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      How Long Do Lemons Last in the Fridge? (Storage Tips)

      So you just bought some fresh lemons and were wondering how long they will last in the fridge. Well, it depends on a few factors such as storage method and where they are stored in the refrigerator. In this article, we will go over the best way to keep your lemons as fresh as possible for as long as possible. 

      how long do lemons last in the fridge

      Is it better to store lemons cut or whole?

      Whole lemons will last longer in the refrigerator compared to lemon halves or lemon slices. Cut lemons are exposed to more oxygen and will therefore go bad faster than whole lemons. It’s important to minimize oxygen exposure as much as possible to extend shelf life. 

      To keep your cut lemons fresh, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap or a bag, squeezing out all the excess air. You can also freeze your lemon slices in the plastic wrap or with water in an ice cube tray. Frozen lemons should last for about 4 months. 

      How long do lemons last

      The shelf life of lemons really depends on what storage method you choose. Lemons will last the shortest amount of time at room temperature and the longest in the freezer. 

      Room temperature

      Lemons should last for about a week on the kitchen countertop. In some cases, they may only last a couple of days so be sure to check for signs of rotting (mentioned later in this article). As long as they look, smell and taste good, you are in the clear. 

      In the refrigerator

      Lemons should last for about a month in the refrigerator. This is the best place to store your lemons in my opinion because it quadruples the shelf life and maintains good quality. I prefer this over frozen because it maintains its texture better in the refrigerator. 

      In the freezer

      Lemons should last about four months in the refrigerator. Technically, they can last longer but they start to lose quality over time. If you are planning on just using the lemon juice, you can juice the lemons and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. 

      how long do lemons last in the fridge

      Where to store your lemons in the refrigerator

      It’s best to store lemons in an airtight container or bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They are typically located at the bottom of your refrigerator, but this can vary depending on the model of the fridge. 

      These drawers are higher in humidity compared to the rest of your refrigerator, making them a good environment for fruits and vegetables. Some crispy drawers have low humidity and high humidity settings. Fruit should be stored at the low humidity setting. 

      Best storage containers for lemons

      As mentioned earlier, how long your lemons will stay fresh largely depends on storage methods. The goal is to prevent excess air from reaching the lemon and spoiling it faster. There are several ways to reach this goal.

      The best way to store cut lemons is in an airtight plastic bag, aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This way you can tightly wrap the lemon and avoid oxygen exposure. 

      For whole lemons, any airtight container or sealed container should be fine, or you could just store them naked in a crisper drawer. If you want your lemons to last a full month in the refrigerator, I would recommend storing them in a container. 

      how long do lemons last in the fridge

      Can you freeze your lemons?

      Yes, you can freeze your lemons if you want them to last a long time. You can store your lemons whole, in wedges or in slices in the freezer. The options are endless.

      To freeze your lemons, you can wrap them in plastic wrap or a freezer bag. Just make sure to squeeze out all the extra air before adding them in the freezer. 

      When you are ready to use them, move your frozen lemons to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. The texture won’t be perfect, but they will still be tasty. 

      How to know if your lemons went bad

      Bad lemons are pretty easy to detect by examining the condition of the lemon. Rotten lemons may have dark spots, browning, spotting and soft spots covering the peel. If they are very far along, they may even have green or white, fuzzy mold forming. 

      When you cut the lemon open, the flesh will be dry and slightly hard. They will also smell slightly vinegary and fermented. As for taste, bad lemons will lose their sweet and sour taste and adopt a bitter, chemical like flavor. 

      How to properly clean lemons

      Cleaning lemons is a very easy process. Simply run the lemon under cold water and give it a scrub with a brush to remove any excess dirt on the outside. You don’t need any special soups or soak them to get them clean, these are just extra steps. 

      how long do lemons last in the fridge

      How to store

      Lemon juice

      Fresh lemon juice can be stored in a sealed glass jar, mason jar or container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. But in my opinion they are best stored in the freezer. Pour the lemon juice into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Then, move them to an airtight freezer bag and store in the freezer. 

      Frozen lemon juice cubes have a variety of applications. You can use these cubes in a variety of drinks like lemonade or sweet tea to add some extra flavor. They also work well in soups or sauces. Just toss a cube or two in and it should melt and add extra flavor to your dish. 

      Lemon zest

      Lemon zest is made by grating the lemon rind. If you have any leftover lemon zest, you can store it in your refrigerator in an airtight plastic bag or wrapped in plastic wrap. It should last for about 1-2 days before losing its flavor. 

      You can also store lemon zest in the freezer. They should last for about 3-4 months before losing flavor. The leftover zested lemons can be stored in an airtight bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. 


      Lemonade can be stored in a similar way compared to lemon juice. Pour your leftover lemonade into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Then move the individual frozen ice cubes to a freezer bag. 

      Once you are ready for a refreshing drink, move the ice cubes over to a cup and let them defrost. You can pour some sparkling water into the cup for a sparkling lemonade or blend the ice cubes to make a frozen lemonade drink. 

      Lemon vinaigrette

      Homemade oil and vinegar based salad dressings should last in the refrigerator for about a week before going bad. Store bought salad dressings can last longer because they contain preservatives that extend shelf life. 

      Unfortunately, salad dressings typically don’t hold up well in the freezer, so it’s best to make the amount you know you will use and store in the refrigerator. 

      how long do lemons last in the fridge

      What to do with lemon scraps

      You can have lemon scraps leftover, there are a few ways you can use them to avoid food waste. Try composting them, making them into compound butter or infused olive oil, using them in homemade cleaning products, to deter pests in your garden, as a garbage disposal freshener, to remove stains or to prevent brown sugar from clumping. 

      How to make candied lemons

      Candied lemons are a delicious and tasty treat, plus they are a great way to use leftover lemons. To start, cut your lemons into thin slices. In a saucepan, combine equal parts water and sugar, with a few spoonfuls of lemon juice. 

      Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add lemon slices. Simmer for 15 minutes, then transfer the lemons to a cooking rack or parchment paper to cool. Then you can enjoy! I love adding candied lemons to hot tea for extra flavor and sweetness. 

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      ABOUT ME

      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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