Lemon is one of the most widely used fruits. From kitchen veggies to drinks, it is used in many food and drink items to improve the flavor and make it more delicious. To make things even better, lemon contains lots of antioxidants and nutrients like Vitamin C and it packs a ton of flavor when used. It’s no wonder everyone has it in their kitchen!
Lemon is also used in food preservation to keep our food fresh for a longer time. Squeezing the lemons and storing the juice in your stock is a good way to constantly supply fresh lemon juice whenever you need it. This way you can enjoy the flavors and freshness of lemon on your food and drinks. All it takes is keeping a preservable storage bottle in your fridge for the right period of time. Knowing just a few small tips can quench any fear that you may get sick from expired lemon juice.
Shelf Life of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
A freshly squeezed lemon juice can go bad in a matter of hours if you keep it at room temperature. You will see the visual difference in your lemon juice within 4 hours because of the growth of bacteria and enzymes on it. It’s subtle but it’s there. Lemon juice is just not one of those items you want to leave our on the kitchen counter or out at the barbecue. However, if you keep the lemon juice in a tight container and keep it in a refrigerator, then you can help it stay fresh and achieve a shelf life of 4-5 days.
How Long Does Bottled Lemon Juice Last?
Now you might be thinking less than a week doesn’t sound like a lot of time. If you’re looking to have extended lemon juice shelf life, commercially purchased bottled lemon juice may be better for your needs. Bottled lemon juice does not taste as good as freshly squeezed lemon juice because of additives that are used in it to improve its shelf life but it can easily be overlooked if you value extended shelf life. Commercially produced bottled lemon juice contains natural preservatives like citric acid as well as additional preservatives to increase the shelf life of the juice. It can last up to 9 to 12 months if it is stored in a proper way. When you buy your lemon juice from the store, take a look on the side for storage directions. You may find that many way lemon juice to be stores right away before opening and others want it to remain unrefrigerated until opening. Each manufacturer will be different but you will definitely accomplish a longer shelf life so long as they have preservatives added to the product for you.
Signs of Spoilage of Lemon Juice
Life happens. That’s why it’s important that you know the signs of spoilage in lemon juice and when it is no longer safe to use. If you’re making your own lemon juice, once you expel the juice, it will start to react with the air under the presence of various microorganisms. It’s worth noticing that it’s not just freshly squeezed juice that can go bad. Both natural and commercially produced bottled lemon juice can spoil if not stored properly. Here are a few things that you can consider to check if your lemon juice is spoiled or not.
Fresh lemon juice has a pale yellowish color, and if it is spoiled, it will start turning into dark yellow. I know this can sometimes be hard to detect after a few days have past so you will want to pay special attention to color when you first squeeze your lemons.
The fresh lemon juice smells sour and sharp. The more it will get spoiled, the more it will start smelling the pungent. Before you consume, give it a whiff. You’ll be able to tell if lemon juice has gone bad by one good sniff alone.
The lemon juice is naturally sour and bitter because of the presence of acid on it. If it is exposed to the bacteria, it will start tasting bitter. A bitter taste signifies that the lemon is spoiled. Tasting the lemon is also the best way to test if the lemon juice is spoiled. I only recommend this if you’re in the bounds of a few hours and not in more extreme cases where you’ve left your lemon juice outside overnight. Be wise as tasting something that doesn’t pass the tests above can leave you feeling ill.
Health Risks of Spoiled Lemon Juice
If you get to know that your lemon juice is spoiled, then the best option you have is to throw it right away. Lemons are cheap, friends! It’s not worth risking your health nor the health of your family over a $0.50 lemon. However, if you unknowingly consume it, you can get food poisoning from the excessive bacteria and yeast contained in it. If you consume the spoiled lemon juice, you might feel sick after a few hours or after a few days. The possible symptoms of food poisoning are nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, or vomiting. If you notice mild symptoms, you can drink more water to protect your body from dehydration. Also, consuming yogurt and bananas might help you to fight against the bacteria causing food poisoning. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms after consuming it, you should immediately seek out a doctor.
How to Keep Your Lemon Juice Fresh?
Once you cut the lemon, it starts to oxidize rapidly if you leave it at room temperature. It will lose its quality within a matter of hours. As I mentioned earlier, you must refrigerate freshly squeezed lemon juice and keep in a airtight container for a maximum of 5 days. After that, it is no longer fresh for consumption. Your alternative is to buy commercially manufactured lemon juice at the grocery store and follow their storage directions which often require refrigeration after opening – sometimes before. The point is, that cold frigid air from the refrigerator is what you need to store lemon juice and keep it fresh.
My friends, I hope that you run to grab a few lemons on your next grocery trip or trip to the farmer’s market. Lemons are remarkable for their vitamin value and for their flavor profile. We just have to be certain that we take extra care to keep it fresh and healthy for our bodies. As always, I look forward to hearing of all the delicious, lemon-filled foods you make for your loved ones.