The secret to keeping lemons fresh for 3 months
How to Store Lemons
Despite their acidity, lemons go bad like any other fruit. Shriveling, soft or hard spots, and a dull color are all signs that a lemon has started to lose flavor and juice. Prevent this happening by learning how to store lemons at the right temperature.
Storing Whole Lemons
Store lemons for immediate use.If you plan to use the lemons within a few days of purchase, store them away from direct sunlight. They typically stay fresh for about one week at room temperature. After this point, they start to wrinkle, lose their vibrant color, and develop soft or hard patches.
Store extra lemons sealed in the refrigerator.Place the lemons in zip-locked bags, squeezing out as much air as you can. In this state, the lemons may retain most of their juice and flavor for as long as four weeks.
- The ideal temperature for storing ripe (yellow) lemons is between 4º and 10ºC (39–50ºF). For most refrigerators, the middle shelves or door shelves are around this temperature.
Storing Cut Lemons
Cover the cut side of the lemon.Reduce water loss and oxidization by protecting the cut side from air. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Place lemon halves cut-side-down on a small plate.
- Wrap wedges or slices in plastic wrap.
- Place the cut lemons in the smallest airtight container you can find.
Refrigerate.Although they last longer than most other cut fruit, lemons are still best within 2–3 days of cutting.
Freeze slices to add to drinks.Freeze the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spaced out so they don't touch each other. Once frozen, toss them all in a sealed plastic bag and store in the freezer indefinitely.
- Freezing lemons (or any food items) on a baking sheet prevents them sticking to each other as ice forms.
- Like most fruit, lemons become mushy when frozen. The frozen slices are best added to cold drinks directly from the freezer, while they're still hard.
Storing Juice and Zest
Refrigerate lemon juice.Despite its acidity, lemon juice can harbor bacteria if kept at room temperature. After about 2–4 days in the refrigerator, the juice will start to lose its taste. Throw it out once it looks dull and dark or loses most of its taste, usually about 7–10 days.
- Do not store lemon juice in transparent bottles, since light will break down the juice more quickly.
- Store-bought bottled lemon juice typically contains preservatives, which increase its shelf life to several months.
Freeze leftover juice in ice cube trays.This is the easiest way to freeze excess juice. Once frozen, transfer to a sealed plastic bag in the freezer.
Store zest in an airtight container.Once you've zested the lemon, move the zest to an airtight glass container. Store in a cool, dry location.Freshly grated zest loses flavor fast, and may become a bacterial risk after just 2–3 days.
Freeze leftover zest.If you have a great deal of zest, space small, tightly packed spoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze, then transfer to a freezer-safe container.
QuestionHow long can I store frozen lemons in the freezer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can store lemons in the freezer for about 3 to 4 months and in a refrigerator about 3 to 4 weeks.Thanks!
QuestionHow long can I store lemons for?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA single lemon can stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week if it is cut and for a week and a half uncut. If it is not in the refrigerator, it can go bad quickly unless the room temperature is cold.Thanks!
QuestionDoes lemon juice provide health benefits?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. It contains vitamins and nutrients as does all citrus.Thanks!
QuestionDo these instructions also apply to limes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can use these tips for limes too.Thanks!
QuestionShould lemons stay on the tree be picked as needed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on if they are ripe. If they are ripe and on the tree, you should pick them so that they do not over-ripen and die.Thanks!
QuestionDo they need to be washed?Marie Croft CavinsCommunity AnswerThey should be. You don't know who has handled them before you bought them. Also, they may have pesticides on them. When you cut them, you can transfer bacteria into them as the knife cuts them.Thanks!
Can I slice a lemon and keep it in a container of water and refill as I use the water?
How long will lemon zest last frozen?
Can I freeze lemons whole?
Why do Eureka lemons get moldy only a few days after being picked?
Can I store lemons boxed in sawdust layers in the dark and at a low temperature?
- As lemons are sensitive to ethylene, care should be taken that lemons are not kept along with products which emit ethylene, specially apples.
- When selecting lemons, look for thin-skinned fruits that give a little when squeezed. These have more juice than hard lemons.
- Green lemons can be stored for four months at 12ºC (54ºF).
Things You'll Need
Zip tight plastic bags
Sources and Citations
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Video: Easy Way to Keep Lemons Fresh - How to
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