We all know that freshly squeezed lemon juice adds incredible flavor to recipes and drinks. But, does lemon juice go bad? It can be confusing trying to figure out how long you can store it for before you should disposing of it due to it going bad.
Luckily, with this blog post we’ll provide detailed advice on how best to handle your precious stockpile of fresh lemon juice so that it will remain fresh for as long as possible!
What Is Lemon Juice?
Lemon juice is a versatile and tangy liquid extracted from the bright yellow fruits known as lemons. It is a common ingredient used in a variety of culinary dishes, beverages, and even cleaning solutions due to its acidic and refreshing properties.
Whether it’s freshly squeezed from ripe lemons or commercially packaged, lemon juice is cherished for its zesty flavor and various applications.
How Does Lemon Juice Taste Like?
Lemon juice carries a distinct and invigorating taste that is both sour and slightly sweet. The natural citric acid present in the juice gives it its characteristic tanginess.
Health Benefits of Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is not only appreciated for its flavor, but also for its potential health advantages:
- Rich in vitamin C
- Supports the immune system
- Aid in digestion
- Contributes to skin health
- Natural acidity helps balance the body’s pH levels
Additionally, the presence of citric acid may assist in dissolving kidney stones and promoting overall kidney health.
Does Lemon Juice Go Bad Over Time?
Does lemon juice go bad really? Yes, like most foods and beverages, lemon juice can go bad over time. However, the shelf life of lemon juice varies depending on how it’s stored and whether it’s freshly squeezed or commercially packaged.
The longevity of lemon juice is determined by both factors that play a vital role.
How Long Does Lemon Juice Lasts?
Lemon juice, a very acidic substance, is a staple in many kitchens. But how long does lemon juice last?
Like lemon juice, other fruit juices also have varying shelf lives depending on whether they’re homemade or store-bought. Knowing its shelf life can save you from a sour experience.
1. Store-Bought Lemon Juice
The convenience of store-bought lemon juice is hard to beat. An unopened bottle of this variety can last a few months past its printed expiration date when stored properly.
Thanks to the added and natural preservatives and pasteurization process, opened bottles of commercially bottled lemon juice can last between 6-12 months when refrigerated.
Even unrefrigerated bottled lemon juice can retain its quality for about 12 to 18 months if it contains preservatives and is properly stored.
2. Freshly Squeezed Juice
Freshly squeezed lemon juice shelf life is significantly shorter than its store-bought counterpart. If refrigerated in a sealed container, freshly squeezed lemon juice can last about 3 to 4 days.
But don’t worry; you can extend the life of your homemade citrus squeeze! Freshly squeezed lemon juice can be kept for up to six months in your freezer. Just remember to store lime juice in an airtight container to preserve its zesty flavor.
3. Preservative-Free Lemon Juice
If you prefer all-natural products, preservative-free lemon juice is a great choice. However, its shelf life is shorter than lemon juice with preservatives.
Once opened, it should be fine for at least half a year if stored in a dark place and properly sealed.
4. Lemon Juice Concentrate
Lemon juice concentrate, a condensed form of this zesty liquid, exhibits impressive longevity under specific storage conditions.
When stored unopened in a cool and dark place, this concentrated essence can maintain its quality for an extended period. The cool and dark environment helps preserve the potent flavors and beneficial properties inherent in lemon juice.
How to Tell if Lemon Juice Has Gone Bad
Spoiled lemon juice exhibits several telltale signs. You can tell if lemon juice has gone bad when it shows following signs:
- Change in Color: Fresh lemon juice is usually a clear, slightly yellow color. If your refrigerated lemon juice has turned a darker shade, the lemon juice is bad.
- Change in Smell: Lemon juice has a fresh, tangy smell. If the aroma has changed to a sour or unpleasant scent, it’s a sign that the lemon juice has spoiled.
- Change in Taste: Bad lemon juice will have an off taste that’s distinctly different from its fresh, tangy flavor. If it tastes strange or unpleasant, it’s best to discard it.
- Mold Growth: This is a clear sign of spoilage. If you see any mold, discoloration, or cloudy strands floating in your refrigerated lemon juice, it’s time to throw it out.
- Change in Texture: Fresh lemon juice is typically quite fluid. A thicker texture might indicate that the lemon juice has spoiled.
Does Lemon Juice Expire?
Yes, lemon juice does expire. Freshly squeezed lemon juice may last up to 4 days in the fridge, while store-bought varieties, especially those containing preservatives, can stay fresh for about 12 to 18 months if unopened.
We like to use a metal lemon squeezer like this one for juicing lemons!
Just like other juices, lemon juice has a best before date and it’s important not to take a tiny sip of old lemon juice past this date to avoid food poisoning. Unrefrigerated lemon juice that’s sold unopened can keep for a couple of months past the printed date.
When using concentrate diluted, ensure to adhere to the storage guidelines on the bottle of lemon juice to keep it fresh. Always check for signs of spoilage in citrus juice, like a change in color, smell, or taste.
How to Store Lemon Juice to Avoid Spoilage?
Storing lemon juice properly is the key to extending the shelf life of lemon juice. Here is how can you store lemon juice:
- Refrigerate: Always store lemon juice in the refrigerator to slow down the growth of bacteria and mold.
- Seal Well: Use an airtight container or tightly seal the juice bottle after each use to prevent exposure to air and bacteria.
- Use Quickly: Try to use the juice within several days for the best quality and taste.
- Avoid Cross Contamination: Always use a clean spoon or pour directly from the bottle to avoid introducing bacteria into the juice.
Shielding lemon juice from excess air and light in airtight or sealed containers prevents the formation of the breeding ground for spoilage agents.
Can You Freeze Lemon Juice?
Yes, you can freeze lemon juice. To do so, pour the lemon juice into ice cube tray and place this ice cube tray in the freezer.
Once they’re frozen, transfer the lemon juice ice cubes to the freezer-safe bag or container for long-term storage.
This method not only preserves the juice, but also allows for convenient portioning when needed.
Culinary Uses of Homemade Lemon Juice
Homemade lime juice is a culinary powerhouse that can enhance a wide range of dishes.
Does Lemon Juice Go Bad: Conclusion
In conclusion, lemon juice, whether freshly squeezed or commercially bottled, is a delightful and beneficial ingredient that can elevate the taste and healthiness of various dishes and beverages.
While lemon juice does have a shelf life, proper storage can significantly extend its usability. Whether you’re aiming to boost your immune system or add a burst of flavor to your culinary creations, keeping a bottle of fresh juice of fresh lemons handy can be a valuable addition to your kitchen.
Always remember to store it correctly and be attentive to the usual signs of spoilage to fully enjoy its benefits.