Can you eat an expired lime?

Limes are a versatile citrus fruit used to add flavor to drinks, marinades, and other dishes. They have a tart, sour taste that pairs well with sweet and savory flavors. While limes last for a decent amount of time in the fridge, they will eventually expire. This leads many to wonder – can you still eat an expired lime and, if so, when does a lime actually go bad?

How long do limes last?

Fresh limes can last 2-4 weeks when stored in the refrigerator. Some signs that a lime has gone bad are mold growth, a dried out appearance, and foul odor. An expired lime is safe to eat as long as there are no signs of spoilage.

Here is a table showing approximately how long limes last when stored properly in the fridge:

Type of Lime Refrigerator (35 – 40°F)
Whole limes 2-4 weeks
Cut limes 3-5 days
Lime juice 4-6 months

As you can see, whole, uncut limes last 2-4 weeks when stored properly in the refrigerator. Cut limes have a shorter shelf life of only 3-5 days. Lime juice can last 4-6 months refrigerated in an airtight container.

How to tell if a lime has gone bad

There are a few signs that indicate your lime has spoiled and is no longer good to eat:

– Mold growth. You may see fuzzy mold growing on the peel or pulp of the lime. This is a clear sign to throw it away.

– Dried out appearance. A spoiled lime will start to look shriveled and dried out rather than plump and bright green.

– Brown or soft spots. Any brown, soft spots on the peel or pulp is a red flag for spoilage.

– Foul odor. Give your lime a sniff. If it smells unpleasant or off, it’s time to say goodbye. A fresh lime should have a bright, citrusy smell.

– Texture changes. The pulp inside will start to lose its firmness and become dry or mushy.

– Lime juice spoilage. The juice will take on a bitter, medicinal taste. Cloudiness or a change in color signals it’s no longer good.

If you notice any of these signs, err on the side of caution and throw out the lime. Consuming spoiled lime can potentially make you sick.

Is it safe to eat an expired lime?

So can you actually eat a lime that’s past its prime? The answer is maybe, depending on a few factors.

If the lime has been stored properly in the refrigerator and there are no outward signs of spoilage like mold, dryness, or bad odor, an expired lime is likely still safe to eat.

The acidic environment of limes makes it difficult for dangerous bacteria like salmonella or E. coli to grow. So even if it’s a little past its prime, the lime likely won’t make you sick.

That being said, the texture and flavor will be compromised. An expired lime probably won’t taste as tart or have the same juiciness. It may have an off flavor.

The peel may also become bitter. So while an expired lime won’t hurt you, it won’t provide that bright pop of flavor you expect from a fresh lime either. It’s up to you whether you want to use it or not.

Here are some other factors to consider when deciding if you can eat an expired lime:

– Has it been refrigerated? A lime left on the counter will spoil faster than one refrigerated. If it’s been sitting out, it’s not worth the risk.

– Has it been cut? Cut limes deteriorate faster. A whole, uncut lime holds up better over time.

– Do you have a compromised immune system? People who are very young, elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised are at higher risk for foodborne illness and should avoid expired produce.

When in doubt, remember it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the lime is more than a week or two past its prime, has any discoloration or smells bad, don’t risk it.

How to store limes to extend shelf life

Proper storage is key to getting the most out of your limes and preventing premature spoilage. Here are some lime storage tips:

– Keep limes refrigerated. The cold temperature of the fridge slows spoilage.

– Store limes loose, not in an air-tight container. They need airflow to prevent mold.

– Keep whole limes. Don’t cut or juice them until you’re ready to use.

– Wash limes just before use. Washing removes protective coating.

– Wrap cut limes tightly in plastic wrap. This prevents drying out.

– Place lime juice in an airtight container. Leave some headspace and store in the fridge.

– Freeze lime juice in ice cube trays for longer storage.

Following these guidelines, you should be able to keep fresh limes for 2-4 weeks and cut limes for 3-5 days refrigerated.

Can you freeze limes?

Yes, freezing is a great long-term storage method for limes. The cold temperature prevents spoilage while maintaining flavor and juice content.

Here are some tips for successfully freezing limes:

– Select fresh, firm limes without blemishes or soft spots. Avoid limes that are overripe.

– Wash and dry limes thoroughly before freezing.

– Zest limes before juicing if desired. The zest can be frozen too.

– Cut limes in half and juice them. Pour juice into freezer safe container. Leave 1⁄2 inch headspace to allow for expansion.

– For wedges or slices, place cut limes in single layer on tray and freeze solid. Transfer to freezer bags removing as much air as possible.

– Seal containers or bags tightly. Label with contents and freeze date.

