How to Preserve Fruit Juice

How to bottle fruit juice

The apple harvest is starting and we’re just finishing the juice I bottled last season so it’s time to put down another batch. This was the first attempt I’d made at preserving fruit juice in it’s un-fermented form and it was a real success. It stored well in a cool cupboard, tasted great and didn’t ferment in the bottle.

Here are the basic steps for bottling your own fruit juice. I did apple juice but you can make your own blends and if you don’t have a cider press an electric juice extractor will do the same job, just with a bit more sediment.

Collecting Fresh Juice

Collect fresh juice from your press into plastic, glass or stainless steel containers. Stored at room temperature, the juice will quickly start to oxidise and go a dark brown colour. This oxidisation is part of cider making but if you want to make juice for drinking, you may not want this oxidisation to occur so follow the steps below.

Preparing Juice for Bottling

Strain the fresh juice through a stainless steel sieve and add approximately ¼ of a teaspoon of vitamin C powder and ¼ of a teaspoon of pectolase enzyme for every liter of juice. Both of these are natural additives that help you achieve a clear and shelf stable juice once it is bottled.  Pop the juice into the fridge to settle for at least 6 hours, overnight if you can.  If you don’t let it settle before you bottle and pasteurise it, you will get big lumps of scummy apple solid foam in the top of your bottles. Keeping it in the fridge stops it from starting to ferment.

Pasteurising your Bottled Juice

Bring the juice out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature. Sterilise glass bottles or preserving jars and their lids in boiling water or by putting them in the oven with the lids off for 30 minutes at 60C.  Glass juice jars from the supermarket with rubber lined metal screw lids are ideal but you can also successfully use plastic soft drink bottles with plastic screw caps. If you are using plastic bottles sterilise them with sterilising agent used for home brewing.

Fill the jars or bottles with the juice, leaving at least 2.5cm head space in each one because the juice expands when you cook it.  Leaving the lids off, place the jars or bottles into a wide deep pot on the stove and fill it with water at least ¾ of the way up the bottles. Heat the water gently to 75C then hold it there for 30 minutes.  Put a clean thermometer into the jar or bottle in the middle of the pot and if the juice has reached at least 74C then the natural yeasts and bacteria that would start fermenting should no longer be present.

Remove the bottles and sit on a wooden chopping board, not on a cold bench or they will crack. Have the lids or seals sitting in a pot of boiling water. Drain the lids, screw the lids on while hot and leave to cool down. Any metal lids that don’t indent to form a seal put in the fridge and consume within a week. Make sure bottles are well rinsed on the outside before storage or mould will develop on the outside of bottles from any juice residue.

These bottles will store unrefrigerated in a cool pantry or shelf for up to a year.

Blends of Juices

Experiment with juice blends using your press. You may have apple as your base and add small quantity of another stronger flavoured juice such as feijoa, blackcurrant or boysenberry and taste prior to heat treating your juice. Mix small quantities first to establish a ratio of apple to other juice that suits your taste before mixing up all your juice. If you have a sweet desert apple, mixing in ¼ of crab apple or quince juice gives a nice sharpness and a lovely colour to your juice.

pasteurising apple juice
The finished product – will store for a year on the shelf (not in the sun, but it looks pretty for the photo)

 

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84 comments

  1. Hi thanks for the above recipe. I work on an orchard and have ready access to apples. Normally I freeze my apple juice in plastic bottles each season, and just thaw a bottle as required. When juicing I add a little bit of lemon juice which holds the colour. However freezer space is limited at the moment so am keen to try out your recipe. cheers. Julie

    1. Well, no shortage of apples then. The lemon juice would act the same as the Vit. C in the recipe to preserve the colour and the finished product. I’d encourage you to try the recipe to save on your freezer space. Cheerio. Heather

  2. Hi – I’m a preserve maker (I sell them to fundraise for charity) and need apple juice for my jelly recipes. I have stored it in freezers in the past but now have no room so would be really interested in bottling. Here’s my problem….I have a large collection of empty glass bottles with metal screw caps that previously had either white wine vinegar or cider vinegar in. I use a proper fruit steamer to extract the fruit juice – it has a spout which you attach a plastic tube to and this allows you to syphon off boiling hot juice from the collection chamber. The recipe book for the steamer tells me this juice is sterilised due to the high temperature at which it is extracted and I was wondering if I could store my fruit juices in these used bottles. If so, do I still need to add anything to preserve the juice and do I still need to boil the bottles in a pan? The juice isn’t for drinking but has to be stored for months at a time for use in making mint jelly, hot chilli jelly and rosehip jelly. I would be really grateful for your advice.

