If you like to make your own fruit and vegetable juices, you’ll need to know how best to preserve them so that they stay fresh for as long as possible. Obviously, it’s best to consume fresh juices as soon as they’re prepared, but sometimes you need to save time and prepare your juices in advance.
You can store fresh fruit and vegetable juices in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours. However, if you want to store them for longer, you’ll have to freeze them or can them. Here are the best methods to preserve fresh juices.
Storing Your Fruit and Vegetable Juices In The Refrigerator
Follow these simple tips to store your fruit and vegetable juices in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours.
- Fresh juice should be stored in a glass container that is airtight. A mason jar with a tight sealing lid is ideal.
- Make sure that you put your prepared juice in the fridge as soon as you’ve made it.
- Fill the glass container right up to the brim. This means that there’s less oxygen in the jar, which will degrade the nutrients in the juice.
- Place a slice of citruses, such as lemon, lime, or grapefruit, into the jar. These fruits contain citric acid, which is a natural preservative and prevents oxidation.
After 72 hours in the refrigerator, your juices will have lost most of their nutrients. They’ll also be darker in color, and they might not taste that good. There’s also the risk that bacteria may have started to grow after this time.
Storing Your Fruit and Vegetable Juices In The Freezer
Freezing is a much better option if you want to store your juices for a longer period. If you’re going to be freezing your juices in glass containers, make sure that you don’t fill these to the brim, as expansion will occur as the juices freeze.
You should leave a space of around half an inch at the top of the container. It’s also a good idea to thaw your frozen juices in the refrigerator before consuming them. Once frozen juices are thawed, they should be consumed straight away.
Frozen juices should keep well in the freezer for around 2 to 3 months.
For even longer storage, it’s recommended that you pasteurize your juices before freezing them. Here’s what to do:
- Heat the juice in small batches until it’s just simmering but not boiling. The juice needs to be heated to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius). You can use a confectionery thermometer to test the temperature.
- Once the juice has been heated sufficiently, you need to cool it quickly by placing it in a shallow container and then putting this container into a sink or larger container filled with cold water and ice. This is the same method you would use to blanch vegetables before freezing them.
- Pour the cooled juice into airtight glass containers and put these into the freezer. Make sure you leave a half-inch gap at the top of the container.
Pasteurized fruit and vegetable juices should keep well in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Freshly squeezed citrus juices such as lemon and lime juice can be poured into ice cube trays and frozen. Once frozen, these juice cubes can be taken out of the trays and put into plastic bags, and stored in the freezer.
Preserving Your Fruit And Vegetable Juices By Canning Them
If you’re keen to store your fresh juices for up to one year, you’ll have to use the canning method to preserve them. Juices that are acidic and contain citric acid can be preserved using a boiling water canner.
However, other juices and those made from vegetables need to be preserved using a pressure canner. The methods used to can juices will vary from juice to juice and what ingredients you put into the juice. Here are some simple methods for canning common juices.
How To Can Apple Or Grape Juice
- Prepare the juice and put it into the fridge for 1 to 2 days so that it can settle.
- Take the juice out of the fridge and pour it through a strainer into a large pot to remove any sediment.
- Heat the juice until it just starts to boil.
- Pour the juice into clean and sterilized canning jars. Make sure you leave a quarter-inch space at the top of the jar. These can now be processed in a boiling water canner for around 5 minutes.
How To Can Fresh Tomato Juice
- Tomato juice is commonly made by simmering the tomatoes on the stovetop or by using a steam juicer. You then have to strain the juice through a jelly bag or a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp.
- Once you’ve made the juice, bring it to a boil before pouring it into clean and sterilized canning jars. Make sure you leave around one-half of an inch of space at the top of each jar.
- Tor each quart jar, add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. To each pint jar, add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
- Process the jars filled with tomato juice in a boiling water canner for around 35 to 40 minutes.
Boiling Water Canning Tips
Remember that only fruit juices that are high in acid can be safely canned using the boiling water method. If you’re new to canning, you should brush up on the safety regulations around canning first. A good resource for this is ‘The Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving.’
Here are a few expert tips:
- Make sure that you fill your canning pot halfway with water and put this on the stove at the same time as you prepare your juices. This will ensure that the water is simmering as soon as the jars are ready to go in. You don’t want to have the juice sitting around before placing it into the canner.
- Place the jars into the canner gently and make sure that they’re covered with around 1 to 2 inches of water at all times. You can keep a kettle on the boil to top up the water in the pot during the canning process.