Whether you use it for fixing yourself a drink, or for making key lime pie, or as an ingredient for cooking, baking, and other food prep, the chances are that you have a bottle of lime juice in your fridge or one lying around in your pantry. But how to tell whether it is still good and safe to use?
Here is a summary of everything you need to know about the shelf-life of lime juice, how it should be stored, and how to tell if it has gone bad.
The Best Way for Storing Lime Juice
Most store-bought lime juice is shelf-stable. In other words, it has added preservatives that prevent it from going bad very quickly. And this makes sense because only small quantities of the juice are usually required at a time, and there is no point in buying a bottle of fresh lime juice, which you will need to throw away in just a few weeks.
So, if you have store-bought lime juice, it can safely be stored in the pantry or cabinet or any other dark and cool area which is not subjected to direct heat or sunlight.
But once you open it, you will need to keep the lime juice in the refrigerator. The reason is that once it has been unsealed and has come into contact with air, the quality of the juice will start degrading. And cooler temperatures help slow down this process.
Make sure you always close the bottle’s cap tightly before putting the lime juice back in the fridge.
In case you have made fresh lime juice, you should store it in a properly sealed bottle, jar, or another container in the refrigerator.
Does Lime Juice Freeze Well?
Lime juice, just like most other citrus fruit juices, can be frozen for longer-term storage.
But the quality and freshness may not be too good when you thaw it.
Still, if you have decided to freeze your leftover lime juice, you can do it in an ice cube tray.
This will allow you to take out only as many cubes as you need at a time. Plus, having a cube of frozen lime juice is perfect for making a refreshing drink in the summer.
What Is The Shelf-Life of Lime Juice?
Store-bought lime juice has a best-by date on the bottle. This is the manufacturer’s estimate for when the juice will retain its peak quality and freshness.
If the bottle is unopened and it is past the best-by date, don’t throw the lime juice away just yet.
Since it is acidic, it is at a lower risk of bacterial growth.
Plus, manufacturers usually add preservatives, and some even pasteurize the juice to stabilize it to last longer. This is done because people rarely drink or use too much lime juice, so it makes sense to make the juice last longer.
In other words, your expired bottle of lime juice may still be good to use for 3 to 6 months after the best-by date if it has not been opened or if the bottle is not damaged.
Opened lime juice in the fridge will last at least until its best-by date, even if you opened it months ago. As a whole, you can expect that the opened lime juice will last for about 6-12 months after opening it.
Even after that, the store-bought lime juice will probably still be safe and good to use but will start degrading in quality and taste over time.
As for freshly squeezed lime juice, it will last for only 2-3 days in a well-sealed bottle in the fridge, but you can freeze it in ice cube trays for longer-term storage.
How to Detect Whether the Lime Juice Has Gone Bad?
If you are suspicious about the lime juice in your pantry or fridge, there are some telltale signs to look for to determine whether it is spoiled and needs to be thrown away.
First of all, don’t worry if you notice that the lime juice has started browning. This is a natural process and doesn’t affect the safety or quality of the juice.
To check whether the lime juice is still viable and safe, inspect its bottle for any signs of mold. Look for mold on the bottle cap or on the surface. Due to its high acidity, the growth of mold in lime juice is very unlikely. Still, if you find mold – throw away the bottle of juice.
You can also sniff the juice to check whether it smells fresh and citrusy. If it has an off smell, it may have degraded or spoiled, so throw it away.
As a last resort, you take a tiny sip of the juice to check whether it tastes ok to decide whether to keep it and use it or discard it.
Read Further: How Much Juice In One Lime