Our customers are always asking about how to extend the shelf life of cold-pressed juice. Basically, it comes down to a few options:
- Acidity, time and temperature, and other natural methods – to get an extra few days
- High Pressure Processing (HPP) – to get about 30-45 days shelf life
- Heat Pasteurization (Flash, HTST) – can extend shelf life from 30-180 days, and even make juice “shelf stable” – not requiring refrigeration.
Also referred to as “Hight Temperature Short Time pasteurization” (HTST), the name explains it all. Basically, the juice is heated to a high temperature for a short amount of time, then quickly cooled back down to proper temperature.
The temperature it’s heated to, and the amount of time, varies a lot but generally it’s around 165 degrees F for around 10-20 seconds. This process kills over 99% of the microbes in the juice, achieving the required reduction to legally sell juice wholesale. Higher temperatures and longer times may be used if trying to achieve a longer shelf life or shelf stable product.
- The first one may be obvious – if you use heat, it’s no longer cold pressed. Heat pasteurization literally cooks the juice, which defeats the purpose of keeping things cold while juicing.
- Color and taste change. When you cook stuff, it changes. The differences can be obvious in some juices. Green juice may become dark and bitter, for example.
- Lower nutrient content. Heat kills all living microorganisms (such as enzymes), not just the dangerous ones. Heat can also reduce the nutrient content in some juices.