Don’t you wish there was a way of preserving fresh juices for weeks? A special ingredient that would keep the vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and the phytochemicals safe from degradation, even for a week?
We all know how the rest of the days turn – being swamped by obligations that you forget to eat, or you grab the unhealthy foods you come across.
So, how do we remedy for the hard hits on your calendars? For how long can we enjoy fresh juices if we make them today? Since we are ditching the juices sold in stores, how do we keep our fresh juices fresh and potent? How long does fresh squeezed orange juice last and how long does fresh orange juice last? These are the common questions people would have along their juicing journey.
Unfortunately, there are no special ingredients that can protect the integrity of fresh juice prolonging their shelf-life for long.
For the best effects of the juice, you should drink it within 20 minutes. But, if you have to store it, you should drink your fresh juice in 48 to 72 hours.
To answer the big question, “how long does fresh juice last?” we uncover the main factors affecting the shelf life of juices.
Why the time limit?
Fresh juices boost your immune system, clear the skin and enhance your gut health, but keeping the juice for long renders it useless due to oxidation.
Do you see how unpalatable and ugly a cut apple or avocado looks like few minutes after exposure to the air? Well, that is the same thing that happens to fresh juices – but it is worse. When you extract juices from fruits and vegetables, you are exposing a larger surface area of the fruit or vegetable to oxidation. Oxidation destroys the nutritional value of the juice.
What is oxidation?
Oxidation is the chemical term referring to the loss of electrons by a molecule, in this case, oxygen loses an electron and it becomes high reactive such that it forms other types of molecules easily.
The color change in apples or avocados, the evidence of oxidation happens when oxygen in the air, with the help of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase (the oxidation enzyme), reacts with phenolic compounds in fruits, forming quinones which then react with proteins and the amino acids in the fruits causing discoloration, as well as the loss of nutrients.
This also happens to juices and it is worse because the cell walls are broken. Oxygen gets into fresh juice because the skin, the cell walls and the cell membranes are broken.
Unfortunately, color isn’t the only element of the fruit or the juice that changes the taste. The nutritional content of the fresh juice will change as well.
Oxidation also affects the vitamins in the juice with vitamins A, C and E reacting with oxygen or getting broken down by oxygen molecules in the air.
Are you wondering why some juices are only of benefit to the body within 20 minutes, while others can last up to 72 hours? Well, there are different reasons for the inconsistency. The main reason is the type of juice extractor you buy? Did you buy a juicer just because it was affordable and fast? Perhaps there are things you overlooked.
What affects the rate of oxidation?
Type of juicer
If you are looking to answers for ‘how long does fresh lemon juice last?’, it is important to consider the type of juicer you use first.
If you are serious about juicing, you know that there are two types of juices – the centrifugal and the masticating (cold-press) juicers. Even though both juicers contribute to oxidation, one is better than the other.
Juices viable for 20 minutes are often made using centrifugal juicers which contain fast-spinning blades and powerful motors which break apart the fruits and vegetables fast while incorporating more air in the juice so that oxidation begins during extraction. The centrifugal juicers also emit heat as the blades spin further damaging the integrity of the juice.
On the other hand, you have the masticating or the cold-press juicers. The juicers operate at low speeds, producing little or no heat so that there is minimal oxidation during the juice extraction process. Stored correctly, this juice will last for up to 72 hours.
Other than heat and oxidation, light is also terrible as it degrades the nutrients in fruits and vegetable juices.
Using organic produce
How long does fresh orange juice last? Well, it depends on the quality of the fruit. Besides using a cold-press juicer, you can prolong the shelf life of your juice by using organic fruits and vegetables which have higher nutritional value.
Wondering how long does homemade juice last in fridge? First, you have to bottle it up. Cheap plastic containers encourage rapid oxidation. Choose glass containers with tight-fitting lids. Speaking of storage, you need to pour your fresh juice into the glass jar immediately after extraction and only leave about 1mm of airspace before screwing the lid on. Refrigerate the juice immediately. You should also keep the juice away from light.
For decades, sprinkling lemon juice on sliced fruits and in fresh juice slows down oxidation since the juice will still be exposed to the air.
Unfortunately, lemon juice isn’t always the best option because the vitamin C in lemon juice, the element that fights oxidation will only slow down oxidation.
While these strategies prolong the shelf-life of your juice, fresh juice is best drank within 20 minutes after extraction. That is when all the vital enzymes and phytonutrients are still active. Never let you fresh juice sit for long if you want to feel the health benefits of the juice.