Lemons are one of those items that are great to have around all the time. They elevate every food we eat from drinks to gourmet dishes. Therefore, most people will buy a lot to keep around the kitchen. Unfortunately, lemons are one of those fruits that don’t last long if not stored properly.
How long do lemons last? At room temperature, lemons will last for about a week. In the fridge, they can last 2 to 3 weeks, while they can last for a couple of months in the freezer.
Above are just an approximate shelf life for lemons. Factors such as the storage temperature, if you’re storing whole or cut lemons, and where it’s stored.
Lemon Expiration Date
|Cut or Sliced
How Long Do Lemons Last?
One major factor for the shelf life of lemons is storage. How you store them will determine how lemon will last.
Lemons make beautiful decorations, especially when combining them with other fruits in a bowl. If you’re planning to leave them on the kitchen countertop, they will usually last up to a week. However, the warmer the air temperature, the shorter they will last. Unless you’re planning to use lemons within a week, transfer them to the fridge.
The fridge is the best place to store them if you want them to last longer than a week. If they are in a plastic bag that you’ve bought from the store, they will last for about 2 weeks before they start hardening.
To get lemons to last up to a month in the fridge, put them into a sealable freezer bag and squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. The freezer bag is more thick and durable than the plastic bags that lemons are bagged in at the store. Therefore, the freezer bag helps keep moisture in to retain their quality longer.
Of course, for the lemons to last the longest, you will need to pick the best ones, to begin with.
How long Do Cut Lemons Last?
With cut lemons, they will usually stay in good quality for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. After using the lemon, put the other half into an airtight container or freezer bag. Alternatively, you can use a plastic wrapper and tightly wrap the cut lemon.
Lemons that have been cut should not be stored at room temperature unless you’re planning to use them within 2 hours. Past that time, the flesh of the lemon will start to dry out, especially if the air temperature is really hot.
When it comes to storing lemons, it will depend on when you’ll be using them. If you’re planning to use it within a week’s time, storing lemons in the pantry or on the countertop is fine. If you’re planning to store them for longer than a week, the fridge or the freezer is the best storage solution.
If you’re storing them at room temperature, just make sure it’s not in direct sunlight. The sun will dry the lemons out real quickly.
The warmer the air is, the faster the lemons will go bad. Some people like to leave lemons in a bowl outside for decoration purposes and the citrus smell that it gives off. If so, to make sure they last for at least a week is to keep the air temperature of the home cool. Cooler air will result in longer-lasting lemons.
Storing Lemons In The Refrigerator
As for the fridge, storing lemons that last for a long time will require a couple of minutes of preparation.
For whole lemons, put them in a sealable freezer bag or an airtight container. Make sure to remove as much air out of the bag before sealing it. Alternatively, if you are planning to use lemons often, you can try to wrap each lemon individually with a plastic wrapper. This way, you won’t need to keep opening and closing the freezer bag or container when you need lemons. The more often lemons are exposed to the air, the faster it will go bad.
For lemon wedges or slices, wash the lemons thoroughly with soap and water first. Pat them dry with a cloth towel and cut them to your desired size. Put them into an airtight container or a freezer bag. I prefer an airtight container for cutting lemons because it’s easier to move them in and out of the fridge when you need to use it.
Storing Lemons In The Freezer
Storing lemons in the freezer is also possible. You can freeze lemon wedges or slices, lemon juice, or whole lemons.
Always wash the lemons with soap and water before you freeze them.
To freeze whole lemons, simply put them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Before sealing the freezer bag, make sure to remove as much air as possible.
For freezing lemon wedges or slices, after cutting them to your desired size, place the items on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Quick freeze them by putting the lemons into the freezer until each piece is frozen. Take them out of the freezer and transfer them to a freezer bag or an airtight container.
For the freezing lemon juice, simply squeeze the juice into an ice cube tray. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible before sealing it.
How To Choose The Best Lemons?
When buying lemons at the supermarket, you’ll want to choose the best quality one. Quality lemons will last longer and taste fresher.
Some supermarkets and grocery stores sell lemons that are already packaged. Avoid these types of lemons. Since they are already packaged, it’s hard to examine their quality. Even if only a few are bad, you’ll have bought the entire bag of lemons.
Instead, buy lemons that are sold individually. This way, you can examine each lemon for quality. Choose the lemons that have thin skin. These lemons yield a lot of juice. On the other hand, lemons with thick skin are fine too, but they won’t have that much juice.
Pick each lemon and gently squeeze them, they should be firm. If it feels squishy or has any soft spots, the lemon is bad or is about to go bad.
As for appearance, good quality lemons should be bright yellow and have no blemishes. However, if there are small spots that are dark or discolored, it should be fine. On the other hand, if you see large discolored spots about the size of a penny or larger, the lemon is not of good quality.
How To Tell When a Lemon Goes Bad
Like most other fruits and vegetables, lemons will have signs of mold growing on them. If you see white or dark spots on the lemons, it’s a sign of mold and it’s best to throw them out. For cut lemons, mold will appear as white or dark spots as well. If you see this, discard them.
Some people will try to cut just the moldy area out, but that’s not a good idea. Lemons are very high in moisture, which makes it very easy for microorganisms to spread throughout the entire lemon, even if there aren’t any visible signs right away.
Another sign of lemons going bad is their appearance. If the lemons look dried and shrunk in size, it’s a good sign it’s no longer good. Of course, if you don’t see any molds growing on it, you can try to squeeze any remaining juice that’s left in it. However, you’ll probably just get a few trickles of juice coming out.
What’s the difference between lemon and lime?
As for appearance, lemons are usually larger, oval-shaped, and bright yellow. On the other hand, limes are small, round, and green.
When it comes to taste, both have an acidic and sour taste to them. However, lemons tend to have a sweeter flavor, while lime has a more bitter flavor.
How long can you keep lemon slices in water?
Lemon slices in water become soggy and have an undesirable look after a few hours at room temperature. Under refrigeration, if you store lemon slices in water, they can last for up to 3 days.
How long does lemon juice last?
Due to the high acid content, lemon juice goes bad quickly. Lemon juice lasts 10-14 days on the shelf after squeezing. If you want your lemon juice to last longer than this, store it in the refrigerator and use it within 2 months.