    1. Hi Maura, sounds like a great project. I use recycled glass bottles with metal screw caps – just sterilise the bottles by heating gently in the oven and pour boiling water over the lids and let them sit in it for a while before draining and using. I haven’t used a steam juicer but I would imagine that you’ll still need to add citric acid to the juice to preserve it. Hope that is useful. Heather

      1. Aside from citric acid Sir. what more could be use as preservative for pure fruit juice that doesn’t harm the human body?

    2. Hi Maura, I also have a steam juicer and used it for years, I do apple, pear, plum and grape juice, when it is in the middle pot to syphon off I add some of our organic raw honey to sweeten which makes it a concentrate then I use Barkers glass bottles which I fill with boiling water from my kettle, tip this out then put the hose into the bottle fill to over fill then wipe the top with a paper towel and place on the lid which was in a bowl of boiling water every thing is really really hot, when they are sitting on the bench you can hear a pop and the lids have sealed down, when we open the juice we put some in a glass and add some fizzy water or fizzy water kefir, even the hardened shop soda kid, teenager loves this fizzy drink. We have never had a bottle go off when opened lasts for weeks in the fridge and have never added any thing else to the juice, good luck.

      1. Fabulous comment Maura, thank you so much for sharing the detail of your method. Where did you get your steam juicer – I’m interested to learn more about these devices.

  3. Hello Heather,
    I have recently moved to an area where cashew is grown on large scales but the the farmers always concentrate on the nut and leave the fruit to rot. have always had in mind of doing something with the cashew fruit and juice and i hope this method can be used to extract the juice and preserve it.
    thanks

    1. Oh how cool, I’d love to hear how you get on with that. I’ve always wondered what the “fruit bit” of the cashew would be like for cooking. Would love to see some photos of your efforts – even of the fruit. Heather

    2. Yeah. right sir. Kashew is a good source for wines.

  4. Hi – I would like to try making verjuice from crab apples. Would to fruit juice method produce a good result? I imagine that crab apples don’t have much sugar in them anyway which would discourage fermentation

    1. Hi Lorraine, yes the method would work to preserve the fruit juice from the crab apples. They have a surprising amount of sugar in them, especially when ripe, so you will need to pasteurize them.

  5. I also have a steam extractor and juiced the grapes from an over abundant crop this year. The steam extraction process does sterilise the juice but any pulp needs to be completely removed as I found some of it floats and then moulds really quickly. Vit C added and then Camden tablets to seal the deal. I’m debating the potassium sorbate but I want to avoid it. Currently refridgerated to help it settle again and let the Camden tabs take effect, can take up to 48 hours, then off for bottling. I want to leave it unsweetened to add to other things and it is intensely grape as the steam extraction removes water, concentrating the juice quite a lot. Considering these were pulled off the vines to stop them rotting, hornets got into the greenhouse and damaged a lot of the fruit, I’m up for any comments and advice to save the crop. I did remove all of the rotten and suspect fruit and washed them thoroughly. The grapes were two varieties, one sweet and seeded and the other seedless and quite sour.

    1. I like the sound of your steam extractor Denise. I’ve never had a go with one of those. Sounds like it produces a very concentrated product which would be perfect as a base for all sorts of things. I’ve only used the Vit C. not Camden tablets when pasteurizing my juices but I have used the Camden tablets in wine making where you’re not heating the juice to kill the bugs. If you’re cooking the juice you might not need it or the potassium sorbate. Sounds like you are on the right track letting it settle – are you going to pasteurize the bottles in a water bath before capping? Other idea for your grapes is to pop them in a dehydrator and make some raisins.

  6. Hi, I would love to use the same methods u listed here to make juice from hibiscus flower extract, is it going to be possible, and must you use a bottle instead of used plastic

    1. Well you’ve got me there. I’ve never worked with Hibiscus flower extract. If it is diluted with water to be the same strength as fruit juice I would say yes. You can use clean plastic bottles, it’s just harder to sterilize them and some folks don’t like storing liquids in plastic due to BPA.

