Do you always seem to be out of lemon juice when you need it? If so, consider freezing it: lemon juice freezes very well and stays good for a long time when frozen.
In this post, we will teach you how to freeze lemon juice so that you always have some on hand and the juice you have doesn’t get bad.
Does lemon juice go bad?
Yes. Although lemon juice serves as a natural preservative, it can go bad over time, specially if not stored in the fridge or freezer.
As any other liquid, lemon juice can grow mold and bacteria, so you should discard it if it’s turning darker or it’s dull.
How long does lemon juice last?
Lemon juice will lose its flavor and freshness over time, so it’s best to use homemade freshly squeezed lemon juice at its freshest, within 2-3 days.
Bottled lemon juice may be good for around 1 week once opened.
If you aren’t using it up in this time frame, a good trick is to freeze the lemon juice while it’s still fresh.
Frozen lemon juice will be good for at least 3-4 months if properly stored.
How long are cut lemon halves good?
If you only used the half of a lemon, you can preserve the remaining portion wrapped up or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
You should use them up before they get dry and trash them if they get mushy, slimy or moldy.
A way to ensure you don’t waste a cut lemon is to squeezing it and preserve the juice in the freezer.
How to store lemon juice for a long time
Lemon juice is a incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used both for savory and sweet goods as well as to make delicious beverages.
You can even use it as a natural cleaner!
However, it’s not always easy to have fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Also, many recipes only need a little amount of lemon juice, so the rest of the lemon spoils before using it up…
No matter how cheap lemons sometimes are, it always hurts me having to discharge them because they get mold.
That’s something that used to happen at ours, but fortunately, not since we freeze the juice.
There are two popular ways to preserve lemon juice:
Canning lemon juice
Pouring juice into jars and then processing it in a water bath to make it shelf stable (also known as canning) is a convenient method to preserve larger amounts of juice.
It also has the advantage that it doesn’t need a refrigerator.
On the negative side, boiling the glass containers before using them is time consuming.
Many people (including myself) also find it difficult to get right the volume of juice you should fill the containers.
The jars should be full enough so there is no air left inside (which would oxidize and spoil the juice), but at the same time, they shouldn’t be so full that the glass crack while sealing the recipients.
Freezing lemon juice
In my opinion freezing lemon juice is by far the easiest option to keep it fresh.
It also allows to keep ready to use portions for months to come. That’s why this is the method we’ll cover in this post.
It’s such a simple idea that at first I didn’t feel the need to describe it.
But then again, every time I explain the trick to my friends, they consider it a game-changer, and so I had to write this article with the details.
How to freeze lemon juice
Basically, freezing lemon juice is as simple as pouring the juice into freezer safe container.
However, since lemon juice is often needed in small amounts, it’s very convenient to use an ice cube tray.
This way, once the juice is frozen, you can use as many cubes as you need and keep the rest for later.
You can use your preferred type of ice cube tray, no matter if made of hard plastic or from silicon.
How to make lemon juice ice cubes
Time needed: 8 hours.
Freeze lemon juice in an ice tray
- Fill the molds
Pour the juice into an ice cube tray and then place it in the freezer.
- Store at your convenience
Once frozen (which takes around 8 to 12 hours), transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for easier storage.
- Use as much as you need
To use, take out the number of cubes you need and use as they are or let them thaw at room temperature.
Measure how much lemon juice comes in one of your ice cube slots, so you know how much each cube is.
For example, you could pour 1 tsp. or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in every slot.
That way, it will be very easy to defrost just the amount you need for the recipe you are making.
How to freeze lemon juice without an ice cube tray
If you don’t have ice cube trays, you can use other freezer safe containers to freeze your lemon juice:
- Store your juice in a freezer safe container such as such as a plastic box with lid or glass jar. Freezing in muffin forms is also an option.
Remember to leave some space at the top for expansion (at least 1,5 cm or 1/2 inch).
- You can also pour lemon juice into freezer bags.
Make sure they are tightly closed and don’t overfill them.
Tricks when freezing juice a freezer bag
- To avoid making a mess in the freezer if the bag opens, I like to place the bags inside a second container, at least until the liquid gets solid.
Here you don’t necessarily need a recipient with lid; since this container only serves as a tray, any type of freezer safe container that fits your bag works.
- If you lay the bag flat in the freezer, the frozen juice will be in a flat shape and you can easily break it off to use a smaller amount.
Just as when freezing lemon juice in ice cubes form, it’s best to measure the juice before freezing.
For example, you could freeze in cups to make lemonade so when you have a recipe that ask for 1 cup, you can use one of your frozen units.
What to use frozen lemon juice for
You may use frozen juice for any recipe that uses fresh lemon juice.
Let your lemon juice ice cubes melt before using them, or if using them for drinks, you can throw them directly into your cup or glass:
Lemon infused water
A simple but delicious beverage “recipe” is to add one of these pure lemon juice ice cubes into plain water or sparkling water. You’ll get a refreshing lemon-infused water.
Other ideas for using frozen lemon juice:
- Rub a small piece against avocado to prevent it oxidating
- Thaw some frozen lemon juice to make dressings and sauces with it, also as a substitute for lime juice in guacamole.
- You may use the thawed lemon juice for cleaning, like for example to clean a kettle or water cooker.
Useful measure conversions
How much lemon juice is in a lemon?
This depends on the size and juiciness of the fruit, but on average, there are 2-3 Tablespoons (30-45 mls) of lemon juice in a lemon.
Therefore, for 1 Tbsp. lemon juice you’ll approximately need half ad lemon.
For a cup of lemon juice, you’ll need to squeeze between 5-6 lemons.
Here’s a list of measurements that can come in handy when reading recipes that use lemon juice:
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (15 ml) = 1/2 Lemon
- 2 Tbsp. juice (30 ml) = 1 small Lemon
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice (45 ml) = 1 big lemon or a juicy one
- 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice (115 gr.) = 2 1/2 to 3 Lemons
- 1 Cup Lemon Juice (230 gr. or 237 ml) = 5 or 6 Lemons
How to make lemon juice ice cubes
- Freezer safe recipient (Like ice cube tray)
- teaspoon or tablespoon (Optional)
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice (as much as you want to freeze)
- 6 drops liquid stevia (optional)
- Pour the juice in the recipient you are freezing it (ice cube trays are very convenient)
- Freeze until hard. It takes around 8 hours
- For easier storage, store your lemon juice ice cubes in a freezing bag.
You can freeze any kind of lemon juice: freshly squeezed or bottled ones. Freezing will maintain the original flavor and nutritional and antioxidant values of the juice.
The pulp separates when freezing. This is normal and it doesn’t affect the quality of your juice.
You may sweeten lemon ice cubes before freezing if you prefer them to be sweeter. However, sweetening them with powdered sweeteners, will cause often the sweetener to clump.
Freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and you’ll never have to worry about not having any on hand when a recipe calls for it. Simply pop out a few cubes and add them to your smoothie or other recipe for a delicious and refreshing burst of citrus flavor.
What are some of your favorite recipes that call for lemon juice?