A Bitter Pill to Swallow: Don’t use your Citrus Juice Immediately

If you have any interest in cocktails (and even if not), you might have heard that citrus juice is best consumed fresh, as soon as possible after juicing. Turns out, that’s not exactly true. As I wrote in an article earlier this year for the cocktail website Tales of the Cocktail, juice gained from several citrus fruits actually improves in quality with time (here’s an article from Lifehacker referencing my piece). At least for lemon and lime juice, waiting a couple of hours before using it resulted in an improved taste according to blind taste tests. Not so for orange juice however, which is best consumed fresh.

Interestingly, the reason for this is that a process called enzymatic bittering somewhat dampens the acidity of the citrus juice, allowing the natural flavors to shine through and resulting in an overall better gustatory experience. If this continues for too long however, an actual bitter taste creeps in and makes the juice arguably worse than before. If you want to find out more about the phenomenon and its mechanism check out my article from above! Motivating to know that science can not only cure your disease but also improve the flavor of your favorite drink!

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