Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How Long Does Fruit-Infused Water Last?

Published:

Updated:


Fruit-infused water, often prepared with cold water, is not just a healthy drink alternative to sugary drinks, but also a delightful way to use your favorite fruits. This great option offers numerous health benefits compared to regular water. So, how long does fruit infused water last, anyways?

It will depend a little on the type of fruit but provided that you strain it, fruit infused water from fleshy fruits will last 3 to 4 days in a container in your refrigerator, while a citrus fruit infused water will last 4 to 5 days. In a vacuum-sealed container, however, your fruit infused water can last up to 30 days. Freezing gets you the longest shelf-life, with frozen fruit infused water staying good for about 6 months and frozen, then vacuum-sealed, it could last a year or longer!

This is certainly a subject that warrants a closer look and so today we’re going to talk a little more about fruit infused water. We’ll cover how it’s made, how to increase its expected shelf life, frequently asked questions, and more!

How long does fruit infused water last? It all depends on what you do with it, so let’s take a look and you can see what we mean!

What’s in fruit infused water? Understanding it’s shelf life

three mason jars of infused water on ice and mint leaves with white background
What’s better than sparkling water? Infused sparkling water. Make your own with your own carbonation machine for sparkling water.

Whether you use hot water or cold water, adding organic fruit can significantly enhance the water taste, making it a refreshing drink. Plus, using a mason jar or a glass pitcher can be a stylish way to serve it.

If you’ve never had it before, fruit infused water is simply water that has had sliced fruits added to it for a 1 to 3 hour soak (although some like to soak the fruit overnight), so that you get strong hints of the fruit’s flavor with every sip of water that you take.

Herbs such as mint or basil are often added to perk up the flavor even more and generally the fruit to water ratio is 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of fruit for every 2 to 3 cups of water.

If you don’t like drinking plain water, this is a great way to make it more interesting and help to ensure that you properly hydrate yourself.

While you might get a little in the way of vitamins, fruit infused water is really all about flavor – you might get more vitamin content actually squeezing out the juice, but still likely not anything substantial.

The good news, however, is that since it’s a matter of leeching flavor from the fruits, it has a pretty good shelf life as far as flavored drinks go. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how long it lasts with various preservation methods, starting with standard refrigeration.

What is the best way to store fruit infused water?

While fruit infused water always tastes best when it’s fresh, you can certainly strain the fruit out and store it for later. It’s all about knowing your options!

Refrigeration

If you would like to store your infused water in the refrigerator then you’ll want to make sure to put it inside within two hours of making it. That way it won’t have a lot of exposure to outside air and you won’t have a large build-up of bacteria.

You should strain the fruit out first, although you can leave it in for up to 12 hours before the fruit will likely start to decompose – it’s your call, but it really saves time to strain it right away. After you’ve strained it, you can put it in a pitcher or an airtight container.

In a pitcher, fleshy fruit infusions will be good for 3 to 4 days, while citrus fruits will be good for 4 to 5. In an airtight container, it could be good for as long as 6 days but the flavor is really going to be best if you drink it within 2 to 3 days.

If you’re using softer fruits, it’s a good idea to shorten the infusion time, as they can impart a bitter flavor if left too long. On the other hand, harder fruits or a combination of fruit types can offer different flavor combinations and nutritional benefits.

If you would like to extend the shelf life in your refrigerator, then you could invest in a vacuum sealed container. These are specially designed containers that typically have a push button on the top that can pump out the air and create a vacuum inside of the jar. Without the air inside, the fruit infused water will not oxidize anywhere near as quickly, and you can get up to 30 days of shelf life for your homemade fruit infused water.

This FOSA Carafe set is a good example of vacuum sealed jars. This one uses a provided pump that runs on AA batteries and gets all of the oxygen out of the containers for the longest storage time in your fridge.

Freezing

You don’t need a fancy pump to store away your fruit infused water for later – you just need an ice cube tray.

This method is an easy way to preserve the essence of fruits, and you can even try different fruit combinations for each batch. Remember, for the best results, freeze the water no longer than 1-2 hours to retain the fresh taste.

One of the easiest methods of making the most out of your fruit infused water just requires that you strain the fruit out, pour the liquid into your ice cube tray, and freeze it.

This will make fruit-infused ice cubes that will taste yummy for up to 6 months, although they’re delicious enough that they seldom last that long. Word to the wise, though – you should dump the ice cubes out into a Ziploc baggie when they are frozen so that you can mark the date if you won’t be using them soon.

This will help to make sure that you don’t forget and try to use the ice cubes after the 6-month mark. They will probably be fine, but the taste will definitely be degraded after 6 months and you might not like your drink!

Vacuum sealing and freezing

For those looking for a long-term solution, like for detox water, using a fruit infuser bottle or an infusion pitcher can be a big trick. Adding elements like cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, or even fresh mint leaves can significantly enhance the flavor.

