Smoothies are a busy person’s best friend.
Since smoothies are so quick and easy to make, they can be an excellent snack or meal for when you’re on the go. But how long do smoothies last – in the fridge, out of the fridge, in the freezer? And how best to store smoothies?
This guide will go over how long smoothies last, how you can store smoothies, and how to tell if a smoothie has gone bad.
Let’s get into it…
How Long do Smoothies Last out of the Fridge?
Out of the fridge, a smoothie is good for at least a day, but will deteriorate in quality fairly quickly.
It will begin to separate (which can be remedied by stirring it before drinking), change colour (ex: turning brown from oxidization), change taste (ex: banana taste becoming stronger, less of a “fresh” taste), and become warm and unappetizing.
So, if you want to make a smoothie in the morning and then take it with you to work to drink later in the day, that should be fine – just give it a good shake or stir before drinking.
On the other hand, if you want to take a smoothie on a road trip or camping trip without refrigeration, that’s probably not the best idea – a warm, separated smoothie really isn’t appetizing at all, especially if it has dairy in it.
You can help the smoothie maintain its quality throughout an unrefrigerated day by initially blending it with frozen ingredients to slow down the warming and oxidation process as it sits out of the fridge.
Some other tips for making a smoothie that can last better outside of the fridge:
- Avoid banana – banana is particularly prone to oxidation, meaning a smoothie with banana is more likely to turn brown in colour more rapidly than a smoothie without banana. The taste of banana (especially over-ripe banana) also becomes more and more prominent as the smoothie loses freshness.
- Avoid dairy – warm milk is very unappetizing. Smoothies with a water or juice base will hold up better than smoothies with milk and/or yogurt in them.
- Blend it well – especially with potentially grainy ingredients like leafy greens, you want to make sure that the smoothie is well blended and all ingredients are fully incorporated to reduce separation over time.
But, of course, a smoothie will be much better if you can pop it in a fridge…
How Long do Smoothies Last in the Fridge?
In the fridge, a smoothie will last around 1-3 days without going bad and with little change. However, as time goes on…
- the colour might change
- the taste might change
- the texture might change
Smoothies last longer in the fridge than out of the fridge because the colder temperature reduces the oxidation and breakdown of ingredients, and the growth of microbes.
However, how long a smoothie will last in the fridge depends heavily on how you store it. Clean, airtight containers will reduce exposure to air and bacteria.
To maintain the quality of the smoothie as much as possible when storing in the fridge, use the same tips as listed earlier (use frozen ingredients, avoid banana, blend well).
Can You Freeze Smoothies?
You can definitely freeze smoothies – this is perhaps the best way to store smoothies.
In the freezer, blended smoothies can last several months, or even indefinitely, really. Freezing effectively halts the processes that can result in rotting, molding, or “going bad.”
You will want to make sure the smoothie is being stored in an airtight container so as to reduce any freezer burn. While it won’t go bad per se, the longer you keep the smoothie stored in the freezer, the more likely it is to develop freezer burn and oxidation.
Note: be careful with glass storage containers as the smoothie may expand as it freezes and crack the glass if it is filled too much.
Upon thawing, be sure to give the smoothie a thorough stir, shake, or quick blend in the blender, and then drink it right away. One it is defrosted, the smoothie will resume any spoilage/deterioration processes as usual (freezing halts these processes temporarily, but does not prevent them from resuming as temperature warms up).
Aside from freezing smoothies/smoothie leftovers for storage purposes, if you are freezing smoothies as a way of prepping ahead, it might be a better idea to simply freeze the ingredients of the smoothie ahead of time and then just toss them in the blender and actually blend the smoothie closer to the time you want to drink it.
See this post for how to freeze bananas for smoothies.
Do Frozen Smoothies Lose Nutrients?
Freezing smoothies may lose some nutrients (over time), but not enough to be worried about; the nutrient-content of frozen foods remains nearly comparable to fresh foods, especially when frozen at their peak nutritional state.
Freezing foods is an excellent way of storing food while maintaining most of the food’s nutrients, flavour, and appearance.
How do You Know if a Smoothie Has Gone Bad?
Some indications that a smoothie has gone bad include:
- Any development/signs of mold
- Odd appearance/texture: a really off colour or discolouration, or a slimy or chunky consistency.
- Odd smell: you know what you put in the smoothie, so if any smell stands out to you as funky or odd, perhaps an ingredient has gone bad.
- Odd taste: if you go ahead and give it a taste and it tastes off or funky or strangely sour/sweet/bitter, it has likely gone bad.
Basically, anything you wouldn’t want to drink, especially keeping in mind how long ago the smoothie was originally blended, what ingredients you put in, how ripe the ingredients were when you put them in, and how it was stored (seal and temperature).
That concludes this guide on how to store smoothies and how long smoothies last in the fridge, out of the fridge, and in the freezer. I hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comments below!