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Harvesting and Processing
Juice and Juice Products
Noni fruit juice and juice products are processed and prepared in Hawaii by a variety of methods. For example, noni juice may be fermented versus unfermented, or fresh-squeezed versus drip-extracted. The “traditional” juice is both drip-extracted and fermented/aged for at least two months. The “non-traditional” method of juice extraction is by pressing or squeezing the juice from ripe fruits. Noni juices may be amended with other additives or diluted, or bottled in its pure state. It may be bottled with or without pasteurization. In this section, the essentials of commercial and home noni juice processing in Hawaii are discussed and illustrated.

Drip-extracted, fermented & aged, unadulterated

1) Ripe noni fruits arrive at a juicing facility (“Mahalo” to the nice folks at bigislandnoni.com for a tour of their noni facility near Kalapana on the Big Island of Hawaii).

Freshly picked, ripening noni fruits arrive at the juice processing facility in a variety of containers. The harvested noni fruits are mainly whitish in color with tinges of green.
fruit basket fruit bag
LEFT: Noni fruits are being weighed in tubs. RIGHT: An onion bag full of freshly picked, nearly ripe noni fruits. Green or unripe yellow noni fruits are very hard-skinned and durable, and therefore resistant to superficial damage and bruising during shipping an handling. They require no special handling. Noni fruits at this stage of development will ripen overnight or in a few days at room temperature and can be processed for juice immediately thereafter.
2) Noni fruits are washed and air-dried.
fruit washer
An automatic noni fruit washer, adapted for use with noni from a vegetable operation.
Freshly picked noni fruits after washing are allowed to air-dry on raised tables before they are processed for juice.
noni fruits ripe noni fruit
LEFT: Hard, white noni fruit just after picking (left) and soft, yellowing, translucent, noni fruit one day after picking (right). This translucent fruit is already starting to sweat the juice fluids (note the moist, glistening surface of the fruit). RIGHT: Filly ripe, translucent noni fruit with seeds.
Fully ripe fruits contain and release more juice than do under-ripe fruits. The most efficient noni juice extraction by weight is obtained when ripe, soft, translucent fruits are placed into the juice collection vessels. When green or hard noni fruits are placed into a juice collection vessel, the fruits release significantly less juice than soft, ripened fruits. Furthermore, a light-colored juice product is obtained from fully ripe, translucent fruits as opposed to the significantly darker-colored juice that is obtained when unripe or green fruits are placed into juice collection vessels.

3) Ripe noni fruits are placed into a juice collection vessel for 2 months or longer. During this time, the noni juice separates (drips) gradually from the pulp.

The juice collection and fermentation vessels should be made of glass, stainless steel or food-grade plastic. The noni juice collects inside the containers and ferments as it gradually seeps and sweats from the fruits. The juice appearance is initially an amber or golden colored liquid that gradually darkens with age. After the collection and fermentation process is complete, the juice is drained from spigots at the base of containers (and filtered). Fresh air is excluded from these containers, and contact between the juice and fresh air is minimized throughout the process.
process process
LEFT: A row of plastic noni juice collection and fermentation vessels. RIGHT: A juice collection and fermentation vessel, approximately _ full of noni fruits and juice. Juice will be drained though the spigot after 2 months and bottled.
4) The final noni juice product is decanted, filtered and bottled.
noni juice
Fermented, aged noni juice is a dark brown liquid which is similar in appearance and texture to soy sauce. The pH is relatively low (approximately 3.5), lending a characteristically sour taste to aged noni juice.
Extraction efficiency (traditional method, drip extraction). After approximately 2 months, most of the noni juice separates naturally from the fruit pulp and may be drained from the container and filtered. The recovery of juice by this traditional method is approximately 40%-50% of the original fruit weight. Therefore, using this method, 100 pounds of fruit may yield about 40-50 pounds of juice, or about 4.5 to 5.0 gallons of juice.

Leftover pulp. After all of the noni juice is drained from the collection and fermentation vessel, the residual pulp may be pressed to express the remaining juice fluids. The leftover pulp and seeds may be discarded, or they may be dehydrated and used in other noni products.

Pasteurization. Noni juice products in Hawaii are either pasteurized or not pasteurized. Pasteurization does appear to alter the flavor of raw noni juice. Because fermented noni juice usually has a low pH (approx. 3.5), pasteurization may not always be necessary.

A variation of the traditional, drip-extraction method produces a non-fermented, sweeter juice. Some Hawaii noni juice producers and consumers prefer a lighter-colored, sweeter-tasting product. If the noni juice is not allowed to ferment in the collection vessel, the juice will retain a relatively fruity, sweet taste, rather than the bitter, sour taste associated with fermented noni juice. To obtain sweeter, fruiter juice, the juice is drawn off from the collection vessel every couple of days, and not allowed to ferment. Rather, the juice is bottled it and refrigerated (or frozen) immediately or until it is marketed or consumed.

Light and temperature considerations. High levels of light exposure to the juice and high temperature during juice collection and fermentation may cause undesirable chemical reactions to occur in noni juice. Nonetheless, noni juice is produced under a wide range of temperature and light conditions in Hawaii. For example, many backyard noni juicers place a large glass jar with noni fruits out in the direct sun for many months before consuming the juice. However, probably the most consistent commercial juice products are obtained where both temperature and light are regulated during the fermentation and storage periods.

