How Long do Limes Last? Freshness and Storage Tips

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Here’s the deal: limes were on sale at your local grocer, and you went all out filling your cart.

You can’t wait to make lime-infused water, cut a few wedges for your tequila shots, and create some tangy salad dressing…but will you be able to use up all those citrus goodies before they go bad? Wait, do limes even go bad?

If you find yourself with a few burning questions about this little green fruit, you’ve come to the right place. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about limes!

How Long do Limes Last?

Since food always seems to be more delicious when it is fresh, a good place to start in your lime education is with the question, “how long do limes last?” The answer is…it depends. Yep! There is no single answer to the question because it depends on where and how you are keeping your limes!

Let’s say you have a basket of fresh limes that you just brought home from the produce section, and you put those limes in the fruit bowl on your counter. In that case, your limes will last roughly 2 to 4 weeks. Now, if you put that basket of limes in the refrigerator when you get home from the grocer, you can be eating limes for up to two months.

On Margarita Monday, you slice up one of those delicious limes to stick a wedge on your salted rim. The rest of those wedges will be good for several hours if you leave them out on the counter, but if you stick the leftovers in the fridge you can stretch Margarita Monday all the way to Wednesday!

If you took the time to juice your basket of limes after bringing them home from the grocery store, you can hang on to them a little longer! Lime juice that is kept in a resealable container and stored in the refrigerator can be used for up to six months.

Pro Tip: If you want long-lasting limes at home, you need to make sure you are choosing the freshest of the fresh when you are selecting your fruit at the grocery store. Look for limes that are nice and uniformly green that are also firm to the touch. Leave behind any limes with brown spots or ones that feel mushy.

Can Limes go Bad?

Unfortunately, limes will eventually go bad.

Many people assume that citrus fruit like lemons and limes don’t really go bad because of the high acidity. It is also true that lemons and limes can be used as natural preservatives, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually be inedible — they just seem to last a little longer than the other items in your fruit bowl (looking at you bananas!)

In addition to the actual fruit, any squeezed lime juice or lime zest can also go bad.

sliced lime

How to Tell if Limes are Bad, Rotten, or Spoiled?

If you’ve ever worked in a commercial kitchen, then you already know the importance of food safety! Here’s the scoop: failure to practice food safety can lead to unpleasant outcomes like an upset stomach or worse. Plus, no one wants to bite into rotten or spoiled food, right?

So, how can you tell if your limes are no longer good for eating?

Rely on your senses. Take a look at the limes in your fruit bowl or fridge. Do you see any brown spots or other discoloration? Are they still as vibrant as they were when you first brought them home? If your limes are starting to lose their luster, it is likely that they are beginning to turn.

Next, you want to give your limes a feel. Are they starting to feel mushy or soft in certain spots? You can also cut the lime open to see if it is still juicy. Once a lime starts to spoil, the fleshy part on the inside will dry out.

How to Store Whole Limes to Extend Their Shelf Life?

Of course, you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to grocery shopping which likely means you would like to extend the shelf life of any produce that you buy. Why would limes be an exception?

Lucky for you, there are a few tricks that will help you extend the shelf life of your limes! After your shopping trip, follow these three tips to keep your limes juicy and fresh for as long as possible:

  1. Remove your limes from the plastic product bag
  2. Give them a good wash
  3. Store them, uncut, in the produce drawer in your refrigerator.

Oftentimes while shopping, we put fruits and vegetables in the thin plastic bags the grocery store makes available in the product aisle. You do not want to leave your limes in these bags for storage, however. Sometimes, the bags trap moisture inside with your fruit which can cause it to spoil much more rapidly.

Protip: There is no need to remove the wax from the outside of the lime for storage purposes! You can simply wash them with clean running water from your faucet and dry them with a clean towel before placing the limes in the fridge.

How to Store Sliced Limes

The most important step in storing your sliced limes comes before the slicing. It is very important to get clean instruments for slicing including a clean cutting board and a clean knife. If at all possible, you should have a separate cutting board for fruit and vegetable prep — this board should not be used to prepare meat, chicken, or seafood. If you do not have multiple cutting boards, then you will want to make sure you have properly disinfected the board you do have in between uses.

Now you are ready to slice your limes!

Whether you cut your fruit into wedges or disks, you will want to place the slices into a container with a sealed lid before storing them in the fridge. If you leave the slices on the counter, they will start to dry out within a few hours’ time. However, if you store them in the fridge, you may be able to keep them for as long as three days. Keep in mind they will definitely be at their freshest and most delicious during the first twenty-four hours.

