You’ve organized some family gatherings at your place for lunch, and you want everything to be just perfect, from food on the table to overall mood.
The clock is ticking, and you only have a few hours before everyone arrives. So, three hours later, the food is ready to be served on the table.
But wait for a second…Oh no! In all the rush, you’ve totally forgotten about dessert!
Then it hits you – Key Lime Pie. You can make it easily and quickly, and it will firm up just in time. You’re quickly gathering all the necessary ingredients, only to realize your lime juice is a few days past its date. Can you use it?
Does Lime Juice Go Bad?
Since this is amongst the most asked questions, we’ve decided to take the matter into our own hands. We’re providing all the necessary information there is to know about the shelf life of lime juice, so read along!
Does Lime Juice Go Bad?
The real question to this topic would be ‘can’ lime juice go bad.
Well, like all other juices, lime juice can also go bad. But does it go bad?
Honestly, it depends on multiple factors, but in most cases, it will only deteriorate in quality before it ever goes off.
Unlike other popular store-bought juices such as orange juice, it will last much longer after opening, and it will not spoil that quickly or easily.
Lime juice is highly acidic, just like vinegar, and it’s hard for any bacteria or fungi to thrive in such an environment. Of course, it can still happen eventually. Nevertheless, if the storage conditions are ideal, it’s very unlikely to occur.
These sour, round, and bright green citrus fruits are nutritional powerhouses. They’re loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and other nutrients.
There are several different types of limes – Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia), desert lime (Citrus glauca), kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix), and Persian lime (Citrus latifolia).
Each of these has different characteristics. For example, key limes are smaller and more acidic than Persian ones. In the USA, the Persian and Key types are the most available and commonly used ones.
It is time to look at the nutritional chart. Let us first review the nutritional value of just one lime (44g):
|Vitamin C||19% of the RDI|
|Iron||1% of the RDI|
|Calcium||1% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6||1% of the RDI|
|Thiamine||1% of the RDI|
|Potassium||1% of the RDI|
Now, the nutritional value of one cup of lime juice (242g):
|Vitamin C||123% of the RDI|
|Iron||2% of the RDI|
|Calcium||3% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6||5% of the RDI|
|Thiamine||3% of the RDI|
|Potassium||8% of the RDI|
Lime juice also contains some fair amounts of vitamin A, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, niacin, and riboflavin. As you can see, it is very rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly vitamin C. It also contains no cholesterol, and it is low in carbs.
However, note that this refers to raw lime juice. Other types include added sugar or other ingredients, and the nutritional value for those types will be slightly different.
All in all, lime juice can yield several health benefits:
- May reduce heart risk disease
- Can promote healthy skin
- May prevent kidney stones
- Can increase iron absorption
- Could lower the risk of certain cancers, etc.
Potential Side Effects
Limes are generally pretty safe to consume, but there could be some side effects. If you’re allergic to citrus fruits, avoid limes because they can cause allergy symptoms such as hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties. If this occurs, contact your doctor immediately.
Also, some people are not allergic but can experience acid reflux due to high acidity levels. Some other digestive symptoms include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and difficulty swallowing.
Furthermore, the acid in limes can erode tooth enamel, so make sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking any citrus fruits.
How Long Does Lime Juice Last?
Store-bought, unrefrigerated lime juice comes with a best-by date. That date gives you some guidelines on how long the juice will retain its freshness.
However, that date is a rough estimate, and you can most certainly use it months after. Of course, that’s in case it has been stored properly.
Lime juice has a much longer shelf life than other juices because it has high acidity levels. Plus, store-bought versions are pasteurized and almost always contain preservatives that will keep the juice good for much longer.
Moreover, after you open it, it won’t go bad that quickly. That means it should stay fine for weeks, if not months. At least, until the best-before date.
|Type||Pantry/Fridge||Best by +|
|Store-bought unopened Lime Juice||12-18 months||6 months|
|Store-bought opened Lime Juice||6 months||1-3 months|
|Homemade Lime Juice||2-3 days||–|
As you can see, lime juice can keep quality months after opening, unlike OJ. Keep in mind that most manufacturers recommend finishing the bottle before its best-by date.
But what if you opened the lime juice bottle that is already past its date on the label? Just try to finish it within a couple of days, even though it will most likely retain its freshness for an additional month or perhaps even more. To experience the best possible quality, we advise you not to put that to the test.
Lastly, if you squeezed the limes yourself, make sure you use up the juice in a couple of days. That’s because it is much more prone to spoilage, and it will degrade in quality much faster due to the lack of preservatives.
Related Question: How To Tell If A Lemon Is Bad?
How To Store Lime Juice?
Store-bought lime juice is shelf-stable; thus, you can keep it at room temperature. As long as the temperature doesn’t fluctuate, it will stay suitable for many months.
You can stash it in the pantry or a cupboard, whichever you prefer. If it comes in a see-through package, make sure it sits in a dark location, as light can accelerate the deterioration process.
On the other hand, we recommend storing the opened lime juice bottle in the refrigerator. It can stay good at room temperature, but the chilly temperatures will slow down the oxidation process and prolong its shelf life for sure. Also, always keep the bottle sealed tightly after every usage.
When it comes to the homemade version, keep it in the fridge at all times, because it won’t last long at room temperature for long. Moreover, you can transfer the juice into a glass or plastic container with an airtight seal.
Can You Freeze Lime Juice?
If you’ve made too much lime juice and don’t want it to go to waste, you can freeze it. As we usually use only small lime juice quantities, the best option is to use an ice cube tray.
Once the cubes are formed, you can transfer them into an airtight freezer bag. That way, they’ll take less space. You can defrost the cubes or use them frozen in a drink. Just pick up a few cubes, and you’re good to go. Simple as that!
Signs Of Spoilage
The most common misconception is that the lime juice went bad because it turned brown. That is not true, as the browning process is perfectly natural and doesn’t affect its quality. If you wish to avoid this phenomenon, store the juice in the fridge at all times.
In most cases, you’ll throw the juice out because its quality is terrible – not because it shows spoilage signs. Still, some signs will indicate your lime juice is not suitable for consumption.
- Bottle leakage
- Mold spots
- Off odor
- The lack of citrus aroma.
Can You Get Sick From Spoiled Lime Juice?
There are possible side effects like nausea or weakness, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
Does Lime Juice Go Bad – Final Word
In conclusion, lime juice does go bad. However, in most cases, it will only deteriorate in quality and lose its flavors before it shows some actual rancidity signs.
As for store-bought lime juice, it will last much longer because it contains preservatives, and it is often pasteurized. In contrast, homemade lime juice will have a shelf life of just a few days before it goes bad.
Bear in mind that the juice’s browning is a natural process, and it doesn’t mean it is spoiled. But, if you notice some leaking, off odor, mold spots on the container, or loss of the citrus aroma, you should throw the juice away as it is not suitable for drinking anymore.
Moreover, it would be best if you stored an opened lime juice bottle in the refrigerator as it will prolong its shelf life and slow down the browning process drastically.
Keep unopened bottles in the pantry; just make sure they are not exposed to light. You can also freeze the juice as ice cubes and use it to flavor your water and give it that extra boost of nutrients!
Make sure to read our other article about the shelf life of lemon juice and stay zesty!