Despite being acidic, lemon can spoil, like any other fruit. If it's wrinkled, too soft or hard, mottled and opaque, it's starting to lose flavor and juice. Prevent this from happening by learning to store the lemon at the correct temperature.
Method 1 of 3: Saving Whole Lemons
Step 1. Save lemons for immediate use
If you plan to use them within a few days of purchase, put them in a place where they don't get direct sunlight. They usually stay cool for a week at room temperature. After this period, they begin to wrinkle, lose their shine and show soft or hard spots.
Step 2. Store excess lemons in a tightly closed bag in the refrigerator
Place them in an airtight bag and get as much air as possible. In this state, lemon can preserve juice and flavor for up to four weeks.
The ideal storage temperature for ripe lemons is between 5 °C and 10 °C. In most refrigerators, the center or door shelves are around these temperatures
Method 2 of 3: Storing Sliced Lemons
Step 1. Cover the exposed side of the lemon
Decrease liquid loss and prevent oxidation by protecting the exposed half of the lemon from contact with air. Here are some ways to do this:
- Place the lemon halves, cut sides face down, in a small dish.
- Wrap the halves with plastic wrap.
- Place the sliced lemons in the smallest airtight container you can find.
Step 2. Refrigerate the lemon
Although they last longer than other open fruits, you need to consume them in two or three days.
Step 3. Freeze slices to place in drinks
Freeze lemon slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, allowing space between them. Once frozen, place them in an airtight bag and leave it in the freezer indefinitely.
- When freezing lemon (or any other food) on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, the slices don't stick together when ice starts to form.
- Like any other fruit, lemon is soft when frozen. That's why it's best to use it in drinks as soon as it's taken out of the freezer while it's still hard.
Method 3 of 3: Saving lemon juice and zest
Step 1. Put the lemon juice in the fridge
Despite its acidity, lemon juice can harbor bacteria if kept at room temperature. After two to four days in the fridge, it starts to lose its taste. Discard it if it looks dull or dark or loses its flavor, usually within seven to ten days.
- Do not store lemon juice in clear bottles, as light accelerates oxidation.
- Generally, bottled lemon juice purchased in supermarkets contains preservatives, which extend the shelf life to a few months.
Step 2. Freeze leftover lemon juice in ice cube trays
This is the easiest way to store excess juice. Once frozen, transfer the juice cubes to an airtight plastic bag still in the freezer.
Another option is to use the juice to make a preserve
Step 3. Store the shavings in an airtight container
Once the zest of the lemon has been stripped, place it in a jar with a lid and store it in a cool, dry place. Fresh zest quickly loses flavor and is at risk of becoming infected with bacteria in just two or three days.
Step 4. Freeze leftover chips
If you have a lot of lemon zest, make small mounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze them and transfer them to an airtight container.
- As lemons are sensitive to ethylene, be careful not to store them near fruits that release this substance, especially apples.
- When choosing lemons, look for those that have a thin skin and are slightly soft. They have more juice than hard, thick-skinned lemons.
- Green lemons can be stored for four months at a temperature of around 10°C.