What’s bottled juice all about?

bottles of juice

Store-bought juices vs. fresh raw juices.

“Store-bought” juices are those which most of us are familiar with and are marketed to us under big brand names. The majority of these also contain added sugars. Even though some are refrigerated, they have still been processed in a way that destroys the natural enzymes that were at once inherent in the juice. But, did you know that even some juices which are usually marketed as fresh pressed (1) on the store shelves also no longer contain their natural enzymes? Yet, there are “fresh pressed” juices that if not pasteurized have undergone a treatment called “High Pressure Processing (HPP)”.

HPP is a processing step that extends shelf life and kills at least 99.999% of the microorganisms in juice.

How can you know the difference?

Fresh juices that are raw and have not been HPP processed (or pasteurized) are still in their natural, raw state (with living enzymes) and they must have an FDA required label if stored on a shelf. The FDA labeling currently reads as such:

“WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.” https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-juice-safety

Fresh raw juice cannot just sit on a shelf because it has a “due date”. It will sour or ferment when past due. If you are purchasing from a reputable company, they have taken all precautions to properly clean the produce (fruits and vegetables) prior to bottling it for sale. Their reputation is on the line and the health department will know of their failures. For this reason, you are most likely to get fresh raw juices from juice bars where the juice has either been made fresh that day or made to order.

I prefer, and recommend fresh raw juices.

Fresh raw juices are truly a delight. Due to the higher price of purchasing fresh raw juices , I prefer to make juice in my own home using a juicing machine. This way I can be sure that the juices I’m drinking still have all the living enzymes intact – which lends to added energy for our family when we drink them this way. The live enzymes in fresh raw juices also aid in digestion especially when consumed with meals.

If you must purchase pasteurized juices, please make sure that these bottled juices do not contain added sugar. Because without the live enzymes, our bodies process these juices in a different way that raises your insulin levels.

Bottled juices that can be purchased:

  • Trader Joes’ Carrot Juice – HPP treated. I don’t think they have any fresh, raw juices in the store.
  • Whole Food’s Market – Most sell both. Raw fresh juices from their fresh juice counters and also in the produce section on the shelf which are most likely HPP. Just remember to check labeling.
  • Central Market – I assume they have both, I’ve definitely found fresh raw juices in the produce section.
  • Juice Bars – check labeling and ask the company questions.

(1) How are fresh pressed juices made? First the produce is ground up into pulp, then the juice is slowly extracted by pressing the pulp under thousands of pounds of pressure. Most home juicers are either centrifugal or slow-masticating. Click here for more information about the different types of juicers.