If you are making large quantities of fruit infused water then the absolute maximum shelf life may be obtained by pouring the strained fruit infused water into a ziplock baggie, freezing it, and then vacuum-sealing it and storing it in your freezer.

By freezing it first, you’ve got a solid form of your fruit infused water to work with, and that makes it possible to use any vacuum sealer to do the job. You can also do this trick with soups, salsa, and other liquids that you want to preserve and it works wonderfully.

Once it’s vacuum sealed, your fruit infused water should be good for at least a year, probably longer! Just be sure to write the date like you would with regular freezing and that will help to ensure that you don’t forget when you first sealed it.

Protip: Freeze-dried fruit for instant infused fruit water

Rather than storing fruit infused water, one alternative is to stock up on freeze dried fruits and you can make fruit infused water on-demand. When you add freeze dried fruit to water, it will rehydrate within 5 minutes, and in the process it will sweeten up your water nicely.

To give you an example, let’s look at a recipe that you can tweak that uses freeze-dried fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of freeze-dried fruit of your choice
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • 4 sprigs of mint or rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of sugar (optional, and you could also try honey instead)
  • Ice (optional)

Simply add all of these ingredients together and let it sit for about 5 minutes before giving it a sip.

It’s quick, delicious, and saves you a bit of refrigerator or freezer space, so give freeze dried fruit a try sometime for your fruit infused water – it’s a neat little flavor hack and we think you’re going to like it!

This is also a healthy way to increase your water intake. By replacing glasses of water with fruit-flavored water, you avoid extra calories and artificial flavorings, while still enjoying the stronger flavor of flavorful water.

How do you know when fruit infused water has gone bad?

With fruit infused water, as a general rule you want to remove the fruit within 12 hours of adding it, as this is about the time that it will take for it to start decomposing. If you leave the fruit inside for too long, then it starts to taste bitter and you’ll know right away that it’s gone bad.

The same really applies to strained fruit infused water. As you are basically just leeching hints of flavor from the fruit, it’s best to treat it like you would any standard beverage in your refrigerator – it should be fine for 3 to 4 days unless it’s citrus, and then you’ll get 4 to 5 before you need to throw it out.

If you notice anything odd about the smell or taste before this time has elapsed, it’s always best to err on the side of safety – just throw it out and make a fresh batch. It will taste better anyway!

FAQs

It’s almost time for us to wrap things up, but before we go we’d like to address a few frequently asked questions about fruit infused water that we thought you find useful. Let’s take a look!

Can you leave fruit-infused water on the counter with the fruit inside for infusing?

If you have just added the fruit and you are infusing it, you can leave it on the counter to infuse for up to 2 hours, or you could put it in the fridge and let it infuse for 3 to 4. If you are going to be using a recipe that calls for 12 or even 18 hours of infusion, however, then it will need to be in the refrigerator.

Letting it sit out at room temperature is an invitation for bacteria, so if you will be infusing it for more than a couple of hours, it’s best to move it into a sealed container in your refrigerator.

What can I do with leftover fruit peels and bits from infused water?

If you are making a citrus fruit infused water, then you can save the peels and even some bits of fruit and make an excellent DIY cleaner. Deanna from Homestead and Chill has an amazing recipe that you can use to turn your citrus scraps into a green cleaner that works and smells fantastic, so be sure to save those scraps and give it a try!

Can you reuse fruit to make more infused water?

Absolutely, especially if you’ve used high-quality, organic produce. However, note that the fruit’s flavor might be less intense, so it’s a good idea to supplement with fresh produce or try different fruit combinations.

Some final words on fruit infused water and it’s shelf life

In today’s article we’ve answered the question ‘how long does fruit infused water last?’ and in a nutshell, you’ll get 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator with fleshy fruit infused water, 4 to 5 days with citrus infused water, and with a vacuum carafe you can stretch that refrigeration time to 30 days.

By freezing your fruit infused water into cubes, you can store it for up to 6 months, or if you are making very large batches, then you can freeze it and then vacuum seal it for a year or more of frozen storage. Just remember, of course, that it doesn’t take very long to make fruit infused water – if you don’t mind spending the time then like anything, fresher is always going to be better!

Remember, drinking enough water is crucial for health, and fruit-infused water is a great substitute for regular water, especially if you’re prone to mild dehydration. Plus, it’s a vegan drink option that can boost your energy levels without breeding ground for unwanted sugars, as in the case of fruit juices with added sugar.

We’d like to thank you for visiting and if you have some fruit-infused water recipes or shelf-life tricks that you’d like to share, then please be sure to leave a word in the comments – we love hearing from you and we really get some amazing tips. Until next time, we wish you and yours the very best!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: David McLemore

David learned to cook at an early age after his mother told him that he couldn't live on pizza forever, Dave uses his modest kitchen skills to recreate sorely-missed recipes from home and to occasionally make new favorite ones from places he is visiting.

Leave a Comment