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Does Apple Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

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Is there anything more refreshing than chilled apple juice? It is even such a versatile ingredient that can be used in savory and sweet recipes. Just imagine it: grilled pork chops with apple juice and BBQ basting. A delicate, soft, and spongy apple bundt cake with an apple juice frosting. We’re drooling just thinking about it!

But none of this is possible if you don’t have fresh apple juice. And unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the proper storage techniques for apples.

So, does apple juice need to be refrigerated? The short answer is for the most part yes. Unless you have completely closed-boxed apple juice that isn’t sold from the fridge, you should always keep the juice stored in cold conditions.

Fresh apple juice, bottled apple juice, and any type of opened apple juice should be kept inside the fridge. It will prevent the juice from oxidizing (and becoming brown) and spoiling.

Today, we will take a look at exactly how you should store apple juice and when the fridge is the best storage technique. We will also take a look at how you can tell when this juice has spoiled and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Different Kinds Of Apple Juice

There are many different kinds of apple juices out there. Each of them has different storage methods, shelf lives, and even signs of spoilage.

Now, when we are talking about “different kinds of apple juice” we don’t mean blended fruit juices. We are actually referring to how the juice has been made and packaged.

The freshest possible juice you can get is homemade, freshly pressed apple juice. These can be clear or cloudy. Cloudy apple juice is often labeled as “all-natural” and “unprocessed.”

Clear apple juices have been filtered to remove the pectin and starch in the juice. This also removes some nutrients. Ultimately, it becomes a processed juice.

Then, you get bottled juices. There are many different types of preservation methods that will help these juices last quite a long time. But none of them are all-natural.

They either contain specific heating and cooling techniques (which change the juice at its core) or contain additives.

Many apple juices are also preserved in one way or another using natural additives, like sugar. This creates a much sweeter flavor but also increases the sugar content, which is a preservation technique.

Does Apple Juice Need To Be Refrigerated?

It depends on the freshness of the apple juice.

If you have homemade apple juice or store-bought freshly pressed apple juice, it has to be refrigerated if you aren’t going to drink it immediately. You shouldn’t even leave it out for 30 minutes!

Why? Because apple juice oxidizes extremely easily, like most fresh fruits. This changes its flavor, nutrient composition, and even to some degree, its texture. You will see the juice turns brown as well. This doesn’t mean it’s inedible, but it’s definitely not all that appetizing to look at!

Fresh apple juice, cloudy or clear, has to be refrigerated. The filtering process doesn’t help preserve the juice. It just takes the cloudy color away.

So, what about packaged apple juice?

You get packaged juice that is in bottles and in boxes. The boxed juices are usually more processed and have a much longer natural shelf life. Bottled apple juices are usually less processed and are more perishable.

If you have bottled apple juice (in glass or plastic bottles) you should always keep it inside the fridge.

But, if you buy boxed juices, they are usually shelf-stable if they haven’t been opened yet. Now, that’s great and all. But what about once the juice is opened? 

Boxed apple juice that is open has to be kept in the fridge. It will be able to stand at room temperature for longer. But ultimately, to preserve its qualities for long periods of time, you have to refrigerate it.

How Do You Know When Juice Has To Be Refrigerated?

To summarize again: any type of freshly made, homemade apple juice has to be refrigerated. It doesn’t contain preservatives which makes its shelf stable.

Bottled juice has to be kept in the fridge at all times, like with fresh juice.

And boxed apple juice only has to be refrigerated once it has been opened. If it is closed, it can be kept at room temperature.

A great way to know when apple juice is safe to store at room temperature is by looking at how you buy it in the shops. If the apple juice is displayed on ice or in a fridge, you have to store it in the fridge at home.

If it is sold at room temperature on the shelves, you can store it in a similar way at home.

How Long Will Apple Juice Stay Good?

It depends on the type of apple juice you have.

Freshly pressed apple juice doesn’t have a very long shelf life. It can last between 3-5 days if you keep it under the perfect conditions. But even then, some changes will occur. The juice may discolor, slightly change in flavor, and get a thicker consistency.

Bottles and boxed apple juice usually have a longer shelf life (unopened). They can easily last a couple of weeks to a couple of months – especially boxed apple juice.

But, once any of these processed apple juice products have been opened, you can expect them to last between 5-10 days inside the refrigerator.

If you store them without a lid or covering (outside of an airtight container) they will only last 2-3 days. The more you expose it to oxygen, the shorter the shelf life will be.

How To Tell If Apple Juice Has Gone Bad

It is actually really easy to tell when apple juice has gone off.

The first thing that happens is the aroma changes. The apple juice will start developing a rancid, sour, and rotten odor. You will notice this before you’re going to see visual signs of spoilage.

Next, the flavor will change as well. Apple juice should have a fresh, sweet, tangy, and fruity flavor. If it starts getting very sour or bitter, it’s still drinkable, but not as fresh as it should be. It’s on its last leg.

If it starts tasting off (and trust us, you will know what that tastes like) you should immediately discard the juice.

And finally, you will eventually start seeing some physical changes to the juice. First, it will most likely become even more cloudy and even turn brown. The fresher the juice, the darker it will become (and the quicker).

You can also see the juice changing texture and becoming thick. And finally, the most obvious sign of spoiled juice is mold. White, green, black, and blue mold can all appear on the surface of the juice or inside of the bottle or box.

None of them are safe and it means the juices have been stored for either too long or under unfavorable conditions that made them spoil. Either way, it’s no longer safe to use.

What To Do With Leftover Apple Juice?

Now, if you have leftover apple juice and you know you won’t be using it before it goes off, what can you do?

No matter which type of apple juice you have (or which kind of juice in general), freezing the juice is always best. It will help preserve the shelf life of the juice so you can use it later.

Yes, there are some changes that will happen once you thaw the juice. However, slightly watered-down juice is still better than throwing away an entire carton.

You can also incorporate apple juice into various savory and sweet recipes.

For example, you can bake muffins or a cake using apple juice instead of water. You can also make apple juice frozen lollipops. Or apple jelly by adding come gelatin or pectin.

For savory recipes, you can use apple juice to make sauces, dressings, glazes, and basting sauces. You can even just mix it into your stew, casserole, or soup. Apples really pair excellent with savory flavors, so it’s an easy substitute for water.

Can Spoiled Apple Juice Make You Sick?

Depending on how spoiled it is and how much you drink, you can have varying symptoms of food poisoning.

If you accidentally take a sip, you may experience stomach cramps or nausea. But, if you drank a big gulp or finish the entire bottle (if that’s even possible) you could experience some more severe symptoms.

They can include diarrhea and vomiting. Ultimately, this can lead to dehydration and even hospitalization.

Yes, folks, all that from drinking spoiled apple juice. So while many people don’t take it seriously, it’s not something to play around with.

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