Limes are a versatile citrus fruit that can add flavor to many dishes and drinks. Their bright, tangy juice is commonly used to make cocktails, marinades, dressings and other recipes. But once you’ve squeezed the juice from a fresh lime, how long does it stay good for? Here’s a look at how long lime juice lasts after being squeezed, including some tips for getting the most out of your limes.
Does Lime Juice Go Bad?
Yes, lime juice can go bad after it’s been squeezed from the fruit. Like other fruit juices, lime juice contains natural sugars that can ferment and spoil over time when exposed to air. The acidic nature of lime juice helps slow down this process, but it doesn’t make the juice last indefinitely.
You’ll know your lime juice has gone bad if it develops mold, changes color, tastes bitter or sour, or gives off an unpleasant odor. Discard lime juice that shows any signs of spoilage.
How to Tell if Lime Juice Has Gone Bad
Here are some of the main signs that squeezed lime juice has gone bad:
- – Mold growth
- – Formation of sediment at the bottom of the container
- – Strange or unpleasant smell
- – Loss of bright green color (juice looks brown or dull green)
- – Bitter, sour or “off” flavor
- – Fizzing or bubbling
If you notice any of these changes in your lime juice, it’s best to throw it out. Consuming spoiled lime juice could potentially make you sick.
How Long Does Lime Juice Last Refrigerated?
Properly storing lime juice is the best way to maximize its shelf life after squeezing. Refrigerating lime juice is ideal for keeping it fresh for as long as possible. Here’s how long refrigerated lime juice typically lasts:
- – In a sealed container: 5-7 days
- – In an airtight sealed container: 2-3 weeks
- – Frozen: 6-8 months
The key is keeping refrigerated lime juice in an airtight container so exposure to air is minimized. This prevents mold growth and slows down the rate at which the juice spoils. Glass jars or bottles with tight-fitting lids work best.
Does Lime Juice Go Bad If Not Refrigerated?
Lime juice will deteriorate much faster if left out at room temperature instead of being refrigerated. Here’s approximately how long you can expect lime juice to last if kept in the pantry or on the counter:
- – In a sealed container: 3-4 days
- – Exposed to air: 1-2 days
As you can see, non-refrigerated lime juice only stays good for about a day or two before it starts going bad. For best quality and safety, refrigerate lime juice after squeezing.
Signs Your Lime Juice Has Gone Bad
If you store lime juice properly in the refrigerator, it can last up to 2-3 weeks. However, there are some signs that refrigerated lime juice has gone bad and should be discarded:
- – Mold growing in or on the juice
- – Cloudy appearance
- – Sour, bitter or “off” smell
- – Fizzing, bubbling or effervescence
- – Change from green color to brown, yellow or gray
When refrigerated lime juice starts exhibiting these signs, it’s time to throw it away even if the best-by date on the package hasn’t passed yet.
Does Lime Juice Go Bad If Frozen?
Freezing is one of the best ways to extend the shelf life of lime juice. By storing it in the freezer, refrigerated lime juice can last for up to 6-8 months before going bad.
To properly freeze lime juice:
- – Pour into freezer-safe containers, leaving 1/2-1 inch of headspace.
- – Seal the containers tightly.
- – Label with the date.
- – Freeze for up to 8 months.
Properly frozen lime juice retains its quality and fresh taste when thawed. It may have some separation, but just mix the juice before using. Discard if it develops mold or an off odor after thawing.
How to Store Lime Juice
Follow these tips to help your lime juice last as long as possible after squeezing:
- – Pour juice into clean, airtight containers like mason jars or bottles with tight lids. Leave minimal air space.
- – Refrigerate juice immediately to inhibit mold growth.
- – Label container with date juice was squeezed.
- – Monitor juice for any signs of spoilage.
- – For longer shelf life, freeze excess juice in freezer containers.
With proper storage methods, you can keep recently squeezed lime juice good for up to 2-3 weeks in the fridge or 6-8 months in the freezer.
Can You Make Lime Juice Last Longer?
There are a few tricks that can help extend the shelf life of lime juice by a few extra days or weeks:
- – Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice to “top off” older juice to restore acidity and slow spoilage.
- – Add a pinch of salt or sugar which acts as a preservative.
- – Squeeze limes within a week of purchasing for freshest, longest-lasting juice.
- – Freeze excess lime juice in ice cube trays for longer storage.
Combining fresh juice with older juice can buy you an extra 3-5 days in the fridge. Salting, sugaring and freezing can add 1-2 weeks to the shelf life. But ultimately, lime juice has a limited lifespan after squeezing.
How Long Does Lime Juice Last Comparison Chart
Here is a quick reference chart to show approximately how long squeezed lime juice lasts under different storage conditions:
|Storage Method||Lime Juice Shelf Life|
|Refrigerated (sealed container)||5-7 days|
|Refrigerated (airtight sealed container)||2-3 weeks|
|Pantry (sealed)||3-4 days|
|Counter (exposed to air)||1-2 days|
Can You Freeze and Thaw Lime Juice Multiple Times?
Freezing is an excellent way to extend the lifespan of lime juice. However, best practice is to only freeze and thaw juice one time. Refreezing lime juice after it has thawed is not recommended.
Each freeze/thaw cycle introduces more opportunity for spoilage organisms to grow. It also degrades the quality of the juice leading to loss of flavor, separation, and texture changes.
For best quality and safety, freeze lime juice in the portions needed. Thaw what you require and use within a few days. Don’t refreeze any thawed portion.
Does Lime Juice Separate When Frozen?
It’s common for lime juice to start separating into layers when frozen. This happens because some of the compounds in the juice solidify at freezer temperatures. When thawed, you’ll notice separation with clear, icy layer at the top and thicker juice at the bottom.
Separation alone does not mean the lime juice has gone bad. Give the container a gentle shake or stir to recombine the layers after thawing. The juice should return to an even liquid with uniform color and texture.
Discard the lime juice only if it smells or tastes unpleasant after mixing. Otherwise, it’s still safe to use within a few days.
Squeezed lime juice stays fresh only for a limited time. Proper storage is key to maximizing its shelf life. Refrigerated lime juice will keep for 5-7 days in a sealed container or up to 2-3 weeks if airtight. For longer duration, freeze excess lime juice for 6-8 months. Discard any juice that shows signs of spoilage like mold, off-smells or separation. With optimal storage methods, lime juice can retain good quality and flavor for use in various recipes.