Do Lemons Go Bad?

Do lemons go bad or not? You can make lemons last for a long time if you store them properly and use them wisely. Here's a simple guide.

When life gives you lemons, everything’s actually pretty good.

With 64% of your daily recommended Vitamin C in 100g and numerous phytochemicals per fruit, lemons make a healthy addition to a balanced diet.

When life gives you bad lemons, now that’s something to worry about.

Today, we’re running down how to spot a lemon that’s gone off, how to store your lemons, plus how long they’ll last?

What’s the rundown?

Whole lemons last ages if you store them right (think airtight container plus cold space). When you’re ready to use them, look for soft spots or green fuzz. If you don’t see any – you’re probably good to go.

Related:Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?Do Limes Go Bad?Do Oranges Go Bad?

Have My Lemons Gone Bad?

First things first. You should know how to spot a fresh lemon, so you can pick one out at the grocery store. Fresh lemons are bright, with a yellow rind, tart taste, and citrus smell. They should also be firm to the touch.

Your lemons will go dry and taste weird before they actually start going bad. This dryness is the first part of the aging process – your lemons aren’t unsafe to eat at this point, though they may not be particularly nice.

When your lemons start going bad, they’ll exhibit these signs:

  • Your lemons will start to smell less strong.
  • There will be soft or squishy spots on the lemons.
  • If you find a layer of slime on the rind, chuck your lemon out.
  • If bacteria has overgrown your lemon, you’ll find mold. It may look like green fuzz.

How Do I Store My Lemons?

Before you even think about storing your lemons, make sure you know how to spot a good lemon at the grocery store first. Scroll up again if you missed that.

Once you’re fine, the countertop is an okay place to store your lemons. A cool, dry place like a cupboard or pantry is better, though.

However, if you really want to store lemons the right way, then keep them in the refrigerator. You can either store them loose or in an airtight container. This will seal in the moisture and prevent the lemon from drying out, which is the first step of the aging process.

Once you’ve cut your lemons, wrap them tightly in cling film, or put the slices/wedges in a freezer bag and squeeze out the air. This will create a seal between your lemon and everything else that’s in your refrigerator.

How Long Will My Lemons Last?

Want to know the good news?

Lemons stay good for longer than most other fruits, because their rind is thick, preventing bacteria and bugs from feasting on the sugar inside.

Expect a whole lemon to last 7 days on the countertop, 10 days in the pantry, and 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. If you seal your lemons properly, in the way that we described above, they can last for over a month.

Cut lemons will last only 3-4 days in the refrigerator. They won’t go bad that fast, but they will dry up, because a larger proportion of the surface area is wet flesh.

In the freezer, expect your lemons to last 2-3 months.

The Lowdown On Lemons

Lemons last a pretty long time (sometimes over a month in the refrigerator), thanks to their thick rind.

To make the most of this natural protection, don’t cut your lemons until you’re using them, as cut lemons only last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.