5 Things You Must Consider Before Storing Juice
What exactly is juice? Juice is nutrient rich liquid extracted from plants. Produce is the most popular choice, but any succulent plant can produce juice. Juice comes loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These sit in an aqueous solution rich with enzymes, phyto lipids, and other chemicals shown to prevent diseases such as Alzheimers.
Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are sensitive to light, heat, and air. In the presence of the environment, they change rapidly.
Think of an apple. After you bite off the skin, it exposes the juicy white fruit to the outside air. What happens next?
It starts turning BROWN.
Heat and oxygen are causing precious enzymes to decay!
That means as soon fruits and vegetables get processed, they gradually start losing some of their amazing health benefits. When the cutting blades rip and shred the plant apart at enormous speeds, they expose it to oxygen. You can delay it, but the clock never stops ticking.
Therefore, the sooner you drink it – the better it is. In taste, in nutrition, in health.
Frankly, long term storage of juice isn’t desirable. Use it quickly. Juice is best in the first 10 or 20 minutes after extraction.
How Long Do You Need to Store It?
If you’re still interested storing fresh juice, then you should try to store it for the shortest time possible. Keeping in an airtight container in a cool environment is enough if you plan to drink it later in the day.
Glass jars are essential. If you’re interested in juice, you’re likely well versed in the dangers of storing food in plastics. Glass is also safer to clean and heat resistant.
In addition, using a vacuum-sealed jar will prevent more exposure to oxygen. It requires extra steps but can help retain vital plant compounds for a longer period of time.
Put it in a cool dark environment like your fridge, and it can still be enjoyed for up to 24 hours.
Longer is possible, but the risks begin outweighing the reward. A refrigerator slows or inhibits the growth of bacteria – but it does not completely stop. Fruit juice is uniquely susceptible to spoiling because microorganisms love juice just as much as we do.
After 48 hours you should toss it out. Drinking anything after this point isn’t worth the reduction in flavor and potency. It may be safe, but it isn’t really fruit juice anymore.
You Need to Upgrade
Storage of juice is all about delaying the onset of nutritive decay.
Basically, we want to keep it fresh and healthy as long as possible.
The problem is, most juicers are centrifugal. You might remember why this is a problem – tearing the fruit apart at supersonic velocities has a tendency to expose the juice to air. Just a bit.
Obviously, if you want to keep juice fresh, you need to purchase a masticating juicer. Instead of shredding produce, it uses slower speeds to squeeze and mash. They introduce less oxygen and produce a thicker juice.
Less oxygen introduction is important, because decay in fresh juice happens immediately after exposure to oxygen.
Thicker juice is important, because the higher consistency of the juice means slower natural decay.
As a result, juice can be stored for 72 hours.
Longer storage will cost you. Masticating juicers start at $400 and are much pricier than a centrifugal juicer of comparable quality. Regardless, if you’re serious about storing your juice, this is the way to go.
I’ve got an experiment for you. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.
Next time you bite open an apple, keep some lemon handy.
Squeeze the lemon juice onto the exposed apple. Watch what happens – or more specifically, what doesn’t.
Pretty amazing, right? Science is awesome!
Citrus has been long known to have preservative properties, of course. It’s no surprise that many expert juicers recommend squeezing lemons over your juice before storage. Lemon and lime are the most popular choices but any citrus can be used.
The juice in citrus contains ascorbic acid; also known as VITAMIN C. It’s required for your body to function – sailors on ships often developed a dangerous disease called scurvy without enough Vitamin C in their diets. This acidic vitamin helps reduce the effects of oxidation exposure and keeps the juice fresher longer.
Artificial preservatives are possible, but I hope no one who takes juicing seriously would EVER consider using artificial ingredients in their juice. Anything less is unacceptable. I’ll say it again.
Juice should be ORGANIC, FRESH, and ALL-NATURAL. No excuses!
Focus on Clean
Storage of juice is where the importance of cleanliness begins to shine. Drinking your juice within the first few hours of extraction is safe, healthy, and delicious.
The longer that juice sits, however, the longer any microorganisms will have to grow. The greater the contamination of the juice, the sooner it will spoil.
If you need to store lots of juice, then you also need to take extra care for cleaning. Diligence will go a long way towards making your juice safer; wash the your juicer daily. Use very hot water to sterilize the surfac, with plenty of soap.
Washing your produce before use is obviously essential. Don’t bring anything home from the farm you didn’t buy – whether you can see it or not!
It’s easy to preach an ideal of drinking juice fresh, every time. The truth is, we live in a busy, chaotic world. There are many situations where you might want to store your juice to enjoy for later. Follow this guide and you’ll do it right, every time.