Does Lime Juice Go Bad? (How Long Does It Last?)

Fresh lime juice is a popular ingredient in many delicious dishes around the world, especially in Mexican and Thai food where its acidic flavor elevates the meal.

It is also an easy addition to plain water or seltzer for a burst of refreshing tartness. 

In addition, fresh squeezed lime juice or other juices are known to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-fungal, and inhibit blood clots according to Singh.

Also, lime juice contains many bioactive compounds like ferulic acid, hydrocinnamic acid, cyanidin glucoside, vitamin-C, and carotenoid.

Have you ever had leftover fresh squeezed lime juice from cooking or making drinks and stored it in your fridge for the next time you might need to use it and wondered how long it lasts?

Fresh squeezed lime juice will last about 1 week in the fridge if stored in a tightly sealed container or jar. However, store bought bottled lime juice will last longer because of the preservatives they use. It will last for a few weeks in the fridge. Lime juice that is sitting out will last up to 24 hours, although the flavor will diminish after 6 hours. 

In a study done by Doroud M., Daneshi M.*, Nateghi M. R., they looked at the effects of different storage temperatures (room temperature, cold, or freezing) on the sensory and chemical properties and microbial features of fresh lime juice over a period of 45 days.

The results showed that the pH decreased over time, but acidity and brix (sugar content) increased, as the storage temperature was increased. 

According to Doroud, the freezer had the least amount of range in difference unsurprisingly, whereas room temperature had the most decrease in antioxidants and total phenolic content.

The temperature also significantly changed the amount of mold, yeast, and total bacteria in the lime juice.

Furthermore, the evaluation showed a significant decrease in taste, odor, color, and overall appearance of the juice as the temperature increased. 

In this article we will go over the best ways to preserve fresh-squeezed lime juice and the different methods of storing it and how long each lasts for.

How Long Does Homemade or Store Bought Fresh Lime Juice Last in the Fridge?

If you don’t use your lime juice right away, you might be curious to know how long it lasts.

This also depends on whether you use homemade fresh squeezed or store-bought lime juice and how you store it.

There are a few different ways to store fresh lime juice and each method has a different length of time it will stay fresh.

Fresh squeezed lime juice should be stored in the fridge when you have extra left over or if you just want to have it on hand for easy access.

It will not keep at room temperature for more than a few hours as it will be prone to growing bacteria and losing its taste and color significantly. 

If stored in a tightly sealed jar or container, the fresh lime juice will last for around a week in the fridge due to the high pH content, which helps to naturally preserve it. 

Fresh Lime Juice

Alternatively, store-bought lime juice can be kept at room temperature if not opened yet.

It should be stored in a cool, dark area away from heat and light in order to maximize its shelf life until ready to be used.

This is because Vitamin C is light and heat sensitive, so the juice will degrade if exposed to either of these for a long period of time.

Once opened, it must be kept in the fridge and will keep for a few weeks due to the additional preservatives added to the bottle.

According to Singh, chemical preservatives are intentionally added to food products to prevent or inhibit spoilage caused by molds, yeasts and bacteria.

The most common preservatives which are being used in fruit processing industries are sulfur dioxide and benzoic acid.

How To Make Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice Last Longer?

Have you ever wondered how to make fresh squeezed lime juice last longer? One way to make homemade lime juice last longer is to strain out the pulp and seeds from the juice.

This prolongs the life of the juice because the pulp and seeds can contain bacteria that could spoil it.

You can use a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve to strain it. Then store in a sealed glass jar or container in the fridge.

How to Preserve Fresh Lime Juice?

Another method of preserving fresh lime juice is to can it yourself.

If you know how to properly can foods, you know it is a relatively easy method of storage and can be kept at room temperature for up to a year or more. 

Make sure to sterilize your jars first, then fill them with the fresh squeezed lime juice, either with or without pulp, wipe the rim, and seal the jar with a clean lid.

Then place in boiling water that covers the jar completely by 1 to 2 inches.

Depending on the size of the jar determines how long it will need to be boiled for to seal it. 15 minutes for 1 quart jar or smaller and 20 minutes for half-gallon jars.

After it is finished boiling, let cool down on a towel after removing and check to make sure the lids are sealed.

Label and date the jars as well. Store in a cool dark area until ready to use.

Can You Freeze Fresh Lime Juice?

One of the easiest ways to preserve homemade or store-bought fresh lime juice is by storing it in the freezer.

One of the best tips I have learned for freezing fresh squeezed juice is to use an ice cube tray. I recommend straining the pulp and seeds before freezing as well.

This is because when you freeze the juice it naturally separates from the solids and it won’t mix well afterward.

Fill the try with the juice, freeze overnight, and then place the cubes in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container to store in the freezer.

Then when you want to use some, thaw out a cube or two at a time. This way you can have pre-portioned amounts of lime juice ready whenever you need it. 

How Long Does Fresh Lime Juice Last in the Freezer?

You can keep fresh lime juice frozen for 4-5 months if stored in a sealed jar or ice cube tray.

Just make sure to take out the cubes the night before you are going to use them so they have time to thaw out overnight or for a few hours.

After more than 5 months, the frozen juice will begin to lose its texture and flavor.

Some of the liquid will naturally be evaporated as well, so you will have a somewhat smaller amount of juice than what you started with.

Best Way to Preserve/Store Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Unopened bottled lime juiceUntil expiration date
Homemade lime juice in fridge1 week
Bottled lime juice in fridgeSeveral weeks
Freezer4-5 months
Canned1 year

Does Natural Lime Juice go Bad?

Yes, fresh-squeezed lime juice does go bad after about 1 week even in the fridge. If it is store-bought it will last longer but eventually will also spoil in the fridge.

Mold, bacteria, and yeast are prone to grow in the juice over time. Also, the taste, color, and odor will be unappealing.

If the lime juice is unopened and store-bought, it can be used past the best by date as it is not necessarily expired.

However, the flavor and quality may not be as fresh as it could have been.

Glass of lime juice

How to Tell if Lime Juice Has Gone Bad?

Before using lime juice that has been sitting in the fridge for a long time or if you are unsure how long it has been in there, use your senses to determine its freshness and quality.

It will lose the fresh sour taste and might seem bitter tasting instead. If the taste seems off putting, then it is probably bad and should be thrown out. 

Secondly, the appearance of fresh lime juice should be bright light green. When it is old, it might appear dull or gray instead.

In addition, if there is any indication of mold in the juice, it should be thrown out right away in order to prevent any food poisoning.

This is especially true if the juice was left out at room temperature for more than a day or if in the fridge for over a week.

When in doubt, just err on the side of caution and do not use any ingredient if you don’t know how old it is or can’t tell if it is still good.

There is no reason to risk getting food poisoning as it is very unpleasant and can take hours or even days to recover from, depending on the severity of it.

Final Considerations

It is great to have fresh lime juice on hand for cooking or baking when you need it and don’t want to go to the store just for a lime.

Overall, fresh-squeezed lime juice can be stored in a few different ways. Most importantly is to keep it refrigerated once opened or immediately if homemade. 

Remember to check the juice by using your sense of smell, taste, and sight if it has been in the fridge for longer than a week.

If you know you won’t be able to use up your lime juice in a week’s time, you should freeze it or consider canning it to preserve it for longer.

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