  7. Hi Heather,

    Thanks so much for this interesting information.
    Can this recipe work for both blended mango and papaya Juice? I want to preserve the juice for about a year.

    Thanks.

    Barbara

    1. Hi Barbara, I see no reason why not. I’ve recently used the same method for some plum juice cordial which was concentrated with sugar and it worked fine. I’d be keen to hear how you get on.

  8. Hi
    whats the best way of preserving and bottling mango juice for sale
    atleast to last for a year
    thanks

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I don’t have any experience of bottling juice for commercial sale sorry. Just for home consumption.

  9. I wanted to create jobs in a remote place of Haiti, I made a sugar cane mill and we boiled the juice to make syrups; due to the small volume, we don’t make money and create jobs as expected. Because sugar cane juice is very prone to fermentation, what can we do to bottle the juice and create a little industry
    thanks

    1. Hi Jean Marie, sounds like a great project. I have no experience with sugar cane juice I am afraid. I can see your problem. I suggest doing some small experiments and more research with heat treating for pasteurization.

    2. Govind bandhiya

      hii..JM
      if u have any idea to prevent fermentaion of sugar cane juice to bottling it for a month than pls suggest me.
      HAVE A GREAT TIME!

      1. Sorry I’ve never bottled sugar cane juice.

  10. i live in uganda east africa, am keen on juice preservation as a source of income i have actually done it using citric acid and potassium sorbate but the juice has gone bad after two days always, i heat it to just about bpt before putting in the chemicals,please i need ur help to come up with a product that has a long shelf life like i year so that i can confidently market it, i use fruits like pineapple, passion fruits, hibiscus flower,mangoes and pawpaws. i need to know the chemicals to use , the right recipe to use and if possible hands on experience. i will be glad if i recieve a reply to my questions, bye stella in uganda.

    1. Hi Stella, thanks for your question. How lucky you are to have such beautiful tropical fruit. Try using ascorbic acid (vitamin C) powder and the pectolase enzyme, do a small batch using the water bath pasteurization method above in our blog and see how you get on. Make sure it is just the juice you are using, no pulp, and that the bottles and lids are heat sterilized before you begin.

  11. Hi,
    I want to preserve the cashew apple juice for one year without adding any chemical content. Pls give me good suggestion.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I don’t have any experience with cashew apple juice I’m afraid. Perhaps try a small batch using my recipe and see if it works.
      Good luck. Heather

  12. Hi heather

    Hi, How would you suggest I do the heat process when using plastic bottles please? I fee they are safer for my young kids to enjoy/

    Health and Happiness.

    Remo Maciocia
    (scotland)

    1. Hi Remo, I understand what you’re saying. I’d do a test of some bottles of water in the water bath method I mention and see if they hold up to it. If they do then do it again with the juice. I’d like to hear how you get on. You’re not boiling so my experience is that it works using the plastic soft drink bottles. I sterilised them with home brew sterilising powder rather than heating in the oven.

  13. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for your advice. I will get back in touch once I get clear of the kids school holidays and catch back at work.

    Health and Happiness!

    Remo

  14. I am a catering and craft practice teacher in a secondary school,I am presntly teaching my students how to prepare certain fruit juices and milk drinks,I am very happy for this tips,I’d be delight to try this out.thanks abunch Regina.

  15. hi there i wonder if this could work for pineapple juice too. where can i order pectolase enzyme to preserve it. i read that only works for fermentation. someone can help me?

    1. Hi Diego, I’m not sure if it would work for pineapple juice I get pectolase enzyme at my local home brewing supply store. Would like to hear how you go with it.

  16. i want help to preserve my sugarcane juice . any suggestion

    1. Hi Chrissy, Lucky you to have sugarcane juice. I have no experience of this so I’m afraid I can’t offer any assistance to you.

  17. Hi,thanks for the knowledge you shared. Thanks again. Please I need help on this,
    I want to preserve coconut water at least for 6months without losing it natural taste. Thanks

    1. Hi Dawn, I’m not sure how to preserve coconut water I’m sorry. Let me know if you find out – sounds interesting.

  18. MOHAMMED BASHIRUMOHAMMED

    THANKS A LOT FOR THE EDUCATION

  19. Hello thank you so much for this article it is so helpful.
    I am starting my own fruit juice company but I am starting out from home and my focus is more on an indigenous fruit which is not known at all, however it has a lot of sugar concentration in it. I would like to inquire on whether this method applies to all fruits and further what equipment does one have to invest on in creating or manufacturing their own commercialized fruit juice.