Tips for Freezing Lime Juice

For those that love the flavor of freshly-squeezed lime juice, finding a way to keep it fresh-tasting for longer is an absolute must. It is a lot of work to juice all those little limes, and you definitely don’t want your efforts going to waste! Luckily, lime juice freezes quite nicely.

One great way to freeze lime juice for easy consumption is to pour it into a plastic ice cube tray before freezing. You can measure out the amount of juice you add to the tray in one or two tablespoons portions. This makes it very easy to get out exactly the amount you need later on!

Once your lime juice cubes have frozen solid, you can remove them from the tray and place them in a plastic freezer bag or another freezer-safe container for storage. They should keep quite nicely for up to six months.

Protip: You can also freeze lemon zest! Simply put the zest in a plastic freezer bag after grating and toss in the freezer along with your freshly-squeezed lime juice.

The Secret to Keep Citrus Fruits Fresh

Everyone loves to know all the little tips and tricks that the kitchen professionals know! Whether it is a top-secret recipe or a simple trick that keeps limes fresher for longer, being in the know always feels good.

So…what’s the secret to keeping citrus fruits fresh for an entire month? Plastic bags!

Right now you are probably thinking, “Hey! You said to take the limes OUT of the plastic bag earlier!” And you are 100% correct! We did say to take the limes out of the flimsy little plastic bag from the produce aisle before tossing your limes in the fridge or fruit bowl. That is still the right thing to do.

The secret to keeping citrus fruits fresh for a month is a sealed plastic storage bag. Before placing your limes in the storage bag, however, you need to ensure that they are clean and dry. Then, you simply seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and place the limes in the fridge. They should stay very fresh for up to a month.

The Different Types of Limes

Now that you know how to keep your limes fresh and delicious, you may find that you want to start purchasing them more often. All this citrus storage information may also have you wondering: are there different types of limes?

There are, in fact, multiple types of limes…Key limes, Kaffir limes, Tahiti limes…etc. etc. etc.

Limes come in several different shapes, hues, and sizes, but all limes are a hybrid fruit. While it is commonly thought that they originally came from Indonesia, they are now grown in many different countries around the world, from India to the United States.

The three most popular types of limes are Key Limes, Tahiti Limes, and Bearss Limes. Want to know more? Keep scrolling!

Key Limes

Citrus aurantiifolia, otherwise known as Key limes, are a type of Mexican lime that grows in hot climates on a bushy and thorny tree. The flesh of the Key lime generally has a lot of seeds, and the flavor is intense and acidic.

Key limes get their name from the Florida Keys, but they are mostly grown in other countries besides the U.S. now. This type of lime is often used in cocktails and in the famous dessert: Key Lime Pie!

Tahiti Limes

More oblong than round, the Tahiti lime is a seedless lime that grows to a larger size than most Mexican limes.

The flavor of the Tahiti lime is not as acidic as a Key lime, but the flesh is very juicy. You can use this type of limes in dishes both sweet and savory!

Bearss Lime

Considered one of the most popular types of limes in the entire world, Bearss limes are large ovals that grow on thornless trees. Many people prefer the Bearss limes over some of the Mexican varieties because they tend to have a longer shelf-life. This is probably due to the thicker skin.

The flavor of a Bearss lime is less bitter than a Key Lime, and they aren’t quite as acidic either. When a Bearss lime is fully ripened, it will be more of a yellowish-green color.

Can You Compost Lime Peels?

Composting has become a lot more popular in recent years, and it isn’t something reserved for only farmers and avid gardeners any longer. Yet, there is a lot to know when it comes to composting because you can’t just throw any type of food waste into your compost bin.

There was a time when people would tell you that lime peels (and any other type of citrus peel) and compost bins did not mesh! However, many hardcore composters will tell you lime peels absolutely belong in your bin!

Basically, it can take a very long time for citrus peels to break down — longer than some other types of fruit and vegetable waste. Yet, you can cut down on that time significantly by chopping up your peels into smaller pieces.

So, if you are a composter, feel free to toss your lime peels in with the rest of your compostable food waste!

Protip: Adding citrus peels to your compost may actually keep small scavenging animals out of your bin! These types of animals tend to dislike the strong scent of citrus and will look elsewhere for their dinner.

Armed with all this knowledge about one little green citrus fruit, you are well-equipped to take advantage of any lime sales going on at your local grocery store. You can be sure that your produce purchase will stay fresh and delicious until you are ready to eat it!

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