What’s better on a summer day than some freshly squeezed lime juice? But there’s only so long you can stock up on limes till it starts going bad.
So, How Long Do Limes Last in the Fridge or in the pantry?
With whole limes, you can typically store them at room temperature for a week. That becomes 3 to 4 weeks if you consider refrigeration. Place them in freezer bags, and you will get one more week out of it. But for cut limes, the shelf life is only 3 to 4 days.
How Long Do Limes Last?
It’s not so simple to assign a fixed shelf life to fruits. A lot depends on the storage conditions, the freshness of the fruit, the weather and humidity, and other such factors.
If I were to chalk up a rough estimation as to how long limes will last, 4 to 8 weeks is the limit for whole, uncut, fresh ones. Note that this is based on the date the fruit was picked, and that can be tricky to know.
For shops with a fast turnover, limes should be fine for this long. But if you get lemons or limes that have been lying on the shelf for a while, there will be a decline in the shelf life. Typically, they should last about 3 to 4 weeks.
Here’s an estimate of how long your limes will last:
|Whole fresh limes||4 to 8 weeks||4 to 8 weeks||6 months|
|Cut limes||12 hours||2 to 5 days||2 months|
Remember, the moment you cut limes, their quality goes down. In that case, they will last only 2 to 5 days, depending on how well they are stored. That’s why I advise keeping cut limes in the freezer or the fridge in airtight containers. They dry very quickly, so it is best to keep them cool and covered at all times.
Also Read: Does Coffee Creamer Go Bad?
How To Store Limes?
I have seen that storing limes well extends their shelf life drastically. Since you can toss them into your pantry, fridge, or freezer, there is great flexibility in their storage methods. Let’s look at different ways to store limes:
1. In Your Pantry
Limes will stay fresh in the pantry for about 8 weeks, given they are whole and fresh. Store them in a cool area where they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight or similar such heat elements. Purchased limes in a plastic bag? Remove them from the bag since it can expose the fruits to added moisture and bring down their quality.
Place them in plastic containers, and avoid covering them. But once cut, storing them in the pantry is ill-advised. Staying in the pantry can dry them out in a few hours.
2. In The Fridge
Limes are great when stored in the fridge. They will outlast limes at room temperature. For whole and fresh limes, the fruit tray in your fridge is good. This will keep them fresh for 4 to 8 weeks.
But once cut, place them in airtight containers or ziplock bags to prevent the limes from drying out fast and enjoy your Vitamin C. This way, you should be enjoying them for a good 2 to 5 days. Keep cut ones uncovered in the refrigerator, and they will dry out in a matter of hours.
3. In Your Freezer
Ask yourself, are you in a rush to use the fruits? If not, freeze them. They freeze well and stay fresh in the freezer for a good 6 months, given they are whole and uncut.
Follow these methods of storage and adjust your expectations accordingly. Now you know how long they will stay in different storage conditions and how to store them well.
Also Read: Do Donuts Go Bad?
How Can You Tell If a Lime Has Gone Bad?
There are a few tell-tale signs that help me understand that my limes have gone bad. In general, if you are hesitant about their quality, it’s best not to doubt yourself. Having said that, a few signs and symptoms help. Here’s what you should look for:
1. Visible Mold
Cut limes usually get moldy after you leave them out. If the rind is bruised, there’s a chance it may grow mold. The moment you notice specs of mold, be it however little, it’s best to toss it out. Nothing moldy is ever safe for consumption.
Have your limes become shriveled, soft, or slimy in any way? While some softness is a positive indicator that the green fruits are on the older side, that might not be enough reason to toss them out. However, if the whole fruit is extremely soft, shriveled, and wrinkly, and the insides feel hollow, it’s time to get rid of them.
Noticing some brown patches on the limes? Chances are the insides of the fruits will not be a pleasant sight either. However, some browning here and there is not that big an issue. If the whole fruit is brown, it’s bad news.
In general, if they have been cut and stored for 4 to 5 days, it’s best to throw them out. The rind of fresh limes is a bright green color like lettuce and with a firm texture. So the moment that changes quite drastically, you’ll know it is no longer safe for consumption. If the outside of the fruit is not dried out, you can cut it and see the condition inside.
For ones stored for a long time, the rind would probably look okay though the flesh could seem dry. In that case, it’s your call whether you are comfortable using them.
Why Is Rotten Lime Bad?
First things first, nothing rotten is safe for consumption. That is health science 101. So if limes have become past their prime, do a double take. Expired limes are bad news, especially for those with sensitive stomachs. You could be experiencing symptoms of food poisoning. This could include diarrhea, heartburn, bloating, vomiting, and nausea.
If lime or lemon juice has been in the fridge for too long and seems cloudy, it is best to avoid drinking it. You could risk consuming bacteria or toxins in the rancid juice. If you have consumed some by accident, you should be fine since rotten lime is not the most life-threatening thing.
Drink tons of water and energy drinks and wait it out for your symptoms to dissipate. It could take about a day to get back in shape. But if the symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, consider seeking medical help. If you are allergic to acidic fruit, you can get rashes around your mouth after consuming lime. In that case, you know better than to pick one pick the next time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How do you keep limes fresh for a long time?
Ans: The only way to keep lime fresh for a long time is to freeze it. However, what’s also important is buying fresh limes. If they have been sitting on the shelves for a while, the shelf life has already taken a hit. Cut limes will not stay edible for more than a few hours or days. But with whole limes, always freeze them to extend their shelf life to the maximum.
Q2. Should limes be refrigerated?
Ans: Absolutely. In fact, limes are best refrigerated if you are not sure when to use them. I would suggest freezing limes only if you know you won’t need them for weeks or months. In general, if you have either whole or cut limes, toss them into the refrigerator.
Q3. Are limes still good when they turn yellow?
Ans: Yes, limes are still edible when they turn yellow. When you see partially yellow limes, it could be either of 2 things. They could be ripe and less acidic, which is good. Alternatively, their exposure to sunlight could have been blocked by other fruits or leaves when they were still on the tree.
Q4. Why are my limes not juicy?
Ans: Limes need a lot of water to grow healthily. Lack of water affects juicy quality in the sense that they become dry. Water lime trees at least twice a week, especially during drought periods. If you are buying limes, opt for the plump and fresh ones. Old and shriveled limes are rarely juicy.
Q5. What color is a ripe lime?
Ans: Ripe limes are usually pale yellow in color. If you notice green ones, know that they are not ripe yet. Depending on which kind you prefer, you can go for either green or yellow ones. If you are planning to use them immediately, choose yellow ones. If they are going to sit for a while, the green ones are good.
The Bottom Line
Not a lot is complicated with limes. Buy fresh ones and keep them in the pantry if you are going to use them the same day. If you want to use them sometime this month, toss them into the fridge. If you have no immediate plans of using them, freeze them. Choose green ones if you plan to use them later and yellow ones if the need is immediate.