The zing and freshness that limes bring to the dishes are almost irreplaceable. Not to forget the delicious lemonade that makes summers more bearable. And, of course, how can we skip past the tantalizing cocktails that remain incomplete without limes?
All in all, limes have a multitude of benefits and usages, which is why you’ll always find limes in everybody’s refrigerators. But what if you go out of town and come back after a few weeks? Will the limes in your refrigerator retain their freshness, quality, and taste after you are back home from an exhausting trip? Well, not always.
Along with a definitive answer, we shall explain a few ways to help you store your limes. Once you reach the end of this article, we are sure you will have all the necessary information about limes and how fast they go bad.
But before we move towards those details, you should know the art of picking the right limes.
Things To Know Before Buying Limes
Lemons or limes are not just food items; they are the grocery essentials we all always want to stock up on. These citrus fruits or, say, vegetables can sometimes be tricky to pick. But since we want them to last longer, we are sure you don’t mind learning those tricks.
Limes start their growth when they are green and turn into different shades, sometimes lighter green and other times yellow. So if you don’t plan on using them instantly, getting green limes would be a good option.
Some limes can have tiny nipples, but those are the limes you should avoid. Go for limes that are rounder and nipple free.
To make sure they don’t go bad sooner, get limes that are soft and not hard as a rock. The heavier your lime, the more will be juice in it.
They are available in different colors, types, and sizes. A lighter green or yellow simply means that a particular part of lime just got more exposed to the sun than the rest. To check if your limes are perfect, give them a little squeeze. An ideal lime will firmly fit in your hand without getting squashed easily. Moreover, its skin would be waxy and shiny.
So yes, that was all you need to know if you want to buy limes that last longer. Now the question arises if they go bad or if you can use them forever. Well, here’s your answer.
Do Limes Really Go Bad?
Just like any kitchen staple, limes do go bad real quick. But that could be delayed when you consider a few tips stated above while buying them. In case you have had them for a long time, we suggest looking for signs of spoilage.
So let’s wait for no further and know how to tell if the limes you have are fine or have just gone bad and need to be thrown away.
How can you tell if lime has gone bad?
Limes are often used to increase food’s longevity due to their citric property, but limes can go bad despite this function. And here are the ways you can know if your limes/lime are good or have gone bad.
When limes age or are stored improperly, they tend to develop molds. And this is a clear indication of spoilage. You can either use the lime by removing the part or simply discard it if you are a sensitive person. Molds can make you sick, and we do not recommend consuming anything covered with them.
Brown limes are generally dried limes that have been left in improper condition. Consuming such limes may not lead to serious health concerns but will likely make your dish or drink taste bitter. Also, they have significantly less amount of juice.
Yes, sometimes limes can really start smelling a bit off or have an extremely acidic smell. We are talking about the extreme acidity levels, and we recommend not consuming such limes. They might feel okay, but its consumption will surely lead to acidity and an upset stomach.
When a lime goes bad, the next thing you will notice is an extraordinarily soft or mushy texture. These limes generally taste bad, so make sure you avoid them. These limes will generally be more lightweight, and it is the exact way to tell if the limes have gone bad.
When you squeeze such a lime, you will be left with a soft or squishy thing in your hand. It is a complete no-no to consume such limes.
Hence, if you notice any such kind of change in its color, texture, or smell, know that your limes have gone bad. Such limes generally have a higher level of acidity, and we recommend avoiding their consumption.
You can surely avoid these situations if you know the right way to store your limes. So let us know a few ways to store your limes to last you longer and won’t go bad quickly.
How to Store Limes
We know that limes are highly acidic in nature, and acid is a natural preservative; they do go bad after a specific period. Our goal is to make sure they last us long enough that we don’t end up wasting them.
So storing them needs a little bit of your attention, whether you have fresh limes, limes half cut, half squeezed, or jarred ones. And so here’s what you should know.
If you have a fresh bundle of limes straight out of the farm, you can store them out of the refrigerator for several days. Just make sure they are stored in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from a direct source of heat and sunlight.
If you do not plan to finish them up sooner, we recommend storing them in a refrigerator. Transfer them to a resealable bag, and squeeze out the air. Just ensure soaking limes in water and vinegar for 30 minutes.
With half-cut limes, things are a bit different. You will need refrigeration. Wrap lime pieces in plastic wrap and keep them in a tightly sealed container in a refrigerator. The goal is to prevent them from drying out. Before you plan to use them, just make sure they are fine.
When it comes to storing lime juice, you don’t have much to worry about. Simply transfer the juice to a tightly sealable jar or bottle and keep it in a refrigerator. This is the best way to make the most out of limes without ending up wasting them. If you keep freshly squeezed lime juice out for longer, it will soon turn acidic.
