Lime juice is a handy ingredient to have in your fridge or pantry. It adds bright, citrusy flavor to everything from guacamole to marinades to dressings. But it can go bad relatively quickly once exposed to air. So how long does lime juice last after squeezing?
Squeezed lime juice will last:
- Room Temperature: 5-7 days
- Refrigerator: 2-3 weeks
- Freezer: 6-8 months
To maximize freshness, store lime juice in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Also, add a bit of lemon or lime zest when freezing to help preserve flavor.
Signs that lime juice has gone bad include mold, foul odors, and loss of tart flavor. Discard if you see any of these.
How to Tell if Lime Juice Has Gone Bad
Here are some tips for identifying spoiled lime juice:
- Check expiration or squeeze date: If it’s past this, toss.
- Look for mold: Discard if mold is visible.
- Smell: Fresh lime juice has a bright, citrusy scent. If it smells unpleasant or funky, it’s time to get rid of it.
- Taste: Bad lime juice will taste bitter, moldy, or lacking in tartness. Trust your tastebuds!
- Texture and appearance: Fresh lime juice should be bright green. It will start to look murky and separate as it goes bad.
If you notice any of the above signs, err on the side of caution and throw away lime juice that seems even a little off. It’s not worth risking foodborne illness.
Lime Juice Storage Times
How long squeezed lime juice stays fresh depends heavily on how you store it. Here are some general guidelines for maximize shelf life:
At room temperature, lime juice will stay good for 5-7 days. Keep it in a sealed container in a cool, dark spot like a pantry.
Under refrigeration, lime juice lasts 2-3 weeks. Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge.
For long term storage, freeze lime juice in ice cube trays or jars. It will keep for 6-8 months in an airtight container. Be sure to leave a bit of headspace as liquids expand when freezing.
To help lime juice keep its flavor during freezing, you can add a bit of lime zest or lemon juice. The acidity helps prevent degradation.
Other ways to extend the shelf life of lime juice include:
- Squeeze lime juice right before using. Don’t let it sit around in a squirt bottle.
- Store in opaque, airtight containers and minimize exposure to light and air.
- Add some lime zest, lemon juice, or oil when freezing to help preserve flavor.
- Portion into ice cube trays or small jars before freezing for easy use.
Following proper storage methods and using your senses to check for freshness is the best way to avoid spoiled lime juice.
How to Store Fresh Limes to Extract Juice Later
To save fresh lime juice for later, start by storing the limes properly:
- Leave limes on counter if using within 1-2 weeks.
- Store in the crisper drawer of the fridge in a plastic bag if using within 2-4 weeks.
- Place whole limes in a freezer bag in the freezer to preserve for 2-3 months.
Then, when ready to use:
- Thaw frozen limes overnight in the fridge before juicing.
- Wash limes just before juicing to maximize freshness.
- Roll limes firmly on the counter before juicing to maximize yield.
- Squeeze by hand or use a citrus juicer.
- Strain juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove pulp and seeds.
- Store juice according to refrigerator or freezer guidelines.
Proper storage of whole limes allows you to create fresh, homemade lime juice whenever needed.
What Happens When Lime Juice Goes Bad?
There are a few things that can happen when lime juice goes bad:
- Mold growth – If left too long, lime juice can start to grow mold. This is often the first sign it has spoiled.
- Off odors – Bad lime juice will start to smell funky, unpleasant, or rotten as bacteria grows.
- Loss of acidity – As it spoils, lime juice will become less tart and acidic. The flavor will become flat and muted.
- Change in texture – Separation, sliminess, or cloudiness are indications lime juice has deteriorated.
- Bitter taste – Rancid lime juice often develops a distinct bitter, unpleasant taste.
If you notice any of these signs, toss the lime juice. Consuming spoiled lime juice can potentially cause unpleasant stomach issues, so it’s not worth taking any risks.
How to Use Up Lime Juice
If you have lime juice that’s close to expiring, here are some quick ways to use it up:
- Make ceviche or poke bowl marinade
- Mix into guacamole
- Use in a marinade or dressing for fish
- Whisk together for an easy salad dressing
- Add to chilled soups like gazpacho
- Flavor iced tea, lemonade, or cocktails
- Mix with olive oil for a finishing drizzle over tacos, fajitas, etc.
- Stir into rice for a citrusy accent
- Blend into smoothies
Lime juice adds a bright pop of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Use it to spike up anything from dips and dressings to seafood and margaritas before it goes bad!
Can You Freeze Lime Juice?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze lime juice to extend its shelf life. Here’s how:
- Squeeze fresh lime juice and strain out pulp and seeds.
- Pour juice into ice cube trays, leaving a bit of headspace.
- Once frozen, pop cubes out and store in an airtight freezer bag or container.
- Frozen lime juice cubes can be tossed directly into recipes or drinks.
- For best flavor, use within 6-8 months.
You can also freeze lime juice in small jars or silicone molds. Just be sure to leave room at the top for expansion.
Adding a bit of lime zest, lemon juice, or oil before freezing helps retain the bright, fresh flavor.
One more tip: label cubes or containers with the date before freezing. This makes it easier to use the oldest ones first when grabbing from the freezer.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Lime Juice?
Previously frozen lime juice that has thawed can be safely refrozen, though the texture and flavor may degrade over time.
To refreeze thawed lime juice:
- Check that it still smells and tastes fresh before refreezing.
- Make sure juice has not been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours before refreezing.
- Pour into a freezer bag, rigid container, or ice cube trays.
- Remove as much air from the container as possible.
- Freeze for up to 2 months and use as soon as possible after thawing again.
The loss of quality from multiple freezes may be more noticeable in lime juice than with heartier ingredients. For best results, try to use thawed lime juice right away instead of refreezing if possible.
Squeezed lime juice can go bad relatively quickly if not stored properly. For best quality and safety, use lime juice within 5-7 days at room temperature, 2-3 weeks in the fridge, or 6-8 months in the freezer.
Check lime juice for signs of spoilage like mold, off odors, bitterness, separation, or cloudiness. If it seems at all iffy, play it safe and discard.
Proper storage in airtight containers and minimizing exposure to air and light helps maximize lime juice’s shelf life. Add a bit of zest, lemon juice, or oil before freezing to help retain bright, fresh flavor.
With the right storage methods, you can enjoy fresh, tangy lime juice for months after squeezing. Just keep an eye out for any signs of spoilage and use it up promptly once thawed or opened. Taking a few simple precautions will help avoid wasting this zesty citrus juice.