How to Keep Lemons Fresh for Months—Seriously

WWhether you’ve shipped a large amount of lemons home from the supermarket or you have more lemons than you know what to do, keeping lemons fresh can be a challenge. Lemons run the risk of losing their freshness if not used right away—or worse, spoiled before you can add them to recipes. So how to keep lemons fresh for a long time? For advice, we asked the experts for the best tips for prolonging the life of lemons. Here are their recommendations.

How to keep fresh lemons whole

If you buy whole lemons in bulk and want to keep them fresh, store them in the cool of the refrigerator. Natalie Alibrandi, food scientist and CEO of Nali Consulting, previously told Well + Good: “Fruit naturally ripens slower in the fridge because cooler temperatures slow things down. When sealed in a plastic bag or container, lemons can stay fresh for about a month. Just be careful not to store them with products that release ethylene, such as apples and bananas, as it can accelerate the ripening of lemons.

How to keep lemons fresh

According to celebrity chef and nutritionist Serena Poon, once you’ve cut a lemon, they’ll only stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge. That’s because when the fruit is exposed, they quickly lose moisture and are easily colonized by bacteria, as opposed to a lemon with the peel on, which acts as a barrier to protect the edible interior of the fruit. With this in mind, Poon recommends storing them the same way you store whole lemons — in a plastic bag or container in the cooler of the refrigerator to protect against oxidation and rotting.

Can you freeze lemons?

Kristen Carli, MS, RD, founder of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, says yes and adds that lemons can stay fresh for several months in the freezer, regardless of whether they’re whole or cut. “I recommend freezing them in the form you intend to use them,” says Carli. Remember that while lemons will not lose their flavor when frozen, they can become soft or soggy when thawed. However, they will make a good addition to your dishes. When storing in the freezer, use freezer-safe bags to prevent burning in the freezer, and if you plan to store cut lemons, consider freezing them on a plate or pan before transferring them to a bag. to prevent them from sticking together. When you’re ready to use the lemons, simply let the lemons thaw at room temperature or soak them in a bowl of water to speed up the process.

Extra tips on how to keep lemons fresh

Abbey Thiel, PhD, a food scientist and founder of Abbey Food Scientist blog, says there are three main things to consider when it comes to keeping lemons fresh do not have sacrificing their taste or texture.

suitable temperature

First, you want to think about the temperature at which you store the lemons. Ideally, she says, fruit should be stored at about 48°F—warmer than the typical internal temperature of a refrigerator but cooler than ambient at room temperature. To that point, Dr. Thiel, along with other experts, reiterates the importance of keeping fresh lemons tightly sealed in an airtight container if you plan to store them in the refrigerator. She says this method helps keep the lemons insulated and prevents cold damage, which occurs when the fruit is stored in a very cold environment for a long time. When it comes to storing lemons in the freezer, Dr. Thiel says cold injury isn’t the problem, but freezer burn is the problem — either way, keeping lemons in a can can help reduce minimize these risks.

High relative humidity

Dr. Thiel also says it’s important to store lemons in an environment with high relative humidity. “If there’s more water in the air, the water won’t come out of the fruit, which will cause the fruit to wilt or soften,” she says. Storing lemons in an airtight container can help create a more humid environment because it helps prevent water from escaping into the surrounding air.

Limit exposure to oxygen

Finally, Dr. Thiel recommends limiting your lemon’s exposure to oxygen. “You want to seal it off to prevent air from getting in,” she says. Thiel also recommends adding a paper towel to the bottom of the airtight container you’ll be using to store the lemons. “Sometimes, if the fruit respires too much, water is created,” she says, “and you don’t want water to condense on the fruit.” Too much water can be a breeding ground for bacteria—and adding a paper towel will help absorb excess water. If using paper towels, just make sure to change the tissue when it gets damp.

3 products to help keep lemons fresh

Whether you’re refrigerating or freezing lemons, they stay fresh longer when sealed, in a zippered plastic bag, or if you want to avoid single-use plastic, a reusable silicone bag or an airtight container. . All of them can help prolong the shelf life of agricultural products by moisturizing and protecting sensitive fruits and vegetables from the rapid ripening effects of ethylene gas. In addition, these containers can also help keep your refrigerator or freezer organized and tidy.

A pair of sealed boxes with lids

Pair of airtight transparent containers from Rubbermaid

Rubbermaid Brilliance leak-proof food preservation set (2 packs) — $25.00

With a silicone lining and snap-on lid, this pair of BPA-free plastic containers is airtight, leak-proof, and safe to use in the refrigerator or freezer. They have a neatly stacked modular design, which is ideal if you want to save precious space in your kitchen. When cleaning is needed, they can be easily washed by hand or put in the dishwasher. Each of the large containers mentioned above can hold nearly 10 cups worth of product, but they also come in small and medium size options and in sets of four and five to suit your needs.

Reusable silicone bags are safe for the fridge and freezer

Transparent reusable bag with snap closure from Stasher

Stasher, Silicone Reusable Storage Bag — $16.00

If you’re looking for a sustainable alternative to the zippered plastic bags on the market, the Stasher silicone bags are a popular choice loved by Amazon reviewers. It boasts a near-perfect 4.7-star overall rating after weighing more than 30,000 reviewers. Made from food grade silicone, this fridge and freezer safe bag features a simple snap-on closure that prevents leaks and will keep your lemons fresh. Between uses, you can throw it in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. The version pictured above holds half a gallon’s worth of food, but Stasher also makes bags in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and sells multiple packs for those who want to stock up on their bags.

Food hugger to prolong the freshness of cut lemons

Set of 4 food motorbike taxis from Hoan

Complete, Silicone Food Holder (Set 4) — $15.00

If you want to save half a lemon, these food containers will come in handy. They act as a protective barrier between the fruit exposed to the air, which can absorb moisture from the lemon and make it more susceptible to spoilage. To use, simply stretch the food gripper over exposed fruit to create a leak-proof seal. Hugs are made from BPA-free silicone and come in a set of four in a variety of sizes. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean.

frequently asked Questions

How long do lemons last?

Lemons will usually last from a few days to several months, depending on where you store them. Keeping them in the fridge instead of on your kitchen counter can often prolong their freshness. Their shelf life can also vary depending on whether the lemon is whole or sliced ​​— and typically, whole lemons will last longer than sliced ​​lemons.

How to know if lemon is bad?

There are several ways to tell if a lemon has gone bad. Firstly, it will have visible mold on the rind or on the fruit. Another sign that a lemon is rotten is if it is particularly soft or darkened. And if you are still If you’re not sure, smell it — and if it smells “stinky” or completely rancid, it might be time to throw it out.

How to keep lemons fresh for many months?

If you want to keep lemons fresh for months, consider freezing them. As mentioned, however, lemons lose their texture after a long time in the freezer, becoming soft and soggy — a trade-off for those looking to extend the fruit’s shelf life. With that said, they’re still perfectly edible, if a bit stiffer than they used to be.

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