Maybe you’ve got a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice leftover from your baking session.
Or perhaps you’ve just got a half-finished bottle of lemon juice out of your cupboard.
Whatever kind of lemon juice you have, you’ll find answers on how to store lemon juice, how long lemon juice lasts, and how to tell if your lemon juice has gone bad, below.
Want the quick info?
Expect your commercially-bottled lemon juice to last for over a year unopened. But that’s only if it has preservatives in – freshly squeezed lemon juice will only last a few days in the refrigerator, and store-bought lemon juice without preservatives will last 1-2 weeks.
How To Tell If Your Lemon Juice Has Gone Off
Even though lemon juice is acidic, it can go bad, especially if it’s preservative-free – that probably means you’re squeezing your own lemons – or stored at room temperature.
You should follow the appearance, smell, and taste tests, and in that order. First, look for any changes in texture or color, especially a dulling or darkening. Then, smell your lemon juice – if it smells different, it’s time for the bin.
If your lemon juice passes the appearance and smell test, feel free to try a little. Don’t worry – it won’t be unsafe, though it may be unpleasant!
One last thing. If your freshly squeezed lemon juice has been left on the counter for over 24 hours, don’t risk it. Just throw it out.
How To Store Lemon Juice
Freshly squeezed lemon juice should go straight in the refrigerator, either in an old bottle or another resealable airtight container. Since this lemon juice doesn’t have preservatives in, the Vitamin C content will start going down fast, so try to finish your lemon juice soon, or only squeeze as much as you need for the day.
Store-bought lemon juice often has preservatives in, which means it can be stored in the pantry, before it’s been opened. Once it’s opened, reseal tightly and transfer to the refrigerator.
As for store-bought lemon juice without preservatives, store it as you would fresh lemon juice.
How Long Lemon Juice Lasts
Expect freshly squeezed lemon juice to last up to 3 days in the refrigerator, provided you’ve followed the storage instructions above.
As for store-bought bottles of lemon juice, they’ll last for over a year in your pantry and over 6 months once opened in your refrigerator. However, you should note the storage instructions on the packaging, as different quantities of preservatives are used in each brand.
Commercially-bottled lemon juice without preservatives should be used within 1-2 weeks and should always be stored in the refrigerator.
The Lowdown On Lemon Juice
Here are the key takeaways on lemon juice:
- If you’re squeezing lemon juice fresh from the lemon, only squeeze however much you need that day. The rind of the lemon acts as a protective seal, and once you’ve squeezed the lemon, the juice will start depleting in Vitamin C.
- For storage life of over a year unopened and over half a year opened, opt for store-bought lemon juice with preservatives.
- With store-bought lemon juice with preservatives, you can store it at room temperature before it’s open. For freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon juice without preservatives, opt for the refrigerator.