    1. Hi Kabi, I’m sorry I can’t advise on commercial fruit juice production or varieties of fruit I haven’t worked with. I just know what is working for the fruit I grow.

  20. Hi Heather,

    Thank you for the info in the article. I am just wondering if you have any exp in fruit infused water that leaves the fruit inside the bottle when preparing to preserve?

    I understand that this method you can use the water canning pan.. would this work for me when trying to seal and preserve water with fruit pieces still inside the bottle.

    Thanks
    Robbie

    1. Hi Robbie, so you’re basically canning fruit in water but perhaps a bit more water than normal if fruit preservation was the goal. I don’t have experience on that one Robbie but I’m picking that if you have a high water to fruit ratio you are going to need a preservative. Normally if you’re canning fruit in water you have a high fruit to water ratio and the sugar in the fruit is sufficient preservative. Hope that makes sense.

  21. Hi.Heather
    Thanks For the article can i use the same process to preserve strawberry juice?

    1. Hi Paul, I’ve never tried Strawberry juice but I don’t see why not. Let me know how you get on.

  22. Hi Heather, thx a lot for your generosity! Please advice me on the right additives to preserve banana juice for at least 3 months in polythene bags using a heat sealer machine.How can I sterilize the polythene bags? Thanks

    1. Sorry Douglas, I can’t help you with that one. I’ve never used polythene bags for juice storage.

  23. bakke allan joel

    hi heather
    i want to try out pineaple juice.
    procedure is water,pineapple ,heat then later add sugar and a little tea leaves.
    advise on how best i can package this for a longer shelflife.
    any additives?
    How can i avoid molding ?
    Colour is brown as locally brewed in my local town packed in polythen.
    looking forward to making a better pack in plastic bottles.
    thank you
    joel

    1. Hi Joel, I haven’t tried pineapple juice preserving. Why add sugar when so sweet already. Try my method in the blog with pectolase and vitamin C. Tea leaves will be making it go brown but perhaps add nice flavour?

  24. Juice making is my passion, I make fresh juices and supply to my customers which is meant to be consume within a day or two. I mostly add lemon juice for preservation. I’m so much interested in preservation model but how easy is it to find vitamin c powder and pectolase enzyme? If the juice settle after adding natural additives does it requires straining again?
    Thank you.

    1. I let it settle after the pectolase added before bottling – this gets rid of most sediment Isaac – there is some sediment in juice bottles but not a lot. Vit C powder and pectolase enzyme are quite easy to find here in NZ.

  25. Hi! Can i use the same process in any other fruits?

    1. HI, I’ve used it with apple, pear, feijoa and berry blends so yes you could try other juices. Let us know what ones work for you.

  26. Hi, i like juicing and am soon starting to expriment with a little batch.my worry is that i have citric acid not vitamin c and i dont know how much to put in every litre of juice.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Alex, I use citric acid sometimes too – you can be a bit more generous with it but it will alter the flavour and make your juice sharper so taste your way.

  27. Thanks sir. I really learn a lot from it.. Sir. Am currently carying out a reserch on how to make fresh watermelon juice for commecial use. Sir. How can I preseve it for atleast 1yr??.. I will be grateful if you reply my coment.
    Thanks. Emmaben “Nigeria”

    1. Hi Emmaben, thanks for your question. I’m sorry I don’t have any experience with watermelon juice. Good luck with your project.

  28. Opara Febechukwu Chinonyerem

    I wish to produce Hibiscus flower juice of different flavors such as banana, pineapple, apple, chocolate and milk flavor. will this method work in preserving it, especially the milk flavor?

    1. Hello Opara, that sounds interesting but I am sorry I have no experience of Hibiscus flower juice. I wouldn’t recommend the preserving method for any product that is not 100% fruit juice.

  29. how do I preserve fruit juice using citric acid and sodium benzoate.there is no vitamin c or any of the other alternatives where I stay.I plan to use plastic bottles as that is what’s available.considering apple juice,pineapple, grapes and strawberries and not forgetting oranges and lemons.
    can you also advise on preserving smoothies of the above?

