Have you ever reached into the crisper drawer of your fridge for a lemon to find a soft and shriveled fruit that barely resembles its former self? This discovery is an unpleasant surprise, particularly if you made plans to make a yummy, lemony dessert. We’ll show you how to store lemons in various ways to ensure that they are fresh when you need them.
The lemon is among some of the most versatile fruits. Its tart and tangy flavor makes it a great choice for everything from cocktails and sweet beverages to creamy pies and cakes.
The juice is the perfect complement to squeeze over a fish taco, and its zest adds an aromatic kick to fine dishes and desserts. Thinking that a lemon, orange, or grapefruit lasts longer than other fruits and veggies is a common mistake.
- Storing Lemons Short and Long Term
Storing Lemons Short and Long Term
While citrus fruits keep their tangy goodness within the rind, they do not last very long if you do not store them correctly. We’ll show you how to keep lemons fresh for both short and long term food storage.
It’s possible to store veggies and fruits much the same way, depending on the variety.
It can be tempting to place lemons in a decorative bowl in the dining room to enjoy their color and scent, but they lose their healthy appearance and texture after only a few days.
Choosing the Best Citrus Fruits
It’s always a good idea to choose healthy, ripe fruit before storing lemons, whether you keep them in the refrigerator or freezer. An overripe lemon does not have a very long shelf life and doesn’t hold up well during storage.
A Healthy Lemon
When browsing your local market for fresh lemons, pick them up in your hand and check that they are heavy for their size. Before you preserve lemons, make sure the skin is firm and bright yellow, and pick ones with a pleasant fragrance.
Choose thin-skinned fruits for their juice and thick-skinned lemons for their zest. Avoid lemons with spots if you decide to zest them, and save those with blemishes for juicing.
Room Temperature Storage
The best way to store lemons to keep them fresh if you plan on using them within a day or two is on the counter, just like when you store a watermelon that hasn’t been cut yet. While they stay somewhat fresh up to a week at room temperature, they often lose their color and firm texture.
Place unwashed lemons in a bowl or container and set them in the kitchen area in a cool, dark space. Make sure the bowl sits in a location away from sunlight and heat sources.
How long are lemons good for at room temperature? It’s important to use up your lemons within a couple of days for optimal freshness. Otherwise, consider storing them in the fridge.
The same applies to properly store bananas. Covering the stem with foil helps bananas last longer, too.
Keeping Them in the Refrigerator
If you stock up on a bunch of lemons from Aldi or your favorite grocery store and cannot use them right away, the refrigerator is the way to go. It’s easy to store lemons in the fridge, and they last nearly a whole month in the cold temperatures.
Place the lemons in a plastic storage bag, press out the air, and seal it shut. Set the bag in the crisper drawer or on the shelf of your refrigerator.
Check them periodically for freshness and use them before they soften. If you cannot use them in time, freeze them in slices to prolong their shelf life.
Storing Lemon Halves in the Fridge
It’s common to have leftover lemon wedges and halves when meal prepping, but where to store lemons after slicing them? The refrigerator is a good option if you intend to use the remaining slices within three days.
If you have a lemon half leftover and plan to use it the next day, set it flat-side down on a small plate and put it in the refrigerator.
For slightly longer storage, wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a storage container with a lid before refrigerating it. These three methods reduce oxidation and water loss while storing.
Keeping the Freshest Juice in the Refrigerator
Even though citrus juice is highly acidic, it harbors bacteria if you leave it sitting at room temperature too long. Storing lemon juice in the fridge keeps it fresh for four days or more, but it loses its flavor by ten days.
For one of the ways to preserve lemon juice, slice the whole lemons in half and place one half, flat-side down, in a citrus press or lemon juicer of choice.
Press and twist the lemon over a bowl to extract all of the juice. Pour the lemon juice into a storage container, secure the lid, and set it on the refrigerator shelf.
Preparing and Freezing Lemon Juice in the Freezer
Lemon juice is high in immune-boosting vitamins, and frozen lemon cubes taste great in smoothies, beverages, and other recipes. How long does fresh lemon juice last in the freezer? Here is how to store lemon juice in the freezer to retain its flavor for up to four months.
Cut each lemon in half, and then juice each part over a bowl, using your juicer of choice. Fill ice cube trays with the lemon juice and set it in the freezer until the cubes are frozen solid.
Pop the lemon cubes out of the tray and transfer them into a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Write the contents and date on the topside of the storage bag, stack them on the freezer shelf, and use them as needed.
How to Freeze Slices
If you enjoy lemon slices in your cold drinks, consider keeping slices in the freezer. They keep your beverages cold, add a bit of zing to water, and last up to three months.
Slice both of the ends off of each lemon and then cut the middle section into desired sizes. Remove any visible seeds from the lemons and place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Flash freeze them by setting the pan in the freezer until frozen and crispy. Transfer the frozen lemons into a freezer bag, use your hands to press out the air, and then seal them shut.
Write the date and name on the freezer bag, store them in the freezer, and use them as needed.
Ways to Store Lemon Zest
Lemons have more uses than just their pulp and juice, and we often discard another healthy part of the lemon, the peel. Lemon zest, or the rind’s outer skin layer, is full of flavor and keeps in the fridge for about three days and the freezer for up to three months.
Wash the lemons under cool water and use a lemon zester or vegetable peeler to remove the zest. Make sure to separate only the outer thin layer of the peel. For short term storage, place the zest in a storage container and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days.
To freeze the zest, line a baking sheet with a large piece of parchment paper and spread the zest over the surface. Put the pan in the freezer to flash freeze them for an hour or so. Transfer the frozen zest into a storage container before putting it back in the freezer.
Preparing and Storing Lemonade
What better way to use up lemons than to make a pitcher of lemonade? This beverage only takes three ingredients and lasts up to seven days in the refrigerator, that is, if you do not drink it first.
Cut each lemon in half and juice them with your preferred juicer. Pour the lemon juice through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher, and add the sugar.
Whisk them until the sugar dissolves and pour the water into the pitcher while stirring. Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator for about one hour, and add ice cubes right before serving.
There are many reasons to keep fresh lemons on hand and a few ways to lengthen their shelf life.
Keep lemons fresh in the fridge to drizzle citrus juice on pan-seared fish or bake a lemon chiffon cake, and freeze lemons, so you always have lemon slices available for cold beverages.
Learning how to store lemons the right way so that they keep their bright color and tangy taste means you have more time to use them in your favorite recipes, so why not share our lemon storage tips with your circle of friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest?