Whether it’s orange, apple, grapefruit or carrot, fresh homemade juice is a delicious way to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Juice is “loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins, in a state easily absorbed by the body,” notes Stanford Medicine. Proper preparation and storage of homemade juice is important for ensuring food safety. When properly handled, juice will keep for up to one week.
When making homemade juice, always use safe preparation techniques to prevent illnesses associated with raw fruits and vegetables. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before you start making juice. Remove any bruised, damaged or rotten pieces, then wash them thoroughly using a clean produce brush. When preparing fruits and vegetables, use a clean cutting board that has not had contact with raw meat.
Drinking homemade fresh juice involves some health risks. According to Colorado State University Extension, the greatest concern is the deadly pathogen E. coli 0157:H7, which is linked to around 20,000 cases of food-borne illness in the U.S. each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that “high-risk” individuals with weakened immune systems — including young children and the elderly — should avoid drinking unpasteurized juice. Although severe illness from juice is rare, a microscopic amount of E. coli is enough to make you sick.
The safest and most reliable method of eliminating bacteria in fruit and vegetable juice is pasteurization. While other steps can be taken to reduce the risk of bacteria, pasteurization is the only way to be 100 percent certain, notes the Government of King County, Washington. To pasteurize homemade juice, heat the liquid to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a food thermometer on hand, heat juice until it simmers and bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
Proper storage of homemade juice is essential. Store juice in an airtight, sterilized container and keep in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40 F or below. Although you should drink fresh juice as soon as possible, the Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program says that fresh juice can be safely kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. If the juice is discolored, foul smelling or doesn’t taste right, throw it out.
References and ResourcesStanford Medicine: Juicing Recipes
UC Davis: Safe Handling of Raw Produce and Fresh-Squeezed Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program: Keeping Food Safe