    1. Hi Brenton, thanks for your comment. I have no experience of sodium benzoate. I wouldn’t try and preserve smoothies either – too much fiber in them to carry fermenting enzymes and bacteria. Sorry I’m not much help to you on that one.

  30. Can I use beer bottles with metal caps that snap on with machine

    1. Yes Theresa, that would work as long as all are sterilized and the juice is properly prepared and pasteurized so it doesn’t ferment in the bottle.

  31. Hi,
    Am into kombucha production but having challenges in stoping fermetation as it keeps growing scoby at the top of the liquid.
    Please how best can i stop the bottled kombucha from further fermet.As well as what are the best preservatives you would recommend .
    Regards

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I don’t have any experience preserving Kombucha but being a natural fermented product it is going to want to keep fermenting unless it is refrigerated. I wouldn’t recommend any preservatives for your Kombucha – I’d recommend making small batches and drinking it fresh and alive so you get all those probiotic goodies.

  32. hey thanks for the healthy tip but two questions can this be done for any local fruit juice?
    and does the plastic bottle need to be a specific thickness so that it won`t burn?

    1. Hi BK, thanks for your comment. I’ve not tried it with all fruits so I can’t answer that one. I prefer to use glass. If you’re going to use plastic I’d suggest doing a trial run with water-filled bottles to make sure your vessels aren’t going to melt in the hot water.

  33. Hi Heather, Thanks for sharing your ideas. I have problem finding Pectinase Enzyme in my locality and somebody is having but not food grade Pectinase Enzyme. Is it possible to preserve juice or syrup only with Vitamin C (Asboric Acid) powder. Please let me know.

    1. Yes Nathan, the Pectinase enzyme helps clear the juice and settle it so you may get a cloudier result but as long as you heat treat it to sterilise properly and use the Vit. C. it will be fine.

  34. Have the lids or seals sitting in a pot of boiling water. Drain the lids, screw the lids on while hot and leave to cool down. Any metal lids that don’t indent to form a seal put in the fridge and consume within a week. Make sure bottles are well rinsed on the outside before storage or mould will develop on the outside of bottles from any juice residue.Please i dont understand the above statement,can u please explain more ?

    1. Hi Emmanuel, just to make sure the lids are sealed properly so no air gets in.

  35. Nice write up, what’s the highest duration of time a juice can be stored?

    1. Thanks Chistel, I’ve stored it for up to a year – basically until the next harvest but one of the commenters, Bob, has stored it for 20 years – hope he shares his method.

  36. Hi,
    I am wondering if you have any idea on maximum shelf life for home bottled apple juice? I am still drinking juice that I bottled almost 20 years ago…call me crazy but in my opinion this stuff tastes better every year!

    1. Wow Charlie, I’d love to try some of that – you’ve set a new course record. 20 years! What method did you use and its not fermented into wine by any chance is it? I’ve had some fine 50 year old cider once that was just delicious.

  37. Hi Heather. thanks for this article.
    may i know what i should do to preserve my apple and carrot blend for about a month? Because your article says to consume the juice within a week.

  38. Wow, just got my self absorbed in reading this post. I have not ventured into juice making. All we do is blend our fruits and consume the juice in a day. However I have experimented several tropical juices to make wine. Now that my mangoes are just starting to fruit, am sure we will really have a nice time trying juice making and preservation with my little ones at home. Thanks Heather and everyone for your posts.

    1. Yum. I wish I could grow mangoes. I hope you have fun with preserving some of the juice.

  39. I was just wondering if it would still work if I heated the juice in a pot for the same amount of time and temperature and put the hot juice in the sterilised bottles after heating? Thanks

    1. I don’t think so May as they would lose heat possibly and the bottles may not be so sterilised. It would certainly save some time as it takes a long time to heat them. Maybe if you try heating the juice and doing it this way let us know if you have success – I would be interested.

  40. Please I have Mango fruits wasting away without preservation, I will be happy if you tell me the ingredients to preserve them for at lease one year. Thanks.

    1. Sorry, I haven’t tried preserving mango juice. Perhaps try a small batch using the ingredients recommended and let us know if you have success.

  41. what can I use in preserving a mango juice

    1. Try the recipe given and let us know if it works – would love to have enough mangoes to preserve the juice – lucky you.

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