Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?
If unopened, the juice can stay fresh for 3-6 months and 6-12 months if opened and kept in the refrigerator. Usually, the juice is secure to use a few days after the best-before date, after which it will start to lose its taste and nutritious value. If it is dull or has become darker, dump it.
According to John Floros, chair of food science at Pennsylvania State University and researcher at the Institute of Food Technology, sour lemon juice is unfavorable for the growth of most microbes, although it does not directly kill them.
Like any expired food, spoiled lemon juice is sure to make you sick. The citric acid in lemon juice can be a natural preservative, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sterile environment if stored improperly or for too long. Needless to say, you should store lemon juice in an airtight container or bottle in the refrigerator so it will stay fresh for 2-3 days. Properly opened and stored lemon juice, sold unrefrigerated and containing preservatives, usually retains its best quality for about 12 to 18 months when refrigerated, but is generally safe to use afterward if stored properly. Unused freshly squeezed lemon juice should be stored immediately in the refrigerator for two to three days, or in the refrigerator for three to four months.
|Homemade Juice||1 week||2-3 months|
|Store Bought Juice||7-10 days||3-4 months|
Just be aware if commercial bottled lemon juice contains preservatives—freshly squeezed lemon juice only lasts a few days in the refrigerator, and preservative-free store-bought lemon juice lasts 1-2 weeks. As for homemade freshly squeezed lemon juice or store-bought freshly squeezed lemon juice that contains little to no preservatives, they should be immediately refrigerated and consumed within 2-3 days. Given that commercially produced lemon juice is simply a mixture of water, lemon juice, and preservatives, it can keep longer than the label date if you keep the bottle capped.
Lemon juice bottles from brands like ReaLemon and Jif are popular because you can keep lemon juice bottles for longer, but the trade-off is that they’re packed with preservatives that aren’t as healthy as real fruit. You can store lemons in the freezer indefinitely, but they will begin to lose their flavor after about three to four months. Interestingly, once lemons are taken off the tree, they don’t develop anymore, so there’s no point in leaving them on the counter hoping they’ll ripen – you end up with wilted, rotten lemons that need to be thrown away. .
Before squeezing lemons, wash them thoroughly to remove any harmful bacteria that may have gotten into the juice. Simply wash whole lemons (not peeled) in a mixture of water and white vinegar; dry them; put them in a freezer bag let the air out and close it tightly.
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When you need a lemon, take it out of the bag and let it thaw naturally or soak it in cold water for eight to ten minutes. If you used half a lemon and want to keep the other half, place it in a baking dish and cover with cling film. If you want to keep the juice from fresh lemons, squeeze the juice into a small bowl and cover it with cling film. Instead of storing all your juice in one container, separate it into smaller jars that can be used in one go.
If the label says that the juice should be shaken before drinking, it is even more likely that it is natural freshly squeezed juice. The quality slowly deteriorates until it reaches the point where the juice becomes so bad that it is best not to use it. Although commercial is not as tasty as freshly squeezed juice, it can last much longer if stored properly.
Not only do non-refrigerated foods contain preservatives, manufacturers also remove up to 90 percent of the water found in juice to reduce bacterial growth. Refrigeration just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit slows down the growth of harmful microorganisms, such as mold and bacteria, that spoil the juice. Chilling the juice in an open bottle is also the best way to prevent bacterial buildup, and refrigerated juice extends its shelf life. If you are going to buy bottled juice, it is best to put it in the refrigerator as this helps the juice avoid mold and bacteria inhibition.
Opening the bottle means you have to store it in the refrigerator, which adds 6-12 months beyond the expiration date. The storage times given are for the best quality only – the color or flavor of the lime juice may change after this, but in most cases it will still be usable if it has been properly stored, the bottle is intact and there are no signs of wear (see below). To determine when to drink juice, simply look at the “Use by” or “Sell by” date on the bottle. Typically, store-bought lemon juice will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 months, while freshly squeezed homemade lemon juice will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
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Although it can be frozen after preparation, I have found that frozen concentrate lemon juice does not retain as much flavor when refrozen, so I recommend consuming it within a week to avoid refreezing it. If you cut more lemon than you can use right away, it will only last a day at room temperature, after which it will dry out and begin to spoil. If you’ve already cut your lemons, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how long you plan to use them.
Bengaluru-based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood recommends drinking two to three glasses of lemon juice (about four to six tablespoons) throughout the day, one or two before meals, and one between meals. Lemonade made from squeezing fresh lemons has become a recent health trend, as the acidity of juices like lime and orange juice supports heart and digestive health while helping you lose weight. Citric acid, citric lime, lemon oil, and pectin are some of the most popular lemon by-products.
How can you tell if lemon juice is bad?
Check three things to see whether your lemon juice is bad: its appearance, odor, and taste. Discard it if it has turned dull or darker. Proceed in the same manner if the odor or flavor has changed significantly.
How long does lemon juice stay good after the expiration date?
Refrigerated store-bought lemon juice will keep for a week or two after the “best by” date if properly packaged and stored. Lemon juice is also available in an unrefrigerated form.
If a Lemon is soft, is it bad?
If you notice some discoloration, bad mushy skin or brown spots on lemons then you should discard them. They can even become bad on keeping them in fridge. Fresh lemons are heavier and have smooth skin. If there is small soft spot then you can cut that part and squeeze juice from rest of the part.