Bottling. Most noni juice producers bottle their products in either clear glass or clear plastic bottles. Glass is preferred to plastic for longer shelf life and quality control, as plastics may allow some oxygen to enter the container. However, glass is heavier and more expensive to ship than plastic. Dark glass is rarely used by Hawaii noni juice producers. Because light and oxygen tend to diminish a product’s shelf life, choice of bottling container may be a significant consideration.
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Fresh-squeezed, filtered & non-fermented.

Fresh-squeezed noni juice has a sweeter (less acidic), fruitier flavor than aged, fermented noni juice.

When noni fruits are ripe, the juice is separated from the pulp and seeds using a fruit press. Up to 65% juice recovery by weight is possible using this method of juice extraction. Home producers of noni juice use a wide range of fruit pressing methods, from squeezing by hand through cheesecloth, paint strainers, to more elaborate home-made pressing devices.
hydraulic fruit press
A hydraulic fruit press for making fresh-squeezed noni juice. Ripe fruits are loaded into the press through the top door. Juice is pressed from the pulp and bottled immediately.
Fresh-squeezed noni juice
Fresh-squeezed noni juice has a golden amber color and has significantly less sediment than fermented noni juice collected by the traditional method. Conversely, fermented noni juice produced by the traditional method is very dark brown, resembling the color and texture of soy sauce.
Fermentation of fresh-squeezed juice can be arrested by refrigeration or by pasteurization. This will preserve the fruity, sweet taste of the non-fermented juice. Or, the fresh-squeezed juice may be allowed to ferment naturally in bottles or containers for a period of weeks or months prior to marketing or consumption.
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Noni juice may be mixed with other juices of flavorings to improve the palatability of the product (e.g., with raspberry, strawberry, or grape flavors). Some producers choose to dilute their juice with water and sweeten the product with the addition of sugar.
Fresh-squeezed noni juice mixed with lilikoi juice.
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In Hawaii, noni fruit pulp may be chopped, dehydrated and powdered and used in reconstituted noni juice products for the dietary supplement industry. These products are standardized to approximately 0.8% noni active polysaccharides (which is equivalent to the noni active polysaccharide content of pure aged noni juice).
RIGHT: Drip-extracted, fermented and aged noni juice, showing the typical dark brown color. LEFT: Dehydrated noni fruit powder, used in the manufacture of standardized, re-constituted noni juice products.


Noni juice itself may be evaporated and formed into a powder that can be used in various products, including reconstituted juices. Noni juice powder is highly hygroscopic (attracted to water) and must be mixed with a non-hygroscopic carrier to enable it to retain its powdered formulation.
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  1. Hygiene. Strive for a clean, sterile environment in the juicing area. Tools and containers may be sterilized using hot water or simple soaps and disinfectants. Personal hygiene of the juicing personnel is another important consideration.

  2. Oxygen. Try to exclude air and oxygen for the juicing containers. The fermentation of noni juice is accomplished by an anaerobic process (does not require oxygen), i.e., by bacteria that do not explicitly require oxygen for the fermentation process. However, do not enclose the fruits in the collection vessel using an air-tight seal on the vessel, because the process of fermentation leads to the evolution and accumulation of gasses within the vessel that may build up potentially explosive pressure if not released. Thus, the use of some type of fermentation lock is recommended (i.e., a device which allows the exit of fermentation gasses from of the container while disallowing the entry of unwanted air and airborne contaminants.

  3. Juice color. The color of juice may be modified (darkened) by adding green fruits to the juice collection vessel. If green fruits are cut up before being placed into the juice collection vessel, the cut surfaces will quickly oxidize and turn brown, lending a overall brown color to the juice that drips from them. For lightest-colored juice, juice is collected or processed immediately from ripe fruits and not allowed to ferment (i.e., the juice is refrigerated it or pasteurized).

  4. Filtering of sediment. Juice may be filtered and clarified using silkscreen (from art supply store) or paint strainers (from hardware store). Filters or strainers can be sterilized in boiling water before they are used.

  5. Quality control. If juice appears overly cloudy or has an unusual or foul flavor or high pH, it is probably contaminated and should be discarded.

  6. Wild noni picking “kokua”. When picking noni fruits from wild plants, use care not to damage or break the extremely brittle branches of the noni plant.

  7. Containers. Avoid using plastic containers for juice collection or storage (i.e., plastic garbage cans) that are not food-grade plastics, as they may release undesirable chemicals into the juice.

  8. pH. Obtain an inexpensive set of pH papers to monitor the pH of your juice. Good, aged noni juice should have a pH of 3.5 or less. If the juice pH greater than 3.5, there is a higher probability that it may be contaminated with undesirable organisms.

  9. Labeling. The major advertising claims about the healing powers of noni have not yet been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and noni (Morinda citrifolia) does not yet appear on the FDA’s GRAS list, i.e., the list of foods and food additives that are “Generally Recognized as Safe” by the FDA. Therefore, for home bottlers of noni juice who plan to label and market their product, it would be wise to include on the label the following or similar disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent and disease.”

  10. Storage. Fresh-squeezed noni juice should be refrigerated. Aged, fermented noni juice can be stored at room temperature indefinitely.
Noni fruits in glass jars in various stages of decomposition in the back yard of a modern Hawaiian homestead. These jars are kept in full sun
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Last Updated on December 7, 2006