When lemons are in season, you'll always find a handful of them in our fridge. They're so good to use in so many recipes, and fresh lemon slices are the perfect garnish for a number of dishes and pair well with a variety of cocktails. Lemon zest and lemon juice can be added to various recipes to add a pop of citrus flavoring too. Not to mention adding lemon juice to some items is great for preserving them. With so many reasons and ways to use lemons, it's never a bad idea to have a few extra on hand. To keep your lemons fresh for as long as possible is important and to do that, you need to know how to store your lemons properly.
In this post, we are discussing all the ways to store your lemons before they go bad. We'll figure out how to store lemons at room temp and how long they'll last, how long lemons last in the fridge both whole and cut up, and how to properly and safely store your fresh squeezed lemon juice. And, last but not least, we're discussing all the signs of a bad lemon, so you know what to look out for with your lemons so you don't get sick.
A few lemon health benefits:
Lemons have a handful of beneficial health properties (source).
- Lemons are great for supporting overall heart health
- They can help you control weight
- Wonderful to add to your water to help you stay hydrated
- Lemon juice is good for preventing kidney stones and reducing your risk for cancer
- They're great for improving digestive health too
How long do lemons last at room temperature?
Fresh lemons can be stored longer than broccoli, cauliflower, and strawberries at room temperature.
Lemons and some other fresh produce can be stored in a bowl on the kitchen countertop at room temperature for up to a week. The shelf life of lemons and other citrus fruits stored this way can vary depending on the state in which you bought them and how they were stored before that.
Lemons will start to deteriorate and lose their moisture if left at room temperature for longer than a week. The lemon rind has pores that the lemon juice escapes through, causing it to dry out over time.
It's also important to wait to wash your lemons until you're ready to use them. The lemon rinds have a nice waxy layer on them that protect the lemon juice and tender inside from potential bacteria that could seek their way in through the lemon pores. If you wash them too early, way before you want to use them, you'll risk losing that protection layer and letting bacteria and other bad things in.
How long do whole lemons last in the fridge?
The refrigerator is the best place to store whole uncut lemons.
Whole fresh lemons can last up to a month if stored properly in the right storage conditions, in an airtight container, or sealed up in a plastic bag.
I suggest tossing them in the crisper drawer in whatever container you choose.
You may also choose to store your lemons on a shelf in the fridge.
How long do cut lemons last in the fridge?
It's a good idea to store cut lemon wedges wrapped in damp paper towels, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil before placing them in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
If storing your cut lemon wedges, wheels, or slices in a ziploc bag, make sure to press out the excess air so they stay fresh as long as possible.
They can be kept in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Change the wet paper towels as necessary and check on your lemon halves frequently so you can discard those bad lemons so they don't contaminate the others left that are still good.
How long does freshly squeezed lemon juice last?
Making fresh squeezed lemon juice is always a favorite, especially during the hot summer. So, it's important to store it properly so it can last a long time.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice should be stored in a sealed container and it should last about 3 to 4 days.
There's a chance that the juice could stay fresh a little longer, but it's better to be safe than sorry, and either discard it after that time, or use other storage methods to prolong its shelf life.
You can also choose to freeze your fresh lemon juice if desired. I suggest pouring it into a plastic container or pouring it into ice cube trays to use again later. Creating ice cubes with your leftover lemon juice is perfect for adding to your ice lemon water to add a pop of citrus zing to help you drink more water.
Can you freeze whole lemons?
Yes, freezing whole lemons is an ideal way to extend the lemons shelf life. It's something I highly recommend doing if you plan to use the lemon zest later.
Freezing your lemons and then thawing them for later use makes it easier to zest the lemons.
Freezing the lemons also makes juicing them easier too since freezing the fruit weakens the cell walls
How to tell if lemons have gone bad?
The last thing you want is to have a drawer full of rotten lemons. If you fear that your lemons are going bad, here are some signs to look for to tell if they've gone bad:
- If your lemon has soft spots or is squishy to the touch- toss that bad lemon!
- If you pick up your lemon and notice that it has a slimy skin or is moist to the touch, just drop that bad boy in the garbage can.
- If you see that your lemons have lost juice and have shrunk in size, become wrinkled and shriveled or even have become super hard to the touch, they're not lemons you want to use- just get rid of them.
- If you notice that your lemons smell funky of have dark spots- those aren't good lemons, toss them too!
- Your lemons should have a nice bright yellow rind, if yours looks dingy, don't use them, just get new fresh fruit at the grocery store.
- And of course, if you notice moldy lemons, don't use them either.
You don't want to risk using bad or old lemons or lemon juice. Expired lemon juice could have toxins or bacteria in it once it starts to go sour and it can make you sick. If you have any questions or concerns trying to figure out if it's safe to use, it's better to be safe and just toss it.
Now we shared a lot in this whole post. We shared some of the health benefits of including lemon juice in your diet and so much more.
After reading this post, you should know all about storing your lemons cut, and whole, both at room temperature and in the fridge.
We even discussed how to freeze freshly squeezed lemon juice and whole lemons and how to tell when your lemons have gone bad.
So, there's no reason not to stock up on some fresh lemons when they're in season again so you can make all the best recipes with your lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon wedges.
More topics to explore
- How long does cauliflower last in the fridge?
- How long does broccoli last in the fridge?
- How long do apples last in the fridge?
- How to store bananas
- How long do strawberries last?
- How long do blueberries last?
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