But store-bought lime juice can be stored out in a kitchen cabinet or a pantry until the bottle is unopened. They contain an ample amount of preservatives and so won’t get bad quickly. Once opened, make sure the jar or bottle is tightly sealed, and it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark place, preferably in a refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Limes? How long can limes last in freezer?
Freezing your limes is a good choice when you are heading out of town or not planning to use limes for the next few months. It likely increases their overall shelf life.
To freeze limes, simply wash and dry them. Cut them into pieces and put them in a freezing tray or a freezer bag. These frozen limes are good to add to your drinks. You can enjoy it for a longer duration.
How Long Do Limes Last?
Limes’ citric property makes them a long-lasting kitchen staple. Storing them right as well matters the most when it comes to shelf life.
How long do limes last at room temperature?
But, generally speaking, freshly bought limes can stay in a kitchen pantry for a week. The shelf life of limes is two to three weeks when stored in a refrigerator. If you decide to store your limes in a vacuum bag, then it will last even longer, for three to six months.
How long do limes last after the cut?
Lime pieces should be consumed within three to four days. They are exposed to oxygen which can eventually lead to spoilage. On the other hand, freshly extracted lime juice is at the peak of its freshness for three to four days.
You can surely consume it later than that till the next three to four months when adequately frozen. It won’t likely get spoiled, but make sure you discard it if it does.
If you have store-bought lime juice, look for the best by date. An unopened bottle of lime juice will last for 12 to 20 months. If it’s past its expiry date, make sure you consume it within two months.
How long do limes last in water?
Placing the lemon slices in water can allow them to remain fresh for 3-4 hours at room temperature. After a certain time period, the lime pieces will turn soggy. You can also place them in the refrigerator if you want them to last for at least 2 to 3 days.
How long do limes last in fridge?
Whole limes last for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. You can extend it to 5 weeks by storing them in a freezer bag. But if you have cut lemons, they will degrade after 3-4 days.
How to Defrost Limes?
If you have gone down the road of freezing your limes, you will have to thaw them in the right manner as well. But the process is quite easy as far as limes are concerned.
All you will have to do is place the frozen limes in the microwave and let it do the magic for around 15-20 seconds. If the microwave is not an option, you can also place them under running hot water for 5-10 seconds.
This will allow you to remove more juice from limes.
What happens if you use expired Limes?
Consuming anything that is spoiled or gone bad indeed takes lots of courage. But trust us, it is the last thing you want to be courageous for.
Spoiled limes and lime juice can be highly acidic. This can likely make you feel nauseous and lead to headaches and some weakness. Acidity can also be one of the side effects of consuming spoiled limes.
If you often have an upset stomach or are sensitive to bad food, limes are a complete no-no for your health.
So make sure to discard them if you notice any signs of spoilage.
Lime Health Benefits
Apart from adding a zesty kick to your food and drinks, limes provide the following health benefits:
1. The antioxidants present in limes help reduce inflammation.
2. It prevents kidney stones.
3. The presence of Vitamin C ensures faster healing from infections and diseases.
4. It aids in tooth and bone development.
5. It helps strengthen your immune system.
What are the Alternatives to Limes if it has gone bad?
If your dish requires the zestiness of limes, but you can’t seem to find a fresh one in your pantry, you can use the following alternatives:
- White wine
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
Is a lime still good if it turns yellow?
Do not throw away your limes as soon as they turn yellow because such limes are more juicier and less acidic than the green ones. You will also find them to be sweeter and more zesty.
Is it okay to leave freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice overnight at room temperature?
Since it lacks preservatives, freshly squeezed homemade lime or lemon juice must be consumed within a few hours. You can also refrigerate it and elongate its shelf life.
How long does lemon-infused water last?
Lemon-infused water will last for three days before losing its flavor, given that you refrigerate it. You can drink it after that given period, but you will notice changes in its taste.
Why do limes get hard?
Limes get hard when they lose moisture, and their rinds become hard. But you can prevent it from happening by storing them properly.
Why are my limes Brown inside?
Limes turn brown when the sap gets sucked from the fruit’s interior. One must consider it as a sign of rotting, and such limes must be discarded.
So you have come a long way, and we hope by now you know a lot about limes. Talking about its shelf life, freshly bought limes can last for two to three weeks max and not more. Once chopped, it will last for three days and soon start to dry up.
However, if you want to use limes for a longer duration, extract the juice as it will last for three to four months. Make sure you store it in a tightly sealed container.
Freezing limes or lime juice works perfectly if you do not plan to use it any sooner than a few weeks. But if you notice any change in its color, texture, smell, or taste, make sure you discard them.
Consuming anything that is spoiled can be extremely bad for your health.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.