Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?
If you are a cooking enthusiast or a health-conscious person, you will need to have lemons as whole or as juice as part of your diet. The common idea is that due to high acidity, the lemons are bad for bacteria. So, does lemon juice go bad? Yes. Lemons or lemon juice can also go wrong, and if we are not careful can also become a health hazard for you and your family.
But it will not be right for you if you follow the advice and tips given in this article, and you will achieve getting the best value from lemons all along.
I. Why does Lemon Juice Go Bad?
Lemon juice has lots of citric acid, that is, in fact, a natural preservative. You may feel that lemon juice cannot go wrong even if it is left the room temperature for long. It is true that citric acid initially does not allow the bacteria to grow thereby protecting the product.
But bacteria do not take much time to start multiplying and finally spoiling the juice. Some pathogens from the mold and yeast category can also enter and make the lemon juice bad.
So, the lemon juice can also go bad, and you need to know the right tips to ensure that the same does not happen. The good this is that it is simple and not rocket science.
II. How Long do Lemon and Lemon Juice Last
1. Fresh Lemon Juice
For fresh lemons juice, you can keep it as it is maximum for a few hours. To make it last long, you will need to keep the juice properly refrigerated. It is advisable to refrigerate in a covered glass or a plastic container. This way you can keep the lemon juice fresh for 2 to 3 days.
To further increase the shelf life, you will need to freeze it. For this store the fresh lemon juice in an airtight container by leaving about a 0.5-inch space on top. It will help as juice will expand as it will freeze — this way the juice can be stored for 3 to 4 months.
Read more: Best Lemon Squeezer
2. Bottled Lemon Juice
If you want to keep the lemon juice for long, try the bottled product that has a longer shelf life. It is so as bottles juice is processed, concentrated and then preservatives are also added. Before bottling the juice, the concentrate is once heated to a high temperature before filling.
The properly preserved and bottled juice can last for long up to 1 year. But if you open it once, you will need to refrigerate it to avoid it going bad. With refrigeration, you can hold the juice good for about six months.
If you are buying from a good brand, do not forget to see the best before date that will tell you the shelf life of the product.
After buying the lemons keep then stored in a cool, dry area. At room temperature, the lemons can last up to 1 week. After that, they will start to become dry and lose flavor. To hold the lemons for longer, store them in a plastic bag that can keep them good for 3 to 4 weeks.
For even more extended periods, you can freeze the lemons as it is in the plastic bag. When you want to use them microwave the frozen lemons for few seconds of put merely in cold water for about 15 minutes. This way you can use the lemons for 3 to 4 months.
4. Lemon Slices
When you are serving lemon juice to your guests and leave the lemon slices at room temperature, you will find that they become soggy and bad in look. To avoid this, you can keep the lemon slices in water and put it in the refrigerator. It will keep them usable up-to three days. For more extended periods it is better to keep them as lemon juice and use as and when required.
Read more: Best Substitutes for Lemon Juice
III. How to Know If Lemon and Fresh Lemon Juice Is Bad
1. Fresh Lemon Juice
High acidity in the lemon juice retards the damage due to mold and bacteria to a great extent but can not do it indefinitely irrespective of the way it is stored. To do this one need to store the lemon juice in refrigerated condition at subzero temperatures.
To find if the juice has gone bad see the taste, smell or the appearance. If the juice had gone bad, it would look dark yellow in appearance. It will also smell extremely sour and will no longer have the natural taste.
Read more: Best Citrus Juicer
You want to know that the lemon is ok to use or not, it is quite easy. If you see the white and black patches on a lemon slice or white mold spots on the outside of the whole lemon, then throw it as it is no longer fit to use.
If it is somewhere in between, it is a bit difficult to establish if the lemon is ok or bad. It is the stage when the oxygen has started reacting and breaking the lemon juice molecules thereby affecting its quality, but the damage is still not much to allow the growth of mold and bacteria.
Some other sign of spoilage in lemons are:
- Soft or brown color spots on the outer skin.
- Squishy areas in the lemon flesh
- White or black spots on either the out skin or in the flesh.
- Slimy outer skin
- Oozing out of the juice
IV. How to Store Lemon and Lemon Juice for Long Period
1. Fresh Lemon Juice
If you want to increase the shelf life of lemon juice then never keep it for long at room temperature. Also, avoid using transparent glass bottles as light will break down the contents of juice faster. By storing lemons juice in colored bottles way, the shelf life will increase. An excellent way to store the lemon juice is to freeze it in an ice tray. It will then last for months.
Another trick of storing lemons is to dip them in a jar full of water and place it in the refrigerator.
If you want to use lemons for long, it is of utmost importance that you store them properly. The lemons kept at room temperature will last only for a week before going bad. If you are repeatedly dealing with stale lemons, please follow the following tips to increase the shelf life lemons:
- Always store the lemons in a sealed plastic pack. Take out air from the pack as much as possible, to help lemons retain the juice and taste up to 4 weeks.
- If you have used half the lemon and want to retain the other half, it can be preserved by wrapping it in plastic and then place it in an airtight container in a refrigerator.
- Also, lemons are prone to be affected by ethylene. So never store then near fruits like banana, papaya, etc. that are ripened using ethylene, else it will spoil them very fast.
V. Can I Use Expired Lemon Juice?
Lemon juice must not be used once it has outlived its shelf life. But, still there can be some pretty good uses such as:
- Use the juice in the face mask.
- Use in dishes that are to be heated or boiled
- Can use in preparations as pies, cake or puddings.
- Use it to make the syrup by boiling it with sugar
- Use it to your laundry to get a fresh smell.
- Also use it to wipe your furniture
- Use it to clean the floor.
- Use it to clean brass or copper surfaces.
So, we have answered your question “Does lemon juice go bad?”, but the truth is that lemon may go wrong, but it will never be useless.