How long does lime juice last?

Lime juice is a fantastic way to add a refreshing flavor to dishes and drinks. It’s also a great source of Vitamin C. But how long does fresh squeezed lime juice last fresh? And what if it’s from a bottle? In this blog post I’ve put together some tips on what can you do to make this citrus fruit juice last longer and how to use it up before it goes bad.

Home squeezed lime juice

Adding a splash of lime juice give any dish and beverage a distinctive zingy flavor that screams freshness.
Limes are also a must for culines from warm climates like Mexican and Southeast Asian food, but like lemons, they are too tart to eat them on their own.
So, I don’t know about you, but I’ve bought limes or bottled lime juice to follow a recipe only to have the leftover lime juice go bad before I could use it all up…
And it’s such a pity when food spoils!
So, to prevent it to happening, I’ve gathered some tips on how to make your lime juice last longer.
Let’s enjoy until the last drop of these little green citrus fruits!

Does lime juice go bad?

The short answer is yes, both store-bought and freshly squeezed lime juice go bad after a time.

Limes, just as lemons, contain citric acid, which is used as a natural preservative.
That’s why lime juice is also used, like other citrus juices, to slow oxidation of other foods, such as avocados (which maintain their green color longer if you add a little bit of lime juice to them).
Because of this acidic nature, the shelf life of lime juice may be longer than that of other fruit juices.
But even though, you should still consume it as soon as posible for the best flavor and quality of the juice.

How long does lime juice last?

The exact answer depends on several factors, like the type of lime juice, how it’s been stored and whether it has been opened or not. Let’s see the details:

Unopened lime juice

Bottled lime juice from the grocery store has a very long shelf life: at least as long as the expiration date on the package and often up to 6 months or more after that date.
Just remember to store it away from sunlight and away from excessive heat.

After the “best before date” the juice may change to a somehow brown color, but it’s still be safe to consume as long as the bottle is not damaged.

Opened lime juice bottle

Depending on the process the juice was made, an opened bottle of lime juice can last from a week to a year.
Most of the times there are more detailed information on the bottle that will let you know how long it will last after opening.

  • Bottled lime juice that was sold unrefrigerated and has preservatives or is made from concentrate usually last for months after opening.
  • Bottled lime juice made from pure fresh juice (like the organic brand I buy) usually only last for about 5 days because its lack of preservatives (which is actually a good thing).

Unless the manufacturer says otherwise, you should always keep an already opened lime juice with the lid on in the fridge.

Freshly squeezed lime juice

Homemade lime juice last for about 2-4 days if you store it in a covered container in the fridge.
To extend its shelf life, you can also freeze lime juice.

Frozen lime juice

Lime juice that has been kept in the freezer is safe indefinitely (if the temperature stays at a constant temperature bellow freezing, of course).
However, for best taste and properties, it’s recommended to use it within 4-6 months.
Once your lime juice is thawed, it will be good for another 24-36 hours.
That only applies to thawing naturally at room temperature.
But if you de-freeze it by heating it, like in a microwave, you should use it up in the moment.

Tips to make lime juice last for longer

Whether you have homemade fresh lime juice or an opened bottle, you can make for a longer shelf-life by watching for the right storage conditions:

  • REFRIGERATE IT PROPERLY
    If you aren’t using all your freshly squeezed lime juice right now, store it in a closed container in the fridge.
    It’s even better if it’s opaque and from covered glass instead of a plastic container.
    Store-bought bottles of lime juice that have been opened also should be kept refrigerated.
  • FREEZE IT
    When kept in the freezer, lime juice will preserve it’s properties for at least 3-4 months (and often much longer!).
    We’ll see more details on how to do it bellow.

Also:

  • to ensure your bottled juice stays in its best conditions in the first place, keep it in a dark place, away heat before opening it.
  • if you are using fresh limes to make your juice, remember that the best way to preserve whole (or a half lime) is to store the fruit in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
    They even stay fresh for longer if you put them in an airtight bag.

How to freeze lime juice

Freezing bottled lemon juice

Freezing lime juice may be the easiest way to keep it fresh for a long time.
Both bottled or freshly squeezed lime juice freeze really well and it’s really easy to do it:

  • Pour the lime juice in ice cube trays, freeze and then store the cubes in a bag or an airtight container.
    I find it convenient to measure how much juice is in a cube so I can thaw small quantities for recipes.
  • In case you don’t have ice cube trays, you can pour juice in a zip bag to freeze it if.

Remember that the juice will expand while freezing, so never put the lime juice bottle as is in the freezer.

For a more detailed post on how to freeze citrus juice (with pictures), check this post on how to freeze lemon juice.

How do I know is my lime juice has gone bad?

Lime juice may turn brown after a couple of days.
This is a natural process (a sign of oxidation) but doesn’t necessarily means that the juice is spoiled.

However, if the texture get thicker, syrupy, or if the container has grown any kind of mold, you shouldn’t consume it any more.

Also, if the lime juice doesn’t smell as fresh anymore of it has lost is tanginess, I wouldn’t advice to use it for cooking or to make drinks anymore because what is lime juice good for if it doesn’t taste like lime anymore, right?

Leaking or bulging on the outside of the container are also signs of spoilage.

Remember that it’s possible to get food poisoning from bad lime juice, so it’s better to be on the safe than sorry!
When in doubt, I always err on the side of caution and I would advice everyone to do it too.
The good thing about spoiled lime juice is, you can still use it to clean, so you don’t necessarily need to throw it away.

Ideas to use up lime juice

For people like me that live in countries where lemons are more common that lime, it may be difficult at first to think of recipes that use lime juice…But most of the times, you may substitute lemon or even vinegar in almost every recipe with lime juice.
Lime juice will give a milder sourness than vinegar and a slightly bitter touch compared to lemon.

Here are other suggestions to use up all that like juice goodness:

  • Add some lime juice to cold water for a refreshing twist.
  • Use it in cocktails or make a non alcoholic lime drink like Virgin Mojito or Agua Fresca
  • Make limeade
  • Use it as a dressing for salads or fruits.
  • Use it as a marinade for fish or chicken.
  • Add it to guacamole or avocado toast to prevent the avocado turning brown
  • Drizzle it over salads, grilled fruits or vegetables.
  • Make sweets with it
  • Try a lime sorbet recipe
  • Using lime juice for cleaning purposes is also a great idea

I hope this blog post has helped you know how long your lime juice last and how to enjoy it fresh for a longer time. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments bellow and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!

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2 Comments

  1. I love lime juice as a dressing for salads, saving the lime juice in the freezer is a very good idea!
    Thank you for so many suggestions.

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