– Frozen lime juice will last 6-8 months. Wedges and slices keep 2-3 months.

Thaw frozen lime juice overnight in the fridge before using. Lime slices and wedges can be thawed slightly at room temp before adding to beverages or recipes.

How long does lime juice last in the fridge?

Properly stored, lime juice can last 4-6 months refrigerated. To get the full shelf life:

– Squeeze juice from fresh limes. Avoid old or overripe limes.

– Strain out pulp and seeds for smoother consistency.

– Pour juice into airtight containers, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Glass jars or plastic containers work well.

– Make sure containers are clean and dry before use.

– Seal lids tightly. Refrigerate.

– Check containers occasionally for mold growth. Discard if any mold is present.

– For best quality, use refrigerated lime juice within 2 months.

– If juice develops cloudiness, off odor or strange flavor, it has spoiled and should be discarded.

With proper refrigeration, lime juice retains its bright, tart taste for several months. It’s ideal for use in dressings, marinades, drinks and other recipes calling for the acidic kick of fresh limes.

Does lime juice go bad if not refrigerated?

Unfortunately lime juice does go bad if left unrefrigerated. The high acidity of lime juice doesn’t prohibit all microbial growth. Yeasts and molds can develop over time, causing spoilage.

Here’s how long you can expect lime juice to last if kept at room temperature:

– Countertop: 2-3 days

– Pantry: 1 week

Signs that unrefrigerated lime juice has spoiled:

– Cloudiness

– Changes in texture – thicker or chunky

– Strange flavor – bitter, fermented, or “off” taste

– Mold growing on surface

– Fizzing or bubbling

For food safety, it’s important to discard lime juice left out more than a day or two. The spoilage microbes can cause health issues if consumed.

To avoid waste, only squeeze out small batches of lime juice to use right away. Store the remaining whole limes in the fridge. For any juice you can’t use up quickly, make sure to refrigerate in an airtight container.

Can you freeze reconstituted lime juice?

Reconstituted lime juice is concentrated lime juice that has been diluted with water. This shelf-stable juice lets you enjoy the flavor of fresh limes year-round. But can you safely freeze and thaw it?

The answer is yes. While it may affect quality slightly, reconstituted lime juice can be frozen for extended storage.

Follow these tips for freezing reconstituted lime juice:

– Make sure juice was properly sealed and still within use-by date before reconstituting. Discard if moldy.

– Stir or shake juice well before diluting to fully incorporate any settled concentrate.

– Mix concentrate with amount of water specified on label.

– Pour reconstituted juice into freezer containers, leaving 1⁄2 inch of headspace.

– Seal containers tightly and label with contents and date.

– Lay containers flat in freezer to prevent expansion damage.

– Freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw frozen reconstituted lime juice overnight in the refrigerator before use. Give it a good shake or stir once thawed.

While the taste may degrade slightly, frozen reconstituted lime juice remains safe to consume and provides an easy way to have lime flavor readily available.

How long does reconstituted lime juice last in the fridge?

Once reconstituted, lime juice should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 weeks for best quality.

Follow these guidelines for maximizing the shelf life of reconstituted lime juice:

– Start with unexpired, undamaged concentrate. Inspect before opening.

– Dilute concentrate according to package instructions, usually 1:1 with water.

– Store opened lime concentrate in the fridge and use within 5-7 days.

– Pour diluted juice into clean containers, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace.

– Seal containers tightly and refrigerate.

– Use reconstituted lime juice within 14-21 days.

– Discard if mold appears or juice smells strange or fermented.

With proper refrigeration, reconstituted lime juice stays fresh and retains its bright, tart taste for up to 3 weeks.

Drink diluted juice within 5-7 days for best flavor. Use in recipes within 2-3 weeks. Make sure to keep it chilled.

This provides a convenient way to have lime juice for dressings, marinades, and other recipes on hand in the fridge.


Can you eat expired limes? If stored properly in the fridge, an expired whole lime may still be okay to use if it has no signs of spoilage like mold or dryness. But the flavor and texture will likely be compromised compared to a fresh lime.

For food safety, it’s best to throw out limes more than 2-3 weeks old or those left at room temperature for more than a day or two. Lime juice can last 4-6 months refrigerated.

Freezing limes or lime juice is a great way to extend their shelf life for 6-8 months. With proper handling and storage, it’s possible to enjoy limes and lime juice long after purchase. But discard at any signs of spoilage.

When life gives you expired limes, know they can still add bright flavor to your favorite foods as long as they were stored properly in the fridge and haven’t visibly spoiled. But for the best quality and food safety, try to use limes within 2-4 weeks of purchase.

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