Fruit is supposed to be considered a healthy food. But when manufacturers juice these luscious fruits, many of them cut corners in the name of profit. They treat the juice with heat to extend their shelf-life, often for up to years at a time once bottled. This process is known as pasteurization.
But fruits weren’t meant to last for years – there’s nothing natural about that timeline. So is there another option that’s healthier & safer for you to drink? There sure is. At Raw Juicery, all of our juices are unpasteurized. Instead, we cold press all of our juices and treat them with High Pressure Processing (HPP), eliminating the need for thermal pasteurization.
But how do the two compare: pasteurized juice vs. unpasteurized juice? We’re going to look at the fundamental differences between the two, their impact on flavor, nutritional preservation, safety, shelf life, and sustainability. From there, you’ll be able to determine which is the healthier & safer option for you.
What is Unpasteurized Juice?
Unpasteurized juice is juice that has not undergone the process of pasteurization. It’s more commonly known as “raw juice,” hence our Raw Juicery name. And instead of subjecting fresh, organic fruits to high heat treatment, we opt to cold-press them instead.
There are several methods to produce unpasteurized juice, some of which include hydraulic pressing or grinding. We use HPP, which helps retain the natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and flavors present in the fruit. Compared to pasteurized juice, the end product is much closer to its raw, natural state.
Because of this, many people believe that unpasteurized juice is fresher in flavor and more vibrant in color. The absence of heat treatment helps preserve the natural taste and aroma of the fruits, providing a more authentic and enjoyable drinking experience. This is because it has a more pronounced nutritional profile, thanks to the preservation of enzymes and other heat-sensitive nutrients like Vitamin C and Vitamins B1 & B5.
It’s important to note that unpasteurized juice carries a higher risk of containing harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, or Campylobacter. These bacteria can be present on the surface of fruits or introduced during the juicing process. Therefore, it is crucial to handle and store unpasteurized juice properly to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.
However, at Raw Juicery, this is a non-issue. After bottling the juices, they’re treated with intense pressure in a cold environment (HPP), effectively vaporizing potential pathogens that could make you sick. The beauty of HPP is that the cold pressure leaves the delicate molecular structure of the fruits intact, only destroying the bacteria.
What is Pasteurized Juice?
Pasteurized juice is quite simply, juice that has undergone the process of pasteurization, a heat treatment process that involves heating the juice to a specific temperature for a set period of time and then rapidly cooling it down. This process helps eliminate, or at the very least, reduce the presence of harmful bacteria, pathogens, and microorganisms that may be present in raw fruits or introduced during the juicing process.
Most people have likely never considered the production process of their fruit juices, outside of the added sugars. And for good reason, pasteurization isn’t a commonly used term. The primary objective of pasteurization is to ensure the safety of the juice by killing or inactivating bacteria and other potential contaminants. Pasteurized juice undergoes heat treatment to destroy pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, which can cause foodborne illnesses.
The juice is heated to a temperature range of 160-185°F (71-85°C) for a short duration, anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. This heat treatment significantly reduces the microbial load in the juice without compromising its nutritional value to a “great” extent.
And while it may kill bacteria, it also kills the nutritional value of the raw fruit itself.
By pasteurizing juice, companies are able to 1) reduce their operating costs and 2) extend the shelf life. Pasteurized juice can be stored in a refrigerated state for several weeks or even months, depending on the specific product and packaging.
Because of the intense heat, the flavor, color, and even scent of unpasteurized juice are not at all similar to the raw version, nor is the nutritional composition. Manufacturers must add tons of artificial sugars & sweeteners to recreate the raw, original form. On top of that, the heat kills many of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that make the fruit so valuable to your health.
Despite this, pasteurized juice is still largely the staple at grocery stores and among many juice cleanse brands. Why? The answer is quite simple really – it’s cheaper to produce.
Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized Juices: How Do They Compare?
We’ve lightly covered some of the flavor and nutritional differences between the two types of juices. But your health is no light matter, so we put together a comprehensive comparison between the two – let’s take a look.
Flavor & Quality
One of the key aspects that sets pasteurized and unpasteurized juices apart is their flavor profile. Unpasteurized juices are fresher, more vibrant, and more naturally-tasting than their pasteurized counterparts. The absence of heat treatment helps preserve the natural flavors and aromas of the fruits, resulting in a more authentic and enjoyable drinking experience. The only way that manufacturers are able to mimic the taste & smell of raw juice is by adding dozens of grams of artificial sweeteners.
Nutritional preservation is another crucial factor to consider when comparing pasteurized and unpasteurized juices. Unpasteurized juices are often touted for their potential higher nutritional content. The absence of heat treatment helps retain the natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals present in the fruits. Some proponents argue that raw juices may offer a more potent concentration of nutrients, particularly heat-sensitive ones.
On the other hand, pasteurization can cause a slight reduction in the concentration of certain heat-sensitive nutrients, such as vitamin C and some enzymes. However, it is important to note that the nutrient loss during pasteurization is generally minimal and does not significantly impact the overall nutritional value of the juice. Additionally, pasteurized juices still provide a valuable source of essential vitamins and minerals.
Ultimately, the nutritional content of both pasteurized and unpasteurized juices is influenced by factors such as the quality and ripeness of the fruits used, the juicing process, and the storage conditions.
Safety is, of course, the most important aspect to consider when consuming anything, including fruit juices. Unpasteurized juices carry a higher risk of containing harmful bacteria, which can be present on the surface of fruits or introduced during the juicing process. Consuming unpasteurized juice poses a greater risk of foodborne illnesses, especially for individuals with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, young children, and the elderly.
On the other hand, pasteurization effectively eliminates, or at least significantly reduces the presence of harmful bacteria and pathogens in the juice. The heat treatment ensures that the juice is safe for consumption by reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Pasteurized juices are generally considered safer, making them a preferred choice for those concerned about food safety.
Shelf life is an important consideration for both consumers and juice companies. Unpasteurized juices, due to their raw and untreated nature, have a shorter shelf life compared to pasteurized juices. However, our raw, unpasteurized juices have a shelf life of 30-80 days as long as they’re kept refrigerated. The low temperature keeps bacteria at bay.
With little to no bacteria in the bottle after heat treatment, unpasteurized juices generally have a longer shelf life, up to 12 months in some cases. Pasteurized juices can be safely stored in a refrigerated state for several weeks or even months, depending on the specific product and packaging.
Sustainability is an increasingly important consideration for most consumers. When comparing the two, unpasteurized juice is the clear winner. The process of cold-pressing or juicing fresh fruits for unpasteurized juice production requires far less energy compared to the pasteurization process used for commercial juice production. Plus, if you’re as cognisant of what you consume as we are, you’d likely prefer to consume raw, minimally-processed foods as part of an environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyle.Unpasteurized juice stands as a testament to what Mother Nature intended: raw, untouched flavor. At Raw Juicery, we embrace the health benefits that these juices provide. Unpasteurized juice, with its full-bodied flavor and nutrient-rich profile, is not just a drink; it's a lifestyle choice for those who value vitality and authenticity. Your body, and our planet, will thank you.