Lemons are a simple fruit when it comes to storage: just throw them in the fridge and you’re good to go. With that in mind, though, slices, wedges, and zest all do have slightly more specific requirements if you want to keep them fresh for as long as possible.
When life gives you lemons, don’t leave them out to dry. Instead, take those lemons, keep them neat and fresh for a good long while, and then use them to give your meals (and drinks) that extra oomph you’ve been looking for. How’s that for an idea?
While they won’t stay fresh indefinitely, lemons are a fruit that won’t ever require special maintenance to keep from expiring. There are, however, some things you can do to lengthen their shelf-life. Let us explain in the next couple of sections!
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How to Store Lemons Properly?
A huge boon for those who enjoy keeping things simple, just put your lemons in the fridge to add an extra couple of weeks to their expiration date. If only every fruit and vegetable were so simple to store, right?
If you feel particularly fancy, though, you could also throw your lemons into an airtight food container (Check out this one from Oggi) to extend their shelf-life even further. Any old produce keeper will do, really, as long as your lemons are well-refrigerated and nicely packed.
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Can I Freeze Lemons, Too?
Lemons aren’t particularly susceptible to chilling injuries, which means this fruit is a terrific candidate for you to freeze for months at a time. Unlike many other fruits and veggies, lemons do not lose out on taste after being thoroughly chilled, which makes them even more of a mainstay in our kitchens.
If you want to freeze a batch of lemons, just throw them into a freezer bag (here’s one of our favorites), get as much air out of it as possible, and then close it up. This will add months to your lemons’ expected shelf-life on the countertop.
- Includes 90 freezer gallon bags
- Each food storage bag holds 1 gallon
- Reclosable top has a double zipper closure
What If I Want To Keep My Lemons Displayed In A Bowl?
Being the lovely, visually appealing fruit that they are, lemons are understandably a bit of a mainstay in many kitchens. Many of us love to use them as decorations in our bowls, as their vivid yellow really makes them pop. Sadly, this isn’t good if you don’t intend to actually use your lemons anytime soon.
The main problem you’ll have while trying to keep lemons fresh is that they’re prone to excessive drying. The issue is virtually impossible to subvert as it’s the natural progression of the fruit unless you refrigerate it.
At room temperature, you’ll get about a week of time before having to throw the lemon out. A far cry from the weeks and months you could get out of it if you throw it into the fridge instead.
Is It Better To Cut Lemons Up Before Refrigeration, Or To Keep Them Whole?
Keeping your lemons intact will ensure that they stay fresh for as long as humanly possible. But that doesn’t mean that you have to throw out perfectly good slices, wedges, and halves after you have no immediate need for them.
Namely, there are many cool bits of houseware available on the market, like this one, that are specifically designed to keep various types of fruit and vegetables fresh after you have already cut them up.
- Store leftover Lemon and citrus to stay fresh and odor free
- Cleverly shaped like a Lemon; helps to organize your fridge in style; stackable
- Can be flipped to use for dips
If that’s not an option for you, zip-lock bags and plastic containers will do the trick just fine. For those who want to err on the side of caution, it may be a good idea to individually wrap each piece with food wrap before refrigeration, too.
How Long Can Lemons be Safely Stored?
Depending on how you keep your lemons, they could very well dry out in less than a week, or stay fresh and zesty for months at a time.
Naturally, simply leaving the lemons in a bowl on the countertop is the worst-case scenario. At best, you’ll have six or seven days to use it all up. This will extend to up to a month just by packing the lemons away and refrigerating them normally.
Finally, frozen lemons will easily keep for four months or more, depending on the actual quality of the lemons themselves.
Small bits of leftover lemon, such as wedges and slices, however, should be used within the week of them being cut open, even if you did get them to a refrigerator virtually immediately.
How To Tell If My Lemons Have Expired?
The most obvious indicator of lemons expiring will be that they had dried out over time. This is easy to recognize both visually and if you actually pick the fruit up, as it will be desiccated-looking and lighter than is usual.
Any signs of mold development should be taken to heart, but keep in mind that excessive squishiness and sliminess are also signifiers of expiration. Lemons don’t really spoil easily, but it can happen.
Lemon Storage Mistakes to Avoid!
Ethylene is a major consideration when it comes to the proper long-term storage of lemons. Keep them away from apples, bananas, apricots, and any other ethylene-rich fruits, as they will inevitably get your lemons to spoil way sooner than they otherwise would.
Store Your Lemons to Keep Them Fresh
Overall, lemons are an easy fruit to keep, and an exceedingly useful one at that, too. Generally, the safest bet with lemons will always be to keep them refrigerated. That way, you’ll have quick and easy access to the zesty buggers if you need them, and you still won’t have to worry about them going bad in a matter of seconds after coming home from the store.
The fridge really does seem like a winner, as far as lemon storage goes. If you want to give a try to something a bit different, you could always try dropping the lemons into a jug filled with water to see if that keeps them fresh even longer.
See? It’s not all bad when life gives you lemons – at least they won’t expire right away.