Do Limes Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie

Do limes go bad? Yes, limes do go bad even though they are high in acid content, which is a natural preservative. To keep them fresh, you need to make sure that you are storing them correctly, whether it is in the pantry, the refrigerator, or the freezer. 

What are Limes?

This is a type of citrus fruit that is generally green in color, round, and 1.2 to 2.4 inches in diameter. Limes are a sour fruit but a good source of vitamin C. They are often used to accent the flavors of beverages and food. A lime is not the same as a lemon as they are a different color and have a higher content of acids and sugars.

Steps to Ensure a Long Shelf Life

Always make sure that when you buy limes that you look at them to make sure they do not have any moldy spots, bruises, or spongy areas. When you get them home, make sure that you are washing your hands with soap and warm water before you handle them to make sure if you have anything on your hands it will not transfer to the limes. The fresher the limes, the longer the shelf life they will have.

Before using them, you should wash them in a bowl with warm water and a drop or two of dish detergent. You do not want to put the limes in the water mixture but instead, use a fruit scrubbing brush to dip in the water to scrub the fruit with. Once this is done, rinse them under cool water and dry them with a clean dish towel before you store them.

How to Store Limes

The best place to store your limes for longer shelf life is in the refrigerator drawer. If you have bought a bag of limes, make sure that you take them out of the plastic bag they were in when you bought them. Leaving limes in that type of bag could have trapped moisture which can cause them to soften and spoil. 

After you cut them, they need to be stored in a tightly-closed container to keep out contaminants and moisture. When storing limes in the refrigerator, put them where they will not be squished or bumped such as a crisper or vegetable drawer. You can also store them in a bowl or other container.

Fresh: Although many put them in the refrigerator, you can leave them on the counter for several days as long they are kept away from light and heat. They need to be stored in a cool, dry area. You can also store them in a vacuum or re-sealable bag and store them in the refrigerator. Make sure that as much air as you can is out of the bags.

Cut: After getting what you need, make sure that you wrap the rest in plastic wrap and then store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. To keep them from drying out, avoid any exposure to air. If you plan to keep the cut limes for a while, check them occasionally, and if you see pieces that are starting to spoil, remove them and throw them away. 

When storing cut or sliced limes, make sure that the flesh of the lime is pressed against the surface of the container to keep them from drying out too fast. If they start to dry out, throw them away as they are no longer good. 

Fresh squeezed: Keep it in a jar or sealed container in the refrigerator.

Store-bought: If the bottle has not been opened you can keep it in the cabinet or pantry as long as you keep it away from direct sunlight and the area is dry and cool. If the lime juice comes from the refrigerated section of the store, it has to be stored in the refrigerator. Make sure that the opened bottles are kept tightly sealed and stored in the refrigerator.

Can you Freeze Limes?

Yes, you can freeze limes. When freezing limes, you need to make sure that you have washed and dried them before you cut them into slices or quarters. Place them on a tray and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a zip-lock freezer bag. The frozen slices can be taken out as needed and put in a drink. You can also freeze lime juice.

Just squeeze the juice into a container and then pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, put the ice cubes in a freezer zip-lock bag and when you need some juice, grab one or two cubes.

How to Tell Limes are Bad?

One of the best ways to tell that your limes are bad is by smelling them. They may also develop a soft texture. The green skin will also start to be replaced with a light brown color as they start to go bad. They also start to dry out on the inside while the more tell-tale signs will appear on the outside. They may also have grey-blue specs of mold.

With lime juice, if it does not smell like fresh citrus juice, there is a change in the appearance, or it tastes unpleasant or acidic, throw it away.

How Long Do Limes Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

The actual shelf life of limes depends on a variety of factors as there is usually no sell-by-date so you should go by the purchase date. They do have a long shelf life if stored correctly. For freshly squeezed lime juice, you can store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.

LimesCounter/PantryRefrigerator
Fresh Cut2-3 weeks1-2 months
Juice Resealable Bottle Opened2-4 weeks2 months from opening
Juice Resealable Bottle Unopened12-18 months6 months past expiration date

Health Benefits

  • A great source of antioxidants to help protect your body cells from ruination
  • Boosts your immune system with a high content of vitamin C
  • Can help to decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
  • Improve the state of your skin
  • Prevents the formation of kidney stones
  • Allows your body to absorb iron better
  • A good preventive method for certain cancers.

How to Use Limes

  • To infuse water and make refreshing summer drinks
  • Season meats
  • Add zing to desserts

Conclusion

  • Organic limes keep for less time than commercially grown limes.
  • Sometimes, when you purchase them in a pack, it will be labeled with the date they were packed into the container so you can use this date to figure out the approximate eat-by date but individual limes usually will not have this.
  • Limes are something that you should keep around the house as they have many health benefits and are great for adding flavor to foods and plain water.
  • Store them correctly and they will have a long shelf life. 
  • Yes, limes do go bad but if they are properly stored you will be able to use a lime up before it does. 
  • Although it is advisable to cut lemons for freezing, you can freeze them whole but when you thaw them, they will be mushy and probably just be good for juice.
  • To defrost frozen limes, you can submerge them in cold water for about 15 minutes.
  • When buying limes, look for ones that are firm to the touch and have a uniform lime color.

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