Everybody knows they should probably drink more water but some struggle to enjoy it with the myriad of other flavorful alternatives.
The solution? Infusing your water with fruit!
Whether you need to mix it up once in a while, induce yourself to drink more water, or just need something extra refreshing on warm days, fruit infused water is the ultimate cool treat.
But how long does fruit infused water last? Though it may vary slightly based on the ingredients you use, fruit infused water should be consumed within 4 hours if left at room temperature but can stay fresh for up to 3 days if refrigerated.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how long you should leave fruit in your water, both for optimal flavor levels and for keeping it fresh. We’ll also explain the difference between refrigerating your infused water or not, as well as the best fruits to infuse your water with.
What is Fruit Infused Water?
Fruit infused water is any water that has been leveled-up with some variety of fruit, including fresh, frozen, and even juiced.
The higher the water content of the fruit, the easier it will be to infuse your water.
You don’t even have to limit yourself to fruit, but can also experiment with juicy vegetables or potent herbs and spices. Though fruit is definitely more popular.
How Long to Infuse the Fruit in Water
How long you infuse your water will be somewhat up to personal preference and convenience.
If your water is at room temperature, 1–2 hours is enough time for the fruit to impart a good amount of flavor into your water.
If you’re refrigerating your water, you may find that it takes longer. 3–4 hours should be enough to have nicely infused water but if you like strong flavors, you can leave the fruit in for up to 12 hours.
Once you are happy with the flavor it’s a good idea to strain out the fruit. If you allow it to soak in the water too long, especially if it’s not refrigerated, the fruit can start to decompose and begin to create an unsavory taste.
How Long Does Fruit Infused Water Last?
As we said before, fruit infused water should generally be consumed within about 4 hours if left out at room temperature. It can probably last longer, but it’s always safest to enjoy food and beverages sooner after being prepared if they are not going to be stored.
If you refrigerate your water, however, it can stay fresh for about 3 days. It will likely be safe to drink longer, but as bits of fruit will inevitably be left in, the water will often start to take on a bitter taste and will not be as enjoyable.
How Long Can You Leave Fruit in an Infuser Water Bottle?
Fruit infuser bottles can start to develop a build-up as soon as the fruit starts to break down. Small particles of decomposing fruit may start to escape through the strainer, giving your water a grainy or odd texture.
How long you leave the fruit in your water bottle will depend on the type of fruit you have used.
Citrus fruits will last the longest in an infuser bottle; however, the rinds can start to turn your water bitter after only a few hours.
Berries are very delicate and will break down quickly, potentially getting stuck in the strainer and making it difficult to clean. Syrupy fruits like melons can leave a film on the strainer if left in the infuser for too long.
Four hours in an infuser bottle is generally the limit for most fruits, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your strainer beyond 2 hours.
Potential Dangers of Infused Water
Infused water, especially in special fruit infusing water bottles, has become a popular way to bring a healthy drink with you on the go. Unfortunately, the moment you add fruit to the water, the risk associated with bacterial contamination begins.
This is particularly concerning if your water is exposed to temperature fluctuations, such as moving from the hot summer air to an air-conditioned vehicle and back again.
Temperature changes increase the likelihood of bacteria growing inside your bottle, thanks to the fruit or fruit compounds. Not many people worry about food poisoning from water, but it is possible, especially under the wrong circumstances.
If you’re an avid drinker of fruit-infused water, focus on cleaning your bottle out often and well. Frequent cleaning is an important but often overlooked aspect of care for any water bottle.
Can Lemon Water Go Bad?
Lemon and other citrus fruits are perhaps the most common type of fruit used to infuse water. You may juice a wedge into a glass of water or allow multiple slices to soak in a pitcher, slowly infusing the water with their tart juice.
How Long Does Lemon Water Last Refrigerated?
Refrigerating lemon or citrus fruit infused water at 40 F or lower should keep your water fresh and safe for at least 3 days.
If possible, keep the water in a container with a lid that seals well. This will help protect it from less pleasing roaming flavors from your fridge. It will also make your water more resistant to bacterial growth, keeping it fresh for as long a possible.
If you strain your lemons out of the water after 8–12 hours it can last even longer than 3 days. If you leave the slices of fruit in the water the fruit itself will begin to decompose, even if it’s kept cold, and the flavor will degrade more quickly.
