as Suja Juice or Blueprint to scale without HPP, because the juice shelf life is just too short for such a large market. This creates an amazing opportunity for your business. Ask yourself the question. When you want great quality food, would you get a microwave meal, a frozen meal or a freshly made meal? The ingredients could all be the same, but the process of cooking creates a world of difference.

I am definitely not against HPP, because it beats pasteurized juices any day. No comparison! So it’s a great technological improvement. And especially for places that cannot provide freshly made juices directly, it’s perfect to fill that market. Because it’s so much better to drink HPP juice than no juice at all. But if you can choose between HPP or freshly produced juice… Then we believe in providing the best possible quality juice to your customers.

So the long answer to “What’s the juice shelf life?” or “How long can I store my juice?” is 48-72 hours.