Sure, we can’t drink lemon juice straight up, but this is a useful and beneficial kitchen stable! It’s an addition to beverages or to garnish on dishes, giving more of a zesty flavor.
And because of its high acid content and flavor, it’s only used in small amounts. That said, we heard that the high acidity in lemon juice would prevent it from spoiling. But it still has many people wonder, does lemon juice go bad?
Read on as we delve into the details about storage tips, shelf life and expiration to help you out!
Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?
Yes, lemon juice will go bad over time. The rate it spoils depends on the type of lemon juice you have. There are two main types of lemon juice: Freshly squeezed and store-bought varieties. The former would spoil quicker compared to the latter.
Store-bought juice contains preservatives, usually sulfites, and is pasteurized to get rid of bacteria. That way, it lasts longer, even when unrefrigerated, as long as it stays unopened.
Another factor to consider is whether you store your juice properly or not. If you store it well, then it will last longer than expected.
How Long Does Lemon Juice Last?
Here is the average lemon juice shelf life:
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly squeezed lemon juice can last for two to three days refrigerated or 1 week when frozen. If unrefrigerated, it won’t last for more than 1 day.
Store-bought lemon juice
Store-bought lemon juice lasts for 1 week refrigerated and 7-10 days when frozen. (*)
Unrefrigerated & unopened store-bought
Unrefrigerated and unopened store-bought lemon juice lasts for three to six months after its best by date.
Refrigerated & unopened store-bought
Refrigerated and unopened store-bought juice last for 6-12 months.
Now, let’s go even deeper and learn about when your juice goes bad so you can avoid consuming it.
How to Tell If Lemon Juice is Bad?
You might have difficulty telling if lemon juice has gone bad. Most spoiled food would smell and taste acidic, which is what it tastes like initially!
We help you out with these helpful tips to tell:
1. The Color
Lemon juice would have a watery light-yellow color. When it spoils, its color will become a dark, cloudy yellow. For lemon juice in opaque bottles, pour it into a glass to check for color changes.
You may notice some white sediment or bits of lemon pulp in lemon juice. If it’s freshly squeezed lemon juice, this is normal, and you just need to shake the bottle before using it.
2. The Smell
Good quality juice would have a soft and pleasant citrusy aroma. If spoiled, bacterial growth occurs, triggering fermentation. As a result, the juice will smell even tangier than usual, indicating it has gone bad.
3. Taste It
Take a tiny sip of the juice. It tastes even sourer than usual or bland without the zesty lemon flavor if it’s gone bad.
4. Watch Out for Molds
It would contain water, which is where bacterial growth begins. If you find signs of mold around the packaging or the juice itself, it means the lemon juice is infested with bacteria.
Watch out for traces of yeast or mold. If you see any, dispose of the juice immediately and clean your container thoroughly to prevent mold from spreading around food in your fridge or freezer.
Don’t stop here! We’ve got more in store for you, literally. Next up, we’ll show you excellent ways to store your juice.
How To Store Lemon Juice
Lemon juice appropriately stored will help keep it last even longer than its expiration date. Here are tips to keep your juice from spoilage:
1. Storing in refrigerators or freezer
Ensure that you keep your fresh juice in your refrigerator at temperatures between 32-40 degrees F. We suggest storing it in an airtight bottle to preserve its flavor and quality for a few days.
It’s best to store it in smaller jars based on how much you usually need in one sitting. Doing so prevents removing and placing the lemon juice in your refrigerator.
The constant and drastic change in temperature would alter the juice’s chemical structure, causing it to spoil quickly.
Besides this, store it in dark bottles or wrap the dark paper around your juice packaging. Light can destroy the quality of juice, so keep it in a dark place at all times.
You can also freeze it to last for a week or so since bacteria and pathogens can’t multiply or regrow in freezing temperatures.
You can store your juice by freezing it in ice cubes and placing it in a plastic resealable freezer bag.
Note that one ice cube is approximately 2 tablespoons, so you’ll know how much you need.
Freezing it in ice cubes than in one container is convenient as it thaws quicker, and you’ll only get how much you need.
Does Lemon Juice Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, lemon juice needs to be refrigerated. The high acidity makes it a perfect environment for bacteria growth, and without refrigeration, that bacteria can quickly spoil your juice.
Plus, it will last longer in the fridge than at room temperature – so it’s a good idea to store it in the fridge even if you plan on using it up relatively quickly.
2. Storing in the pantry
If you have store-bought juice, you can store it in a cool and dry place outside the fridge. Usually, we leave it in the pantry, but you can also keep it in your kitchen cabinet or countertop.
Wherever you plan to leave it, make sure that it stays at constant room temperature. Also, keep your bottled away from light and heat sources, like the stove, radiator, or other appliances.
3. Can It!
Besides freezing, consider canning your juice! It has you store large amounts of juice to last for even longer.
If you can store correctly, you can store it in the pantry for 2 years or so.
- Prepare the process with mason jars, a heat source, and a canner.
- Start by sanitizing your mason jar, either through the dishwasher or putting it in boiling water for 10 minutes, killing bacteria.
- Boil lemon juice and pour it into the jars until it reaches the top.
- Next, seal the mason jars tightly, preventing air from coming out.
- Seal the jar by pressing bubbles in the center of your lid.
- If it goes down and up, the air goes in, and you’ll need to use the juice within the week.
- When filling your jars, please keep them in a canner with boiling water and cover them.
- Leave it for 15 minutes and remove the jars, letting it cool. After that, store it in a cool and dry place!
Learn more: Does Lemonade Go Bad? Does It Need To Be Refrigerated?
Lemon Juice Shelf Life and Spoilage Summary
- Does lemon juice go bad? Lemon juice’s shelf life isn’t too long if opened, but unopened bottles can last even past its expiration date with proper storage.
- How long does lemon juice last? Lemon juice can last up to one year if unopened or five days after opening when stored in a bottle or can.
- How long does fresh lemon juice last? Freshly squeezed lemon juice should be used within 2-3 days, and frozen lemon juice should be consumed within 4 months of opening.
Next time you have lemon juice for food or drinks, consume it at the recommended date and store it well to prevent quick spoilage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about lemon juice with these frequently asked questions:
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