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Ways to use up leftover juice

Did you know that juices and smoothies are some of the top 10 most wasted foods in UK households*? Over half of their wastage is down to not being used in time, which contributes to the total £150m* worth being thrown away every year in the UK. Opening a carton, only to forget about it – we've all been there! Read on for our tips on how to keep drinks fresher for longer and some ideas for using up leftover smoothies and juice.

  1. Store them right

    Juices can have wildly different shelf lives depending on the packaging process. Longlife juices can be kept (unopened), outside the fridge, for up to a year, while fresh juices are usually best used within a few weeks. Fresh smoothies may have a shorted lifespan. Once opened, keep chilled and use within a few days.

    If you need to use some juice up, consider adding them to savoury dishes where they'll introduce gentle sweetness. Add a splash to a warming sausage and apple casserole for a fruity boost to wintery flavours or level up your leftovers with this Chinese spiced gammon recipe that pairs cooked gammon with aromatic spices and orange juice. Or, indulge with a mountain of sticky chicken wings which have soaked in a flavourful marinade of soy sauce and orange juice.

    Store them right
  2. Check the 'best before' date

    Most juices and some smoothies have a ‘best before’ rather than a ‘use by’ date. This denotes quality rather than safety: they’ll be at their best before this date but can still be consumed after it.

    If you need to use a juice by a certain date, why not try mixing up some fruity cocktails with them? Apple juice adds autumnal notes to this punchy apple, vodka and ginger beer cocktail, while grapefruit juice puts a twist on a classic white wine tipple in this zesty grapefruit spritz recipe. If you’re looking to use up pineapple juice, get your blender out and whip up a jug of refreshing pineapple cooler, combining the tropical juice with fresh strawberries, mint and pomegranate.

    Check the 'best before' date
  3. Poaching potential

    Another great way to use up leftover juice is by poaching apples or pears in it for a warming winter dessert. Peel, halve and core the fruit and place it in a saucepan. Pour in juice to cover (top up with water if needed) and add citrus peel or whole spices, if you like. Simmer for 10 mins or until tender.

    For inspiration, take a look at this elegant poached pears with chocolate sauce recipe, or adapt our indulgent caramel poached pears dessert by swapping out the water for the volume of leftover juice available.

    Poaching potential
  4. Finish off smoothies

    An easy way to use up bottles of smoothie nearing their use by date is by making colourful ice lollies. You can swirl leftover smoothie with natural yogurt and add a little honey, ground cinnamon or granola before pouring into lolly moulds and freezing for at least 3 hrs until solid. Play with the toppings to try different flavours: these Bakewell lollies combine toasted flaked almonds with a fruit coulis which could easily be switched for a berry-based smoothie. 

    Juices can be used up in a similar way. Follow the instructions for these jolly striped fruit juice lollies but mix and match the juice and fresh fruit combinations depending on what you have in the house. Or, give this simple pomegranate and orange sorbet a go for a light and refreshing dessert

    Finish off smoothies
  5. Breakfast ideas

    Fruit juice isn't just for slurping in the morning – you can also add it to delicious breakfast recipes. This hearty bowl of bircher muesli combines oats, pears, fruit and spices – plus apple juice – for a wonderfully fragrant breakfast recipe. Or, try starting the day with an easy breakfast muffin. Combine orange juice, honey, eggs, flour, raisins, yogurt and cereal to make these speedy savoury bakes that are ready in under 30 minutes.

    To use a smoothie up, try adapting a smoothie bowl recipe, like this raspberry, pomegranate and clementine one. Simply swap the yogurt for your leftover smoothie to make a vibrant morning bowl packed with fruit and crunchy extras, including oats, nuts and seeds.

    Breakfast ideas
  6. Make a showstopping dessert

    Surplus fruit juices are also a great ingredient for rustling up beautiful pudding and dessert recipes. You can use unused orange juice to make the zesty orange syrup for this boozy orange saravin cake recipe, or put it to use in the fruity compote for a beautiful Black Forest meringue wreath, where the zesty flavours combine with rich dark chocolate and sweet, crunchy meringue for a delicious winter pud.

    *Source: WRAP

    Make a showstopping dessert