Any margarita aficionado knows an authentic margarita is only as good as the lime juice it’s made with, so that begs the question: how long does fresh squeezed lime juice last?
While there’s no hard and fast rule, most bartenders will agree that once squeezed, lime juice will stay good for up to 24 hours. Research from citrus thought-leader Donny Clutterbuck suggests that lime juice peaks in flavor at around 6 hours, and then deteriorates for the next 18 hours. Some argue that lime juice is no longer usable after even 18 hours alone, while others believe the shelf life extends to 24 hours at most. After that, the juice tends to become bitter and will alter the flavor of any cocktail it’s used in. When lime juice is exposed to oxygen, the flavor and color are both changed—and so is the overall taste of your drink. That’s why bars serving the highest quality cocktails only do so with lime juice squeezed on premise. But squeezing juice can be time consuming, and after 24 hours, the process has to be repeated once again. The shelf life of lime juice doesn’t go past 24 hours.
How can bartenders and at-home cocktail connoisseurs produce the best tasting cocktails, while navigating the difficultly short shelf life of fresh lime juice? Cold-pressed lime juice provides an alternative to squeezing limes every 24 hours. By cold pressing the juice and preserving it with high pressure processing (instead of heat pasteurizing it), the shelf life is extended far past 24 hours—providing ample wiggle room to make the best cocktails, and that taste can be even better.
When comparing the shelf life of lime juice squeezed on premise with cold-pressed Twisted Alchemy lime juice, Donny Clutterbuck found that Twisted Alchemy cold-pressed lime juice lasted 5 days, compared to the 18-24 hours of traditional lime juice. While lime juice squeezed on premise deteriorates rapidly, cold-pressed lime juice has a more stable shelf life. By using high pressure processing, the juice is preserved without added preservatives, chemicals, or heat, but it maintains a stable pH and flavor for four days longer than lime juice squeezed on premise. As Donny puts it, “The benefits of these juices are I’m sure different for each bar, but there’s no debating their superior longevity.”
For more detailed information regarding Donny’s work, feel free to visit his blog at http://www.donnyclutterbuck.com/blog/.