We can meal prep just about anything these days, from entrees to desserts. So it makes sense to meal prep smoothies, as long as you can store them correctly. But how long do smoothies last anyway?
How Long Do Smoothies Last?
If you want to save time and make smoothies in bulk, you've probably wondered how long do smoothies last? And it's a fair question. However, it has a complicated answer.
How long a smoothie lasts depends on what ingredients you use, what container you use for storage, and where you store the smoothie. A smoothie on the counter won't last as long as one in the fridge, for example.
So, how long do smoothies last in these different conditions? Can room temperature really make that much of a difference? While the difference in temperature might not make your smoothie inedible, it won't be as tasty for as long.
On the counter
Whether you don't have access to a fridge or you just leave your smoothie out by accident, how long do smoothies last on the counter?
Unfortunately, we couldn't find a clear answer. If you can't store your smoothie in the fridge, then try your best to drink it soon after you blend it.
But what if you leave your smoothie out accident? Your smoothie will probably be okay for a few hours. But it might be warm when you drink it.
Clearly, the counter isn't an ideal place to store a smoothie. However, you might not always have access to a fridge or freezer. So if you're stuck with the counter, you'll have to indulge right away or use other methods to make your smoothie last.
In the fridge
How long do smoothies last in the refrigerator? The short answer is longer than on the counter. Now for the long answer.
Smoothies can last for up to 24 hours in the fridge. After a day, the blended fruits and vegetables can go bad, even when kept cool. If you decide to push it for longer, then make sure you check the smoothie for a bad smell or color change.
Now, storing your smoothie for that long can cause the ingredients to separate. All you have to do is shake or stir your smoothie to mix everything together.
You should also try to find the perfect-sized container. Make sure it will fit the entire smoothie and nothing else and that the lid is airtight. A full container can prevent oxidation, which can affect the nutrients in your smoothie.
Keep it frozen
Maybe you want to make smoothies more than one day ahead. While you can perform the smell test on refrigerated smoothies, you really want to be sure you can drink a smoothie days later. Well, then you should store your smoothies in the freezer.
But how long do smoothies last in the freezer? You can store smoothies in the freezer for up to three months. That makes it the perfect storage option for weekly meal planning.
Unfortunately, freezing your smoothies means you can't just drink them straight from the freezer. You'll have to put the smoothie in the fridge or on the counter to thaw.
You'll also have to store them slightly differently than in the fridge. First, you need to use freezer-safe containers. And you should leave some space for the smoothie to expand, instead of filling the container completely.
However, you should still use an air-tight container, this time to prevent freezer burn.
Drinking Your Nutrients
If you're like many people and don't like a ton of fruits and vegetables, smoothies are a great way to get some essential nutrients. But you can't just make a smoothie and drink it whenever.
You have to store them properly. And you might also wonder, how long do smoothies last with their nutrients?
If you want to drink smoothies to get your nutrients more easily, you should know the ideal conditions for storing smoothies.
That way, you can enjoy your smoothie and know that you'll still get the same nutrients as when you first made the smoothie.
What causes smoothies to go bad?
So, you want to know how long do smoothies last? Well, you should also know what makes a smoothie go bad. When you blend a smoothie, a process called oxidation occurs.
Oxidation is when fruits and vegetables become exposed to air. The jury's out on whether it affects the nutrients in your smoothie. Fruits and vegetables can become oxidized thanks to cutting, slicing, and even chewing.
So while oxidation won't strip your smoothie of nutrients, you may not like the taste.
Is juicing any better?
Juicing is susceptible to all of the same problems as blending, but maybe even more so. According to Raw Blend, juicing faces more oxidation than blending.
Both juicing and blending cause some fiber to break down. Since your body doesn't have to chew as much or break down that fiber, it can speed up digestion.
So make sure you alternate your smoothies with whole fruits and vegetables. If you miss the deadline for how long do smoothies last, take out some fresh produce and snack on that.
How To Make Your Smoothies Last
How long do smoothies last? It may seem like the answer is set in stone. In the fridge, smoothies keep for up to a day. And they can last for a few months in the freezer.
However, there are some tips and tricks that you can to make your smoothies last a little longer. If you want to make your smoothies last, you just need to know what ingredients to add and what storage containers to use.
The right container
We already mentioned that you shouldn't use just any container to store your smoothies. Regardless of where you plan to store your smoothies, you need a container with an airtight lid.
If you want to store your smoothie in the fridge, you should fill that container to the top. You want to leave as little space as possible so that oxidation won't occur as much or as fast.
And for longer-term storage, you want a freezer-safe container. But in this case, you should leave a bit of space so the smoothie can expand as it freezes.
Air is the enemy
While there's not enough research claiming that oxidation affects nutrition, it can affect taste and appearance. So if you want to keep your smoothie for as long as possible, you want to avoid oxidation.
That's why an airtight lid is vital to storing your smoothie. And if you store your smoothie in the freezer, an airtight lid can protect against freezer burn.
If you're worried about an airtight seal, you can always add a layer of plastic wrap to the container before you add the lid. That can provide the peace of mind you need to ensure air won't get into your smoothie.
Pump up the citrus
If you've ever sliced an apple only to watch it go brown, you've seen a process called enzymic browning, which is a type of oxidation. And maybe you've heard of adding lemon juice to prevent that from happening again.
Well, you can use that same trick to help with oxidation in smoothies. Citrus juices, like lemon juice, contain an acid that can slow or stop the oxidation process.
So if you add some lemon or lime juice to your smoothie, you can slow down oxidation. That's especially helpful if you don't have access to a fridge or freezer for storage.
How long do smoothies last with lemon juice? We can't give you a clear answer, but they can extend the shelf life a little.
Add some greens
Aside from citrus juices, you can add vegetables to make your smoothies last longer. That's right. Raw Blend explains that chlorophyll, which gives leafy greens their color, can lengthen the life of your smoothie.
But how long do smoothies last with chlorophyll? They can make your smoothie last twice as long.
So if you want to store a smoothie for two days instead of one, add some leafy greens. Not only will that keep your smoothie fresher longer, but it will give you even more nutrients than you can get from fruit alone.
When frozen, make them cubes
If you want to freeze your smoothies, you have a trade-off. The smoothies will last longer, but you'll have to defrost them when you want to drink one.
However, you may not have to wait for an entire jar to defrost. You can store your smoothie in ice cube trays to make smoothie ice cubes.
Smoothie ice cubes have a couple of advantages. Of course, they defrost faster since they're smaller. Therefore, you won't have to plan ahead to enjoy a frozen smoothie.
However, you can also use them in future smoothies. That way, you won't have to use typical ice cubes or water to make a smoothie colder.
Instead, you can use frozen smoothie cubes. We can't say for sure, but that might even help future smoothie batches last longer on the counter.
How long do smoothies last? It's a question that you've probably asked yourself any time you've broken out your blender.
For better or for worse, there's no one answer to that question. A smoothie's shelf-life depends on a number of things, from the ingredients to the storage container, to the storage place.
A smoothie probably won't last more than a few hours on the counter. But stick it in the fridge, and it can last up to a day. Furthermore, a smoothie can keep in the freezer for up to a few months.
Using an airtight container and adding ingredients like lemon juice and leafy greens can extend that life by a few hours to an entire day. It all depends on how you make your smoothie.
Have you made a smoothie for later? How did it last? Let us know in the comments!