How many times have you made a smoothie and then realized you made too much? Or maybe you’ve decided to make a few servings in one go to save some time. And then you come back the next day and instead of a sweet, refreshing snack you’ve got a lot of brown ick. Yeah, me too.
Fear not, fellow smoothie lovers! You can totally save smoothies in the fridge for at least a day or so without it mutating on you. If you stick it in the freezer you can save it even longer.
See, the problem with your smoothies is they’re oxidizing. All that means is they’re being exposed to air and the chemical properties are reacting to it and breaking down. This causes the fruit and veggies to lose nutritional value and eventually decompose.
And decomposing smoothies aren’t exactly what we’re hoping for when we want a healthy snack. What we really want is to reach in the fridge and grab something fresh and tasty, right?
The solution is to prevent your stored smoothies from being exposed to the air for too long. You can then store your extra smoothies in the fridge or freezer and avoid wasting time and ingredients.
How do you do that, though? Sit tight and keep reading for all the details on perfectly stored smoothies below.
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How to Store Smoothies in the Fridge the Right Way
You’ll want to start with a glass container with a lid that seals well. Ball mason jars are great choices, as the glass is thick and made for preservation and the lids seal well, not to mention the fact they have large mouths to make pouring easier.
Now that you’ve got your jars ready, you want to fill them up as close to the top of the glass as possible. Remember what I said earlier about air oxidizing your smoothies and turning them into blob monsters? The same happens if you trap air in the jar with your smoothie, so pour slowly!
Once you’ve got your jar as full as you can make it, you’ve got a few of options:
- You could slap a lid on it, stick it in the fridge, and call it done until you get ready to drink it.
- Add some lemon or lime juice to the top of the smoothie. A little extra vitamin C never hurt, and it slows that pesky oxidizing stuff. If you want, you could also add this in during the blending process. If you forget, though, just add it now. No big.
- Stir in some gum thickener. When you store your smoothies the different components may very well separate. You can give it a stir or shake and it’ll be fine. If you don’t want to deal with that, though, xanthan gum is a great little addition that will help keep everything mixed well. Just use around ¼ teaspoon to start out. If you want to use more later do so, but a little bit does a lot.
When storing in the fridge, you’re normally guaranteed anywhere from 1-3 days before a smoothie starts turning. Once your smoothie starts looking brown or develops a smell, it’s best to toss it.
Storing Smoothies in the Freezer
If you want to store extra smoothies for longer than a day or so, you’re going to want to make use of your freezer. This is best for large batches of pre-mixed smoothies. If you’re going to be prepping for a week or more, freezing is going to be your best bet to keeping everything as fresh as possible.
You do need to plan a bit more when you freeze your smoothies though. Unlike the fridge, you can’t just grab and go. Thawing takes a bit of time, so you need to do some planning ahead.
As before with storing in the fridge, you do need to take some things into consideration when storing smoothies in the freezer:
Choose freezer safe, air tight containers. Not every container is going to withstand low temperatures well, so you want to make sure it won’t crack on you. Freezer burn is also a concern, so you want to be doubly sure you won’t go to pull out a snack only to find it’s ruined. Try either a freezer safe mason jar or a set of these cute shatterproof juice bottles from Amazon.
You can also choose to freeze your smoothies in the form of ice cubes. This is a great choice for freezing smaller amounts of smoothie, and will allow for quicker defrosting. Tip: If you want to give it a quick turn in the blender after you take it out of the freezer, having it frozen in smaller pieces will make it easier.
Ziploc bags are another good option to consider. For those that don’t have a ton of room for storing larger containers in your freezer, you can use freezer Ziplocs to store them flat on a shelf. If you’re not crazy about spending a ton on single-use plastic baggies that you’re just going to toss, the rainforest will love it if you use these reusable bags from Amazon. Should you go this route, line a sturdy container with the bag before pouring to avoid spills.
If you’re feeling frisky, get some popsicle molds and make a few smoothie pops. This is a great way to use that extra smoothie mix if you’re looking to switch things up. If you have littles running around the house or visiting regularly, it would make a good, healthy snack for them too! (But if you want to save it for yourself instead, I’ll keep your secret.)
PROTIP: If you do choose to use a container like a freezer safe mason jar or food container, leave a bit of room in the container. When the smoothie freezes it’ll expand and you want to leave it some room to do so. Otherwise you’ll have a cracked dish in your freezer and you don’t need that damper getting in the way of your afternoon snack time.
When you get ready to take a serving of smoothie out of the freezer, either stick it in the fridge to thaw overnight or leave it on the counter to speed things up.
You could also let your smoothie thaw in the fridge for a bit, then run it through a blender for a slushier texture. This is perfect for those hot summer days.
You can freeze smoothies for at least three months before they start getting questionable. I’ve left them in the freezer for longer, but different freezers and different settings can make them ruin quicker. Mark the date on the container or bag that you store them in, so you can keep up with how long they’ve been in storage, just to be safe.
Mason Jar Smoothie Hack
There is one more way to use mason jars to take your smoothie prep/storage to the next level. This won’t work with all blenders, but if you have a single serve blender with a threaded blade cap, this could be a game changer.
You’ll see why:
Do Smoothies Lose Nutritional Value in the Fridge or Freezer?
In the fridge, you can lose just a bit. Oxidization still happens even when stored properly in the fridge, though much slower than if you had left it sitting on the counter. If it’s not brown and gross yet though, you haven’t lost much at all and it’s still a healthy choice full of nutritional goodness. Much better than that doughnut.
In the freezer you don’t lose nutritional benefits. Win! Freezing foods preserves them well enough that oxidization doesn’t occur like in the fridge, so those reactions that break down the fruits and veggies aren’t happening. This keeps your smoothie creations as chock full of nutrients as the day you stored it.
What If I Use Protein Powder in My Smoothie?
You’re still good! You won’t lose any of the nutritional value that you want from protein powder if you freeze it or refrigerate it. Stir it well to make sure everything blends and you don’t have any powdery lumps, and you should be good to go.
It may not be as smooth and the taste may differ a bit from a freshly made smoothie, but it’ll still be a good source of nutrition. If you’re interested inn a deeper dive, Men’s Journal has a great article on the subject.
Store All The Smoothies
Whether you choose to use your fridge or freezer, you can absolutely store smoothies safely for later. Now that you know how to store a smoothie the best way, you can start saving that extra bit after making one instead of tossing it. That’s a win any day of the week.
If you’re looking to maximize your day, and minimize time spent in the kitchen, start making larger batches to freeze. I don’t know about you, but less time in the kitchen is a good thing in my book.
Any of the above tips and tricks will definitely make sure your smoothies are fresh and chilled for a sweet snack at any time. And if you’re looking for some delicious inspiration on what to make next, check out these recipes.