What's the best way to freeze green juice?
May 5, 2013 1:33 PM   Subscribe

I make a big batch of green juice each weekend and freeze it to enjoy throughout the week. The taste is fine, but I miss the velvety texture of fresh juice. Mine freezes into layers and, when defrosted, is more "water with a lot of pulp" than juice.

The juice I make is fairly standard-- celery, leafy greens, apples, lemons, ginger, etc. I use an Omega 8004 and freeze in quart size Mason jars with plastic lids. I bring a frozen jar with me to work every day and it is usually ready in the early afternoon.

I'm wondering if there is something I could add to the juice, or a different way of freezing it, to make the texture better. I have an ice cream maker, and have also thought about flash freezing.
posted by acidic to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure you NEED to freeze it. One week isn't all that long.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Try freezing it in small quantities in ziploc bags - squeeze out any air and lay each bag flat on a baking sheet in your freezer. The aim is to get the stuff to freeze as rapidly as possible, so that there's less time for things to freeze at different rates and separate.
posted by pipeski at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is fairly obvious but you don't address it in your question: have you tried vigorously shaking the defrosted juice in the jars to resuspend the pulp and re-aerate it? I also suspect that part of the problem of the defrosted juice not having the same mouthfeel is that the aeration from the initial blending is lost as the pulp settles and the air bubbles dissipate. I'm no expert on food science but the solution to your question can become complicated as some of the additives in many processed foods is to manipulate mouthfeel and texture.
posted by scalespace at 1:51 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

To expand on the final thought, there is a lot of pectin in apples and you say that you add lemon juice, which can provide the acidity to cause the pectin to gel up. You may consider gently heating the juice to activate the pectin. In effect, you're making a "green juice" jelly. One downside is that the heating of the juice can result in a "cooked" taste. You'll have to experiment to get good results.

Here's a resource on using pectin to gel sauces & jellys.
posted by scalespace at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2013

I've never been able to freeze juice that I made satisfactorily and have them feel the same at the end. Some are worse than others (watermelon is the puts, carrot is not so bad). So I'd also suggest not freezing as a first option, but also maybe using frozen chunks (use ice cube trays) as the base for some sort of other-liquid based smoothie with skim milk or even silken tofu and/or protein powder if you're into that sort of thing. Tossing it back in the blender with something else will help it re-emulsify. You can also strain it before you freeze it to get the foam and veggie bits out of it but that's decreasing the amount of veggies in your drink.
posted by jessamyn at 2:06 PM on May 5, 2013

I'm not sure you NEED to freeze it. One week isn't all that long.

This isn't a food safety issue. Green juice deteriorates rapidly at room temp or in the fridge. It's nasty after a day, I can't imagine how bad it would taste after a week in the fridge.
posted by acidic at 2:30 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

How rapidly? Could you use an ice cream maker? It takes under 30 minutes to freeze. The mixing motion constantly exposes it to the low temp of the bowl and keeps it from separating, but also introduces air into the mix. I don't know if it's the temp or the air that you are concerned about.
posted by rakaidan at 5:14 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could use the juice to make a smoothie by adding a banana and some ice. This would restore the silky texture and give it some extra oomph. Could you bring a blender to work to whizz it up?
posted by Youremyworld at 8:35 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came to suggest you treat it like icecream, but rakaidan beat me to it. That weird texture is a consequence of different parts of the juice freezing at different temperature, as well as water inside the fibrous parts of the juice forming large crystals that lacerate and damage the fibres, causing them to break up and lose firmness. An icecream maker (or even just treating it like icecream - open fridge every ten minutes, shake jar, put back in freezer, repeat until frozen - will help preserve at least some of the texture.
posted by Jilder at 11:54 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

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