How Long Does Lemon Water Last Unrefrigerated?
If you don’t care for fridge-cold water or simply can’t keep your lemon water refrigerated, you will want to drink it within a 4-hour window.
Fresh lemon juice does not have any added preservatives. Though citric acid is a natural preservative and lemons can last a while lemons and lemon juice can go bad. Your lemon water can become contaminated if left at room temperature for long enough.
If your lemon water begins to taste flat rather than tangy, stop drinking it. If the water becomes more cloudy or darker than it was when you first infused your water, it may have bacterial contamination and you should no longer drink it.
How Long Does Cucumber Water Last?
Next to citrus fruits, cucumbers are one of the most popular ingredients to use in water. They have a mellow, comforting flavor that quickly melts into the water.
Cucumber water should always be refrigerated or consumed within 2 hours. After a maximum of 12 hours in the fridge, strain the fruit out of your water to prevent it from breaking down and contaminating your water with potential mold or bacterial growth.
Once the cucumber has been removed, it can stay in your fridge for up to 3 days.
Best Fruit for Infused Water Bottle
If you’re ready to move beyond lemon or cucumber water and start using your bottle for more complex infusions, you may be wondering what to put in your fruit infuser bottle.
If you enjoy the flavor of a fruit, vegetable, or even herb, you can probably use it to infuse your water.
Here are a few of our favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs to infuse water with:
- Crushed blueberries paired with citrus
- Strawberry and muddled basil
- Raspberry and rosemary
- Orange and ginger
- Pineapple and Kiwi
- Celery, lime, and muddled mint
- Cucumber and Jalapeno
For best results, allow your water to infuse for up to 4 hours and then remove the solid ingredients. Keep it refrigerated for a maximum of 3 days.
Infused Water with Frozen Fruit
Using frozen fruit and berries is a great way to infuse a glass or bottle of water as it will cool it down at the same time as infusing it with flavor. It does take longer for the flavor to develop in the water though.
The best time to use frozen fruit is when you know you won’t be able to drink your water immediately.
If, for example, you have an hour-long drive before a hike, using frozen fruit in your infuser water bottle will work well to keep your water fresh and cool for as long as possible and still infuse it with flavor when you’re ready to drink it.
Depending on how warm the air temperature is, you can usually expect to get at least 1 extra hour of safety from your fruit-infused water when you’re using frozen fruit and not refrigerating it.
Does Infused Water Have Calories?
This question comes up most frequently among fasters and dieters. Will drinking infused water break your fast or compromised your daily caloric intake?
The complicated answer is, it depends.
If you’re spritzing a wedge of lime into your water, no, there are few to no calories to speak of. Any strained, infused water should have negligible calories.
On the other hand, if you’re crushing half a cup of berries into your water and consuming them along with the liquid, yes, your beverage will have calories and will break a fast.
How Do You Pair Fruit Flavors?
Pairing fruit with other flavors can get a little complicated if you’re inexperienced with the kitchen. That’s why we’ve put together an ultimate table guide for the best fruit flavor pairings.
Is Fruit Infused Water Good For You?
Fruit infused water is good for you in a variety of ways. First and foremost, drinking water of any kind helps to keep you hydrated. Proper hydration helps every single bodily function run smoothly, including keeping your blood pumping, your lungs breathing, and your brain thinking.
Beyond simple hydration, if you are using fruit infused water as an alternative to sugar-laden beverages like soda or even commercial juices, you will be reducing your calories and sugar intake dramatically. For some people, this is a very healthy change.
In terms of added nutrition, fruit infused water may increase the antioxidants and vitamins you consume throughout your day, but that will depend entirely on the quality, quantity, and type of fruit you’re using to infuse your water.
What is Hydrogen Infused Water?
Hydrogen water, or hydrogen infused water, is regular still water that has had hydrogen gas added to it. You can sometimes find hydrogen water pre-packaged or you can also add hydrogen water tablets to a glass of water at your home or office.
The current research on hydrogen water is very limited and so is not considered reliable yet.
There are very few findings that suggest hydrogen infused water may have an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce the symptoms of aging and increase muscle repair. It may also increase antioxidant properties.