Juice packed with preservatives can last for months on a shelf, but how long does cold pressed juice last?
It's much healthier than the shelf-stable kind, but the trade-off is that it doesn’t last nearly as long even in the best conditions.
If you're planning on buying cold-pressed juice or making it at home there are a few things you’ll want to know about this growing trend.
What is cold pressed juice?
Cold pressing juice is when juicers chop fruits and vegetables and use a hydraulic press to squeeze the juice out. This process does not offer the same bacteria-killing properties as high heat pasteurization, which means the juice won’t stay drinkable as long. The trade-off is that the juice made in the cold press process retains more nutrients, making it healthier overall.
How long does the juice last?
Cold-pressed juices have a lot of benefits, but shelf-life is their one downfall.
There are a few ways you can extend the longevity of your cold-pressed juice, but most experts agree that these juices will only last three to five days.
It is disappointing that you can’t buy in bulk, but with a three to five-day spread, you can buy a few days’ supply, which isn’t too bad.
If you're making it at home, three to five days is plenty since you can make juice on demand.
How can I make it last longer?
Nothing you do will magically make fresh juice last as long as the stuff with preservatives in it, but there are a few things you can do to make it extend out to that five-day mark and maybe even a little beyond.
1. Use fresh produce
It makes sense that if your produce is already on its way to going bad when you use it, your juice will not last as long. It probably means that you will have to take multiple trips to the grocery store each week, but it also ensures you are making the freshest, healthiest, and safest juice possible.
2. Add lemon juice
Lemon juice will keep your juice from going bad in the same way it keeps an apple from browning. A little lemon juice will go a long way.
Cold press experts suggest that you only use one whole lemon every five pounds of produce that you juice.
You can also mix more acidic juices with less acidic options to make the juice last longer. For example, combining a high acidity juice like pineapple to a low acidity one like carrot will make the juice last longer than pressing carrot juice by itself.
This handy chart has a list of most produce and their acidity levels.
3. Clean your machine regularly
It makes sense that a dirty machine would contaminate fresh juice.
Juicing is messy, and juicers are a pain to clean, so make sure that you get every corner. If you choose to use any bacterial killing agent, take extra caution to rinse thoroughly, so no residue makes it into your final product.
4. Keep the temperature cold
We all know that keeping food in a refrigerator helps it last longer, but the temperature at prep time will also help your juice last longer.
Keep all your produce, your machine, and your bottles as cold as possible. Some large-scale operations even prepare their juice in refrigerated kitchens to keep the process as cold as possible.
Since most of us don’t have refrigerated kitchens, your best bet is to keep everything else cool and juice your produce as fast as possible, so it doesn’t have time to warm up.
Why do store-bought pressed juices last longer?
There are three very different possible answers to this question.
1. They're not pressed juice. Many companies will use tricky wording to make you believe you are buying pressed juice when you're not.
2. They don't. If you're buying real pressed juice from a juicer, it will still only last three to five days.
3. Big, rich companies can send their bottles through a process called High-Pressure Processing, or HPP. HPP uses pressure to kill microbes in the bottle and can extend the life of some, though not all, juices for 30 to 60 days.
The juicy truth
Cold-pressed juice is rewarding, especially if you do it yourself. It's a delicious treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about because it's natural and full of nutrients.
The process can be complicated, and after all that hard work, your juice will still only last for a few days, but once you try it, you’ll probably find that it's totally worth it.
If you choose to skip the trouble and head to a store for your cold-pressed needs, remember that even the store-bought stuff will only stay good for so long.
On the day she reached true enlightenment, Koko was still wearing a toga from the previous night's beer-fueled debauchery. Late for her first class, her college roommate shook her from a deep sleep and offered her a glass of juice. Bolting it down was like pouring electricity into her body. Now a principal cellist for the Salt Lake City Symphony Orchestra, Koko runs marathons in her spare time.