You’re planning to have friends over at the house later in the afternoon and your mouth starts to water at the idea of having Tequila Lime Grilled Shrimp for dinner. One of the main ingredients is lime juice.
Suddenly it hits you!
You begin to wonder whether or not that half-finished bottle of lime juice is still good for consumption.
It’s already way beyond its “best consumed before” date.
Even though stored inside the fridge after opening, it has been left open for a few weeks already, and you can’t tell how often it has perhaps sat at room temperature.
You’re now wondering if you should just dispose of that bottle of lime juice and go get a new one at the grocery store. Maybe it’s safer to toss it, or maybe it’s still good.
With that in mind, we have written this article to learn more about why and how lime juice goes bad, storage, and the signs that it has already spoiled.
Does lime juice go bad?
The short answer is yes, lime juice can go bad, especially if not stored and handled properly.
But don’t be sad, as it doesn’t turn rancid after a few weeks of purchase.
Lime juice, whether it’s store-bought or homemade, is considered highly acidic, meaning the bacteria is slow to grow or multiply within the liquid.
But remember that there’s a big difference between the shelf life of store-bought lime juice and the fresh lime juice that you’ve squeezed yourself at home.
The former won’t spoil quicker than hand-squeezed juice from fresh limes.
This is because of the presence of preservatives and additives in the product which slows down the bacteria development.
Typically, unopened store-bought lime juice, if stored in the pantry, will last for up to 3 months past its best-by date.
Meanwhile, homemade juice will likely stay fresh within three days in the refrigerator.
How long will lime juice last
Lime juice sold in the refrigerated section usually comes with a best-by date.
It has a much longer shelf-life than other juices due to its highly acidic nature.
A bottle of store-bought lime juice should be fine to consume for a few days or weeks past that date, however, when you open the bottle or carton, you should store it immediately in the fridge so it will stay fresh until 12 months.
You must keep the bottle tightly sealed to avoid contact with the air, which is responsible for the oxidation process then leads to spoilage.
An unopened bottle of lime juice (commercially-made) will stay fresh up to 3 months past its best-by date.
When it comes to fresh lime juice, it’s ideal to consume it the same day you squeeze the lime for the best flavor.
If that’s not possible, try to store it in the fridge within two to three days.
The table below provides a more detailed breakdown of the shelf life of your lime juice, based on its storage condition and storage method.
|In the pantry||In the refrigerator|
|Unopened lime juice (commercially made)||best-by date + 3 months|
|Opened lime juice |
|up to 12 months|
|Homemade fresh lime juice||two to three days|
How to store fresh lime juice
As mentioned, fresh lime juice that you have squeezed yourself at home will not last long unlike store-bought orange juice.
That’s why it’s best to consume it the day you squeeze it for the best flavor and freshness.
But in case you’re planning to use it a day or two after then you should maximize its shelf life by storing it in an airtight container or a mason jar. Here’s how to do it:
- Fresh lime juice
- Airtight container
- Pour freshly-squeezed lime juice in a clean, tightly sealed bottle or airtight container.
- Label and date the container using an erasable marker.
- Once done, slide it into your refrigerator.
If stored and handled properly, your fresh lime juice should stay fresh in the refrigerator for two to three days, preferably kept in the coldest part of the fridge.
When storing unopened commercially-made lime juice, you should store the container or bottle in a cool and dark place, preferably away from direct sunlight like your pantry or kitchen cupboard.
Once opened, this is time you refrigerate the container to retain its quality and prevent browning. Make sure it’s tightly sealed before you slide it inside the fridge.
Do I need to refrigerate lime juice?
Yes, refrigerating lime juice can extend its shelf life, so that you can use it for a longer period of time.
Remember, though, that store-bought lime juice doesn’t necessarily need to be refrigerated until you open the container.
Simply store it in a cool and dark place like a pantry or kitchen cupboard and that’s it!
If you happen to open the bottle or container, the right thing you need to do is store it in the refrigerator so it can last for a few days.
Leaving your fresh lime juice out in the open can lead to oxidation and the juice will turn rancid in a day.
Can you freeze lime juice?
Yes, you can safely freeze lime juice to significantly extend its shelf life.
It’s an ideal thing to do especially for those people living in an area where fresh limes and lemons are expensive.
However, remember that the consistency and texture may alter after the juice is frozen and thawed.
Furthermore, bottles of store-bought lime juice have a quite long shelf life thanks to the additives and preservatives added to the liquid.
This means that refrigeration isn’t necessary for them.
But when it comes to homemade lime juice, the freezing process should keep the juice fresh for much longer.
If properly frozen, most fresh orange juice can retain its quality for around 6 months.
How to tell if lime juice is bad
There are three easy ways of checking whether your lime juice has gone bad.
Unopened refrigerated orange juice has a longer shelf life than fresh juice.
Once opened, it lasts for up to 12 months and you’ll typically notice that your lime juice is bad since it may start to ferment or form mold.
If you find this sign, better get rid of it to avoid food poisoning.
Here are the other telltale signs that your store-bought or homemade lime juice is already bad:
The first way to tell if the liquid is bad is by checking whether there’s any sign of mold in the juice.
To do this, simply pour the juice into a transparent glass then inspect. If you spot molds in the juice, then it’s time to throw it out!
The next way is to give it a good sniff.
To confirm, sniff the juice and if it has a rancid, off, or “rotten apple” smell, then it’s a sign that you need to get rid of that juice!
Or, if you don’t smell anything at all when you can see there’s liquid in there, you may be safer tossing it out instead of using it in your recipe.
The final way to tell if your juice has gone bad is to taste it. Dip a teaspoon into your lime juice (so you don’t get too much at once) then see if it has an unusual flavor.
If the juice has a foul or off-flavor, then it’s time to let it go. Sometimes bad citrus juice smells a bit like a rotten apple.
Another sign of spoilage is when you notice the loss of the citrus flavor in your lime juice. If it’s sour but doesn’t have the fresh taste of lime, it’s not good to drink.
The bottom line
Limes and lime juice are a natural product, a fruit.
Even though you might get used to seeing a squeeze bottle or jar or a leftover container of lime juice from last week’s limeade-making session, make sure you are giving it a sniff test.
Taste a bit off your pinky before adding to the rest of your ingredients to make sure you are about to make the freshest-tasting recipe possible.
As mentioned earlier, Lime Juice does go bad. However, store-bought lime juice lasts much longer compared to home-made ones.
It contains more preservatives and is often pasteurized. In comparison, the home-made lime juice lasts only for a few days before it goes rancid and spoiled.
Just make sure to check the best-by-date or expiry on the label and follow the correct storage procedure (or disposal in the case of spoiled lime juice).
🍰 Looking for a good lime recipe? Try our No-Bake Lime & Gingersnap Cheesecake! 🍰
- 5 c water, with 1 c set aside
- 1 c lime juice
- ⅔ c sugar
- 3 T honey
- In a small saucepan heat 1 cup of water, sugar, and honey together. Stir and heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the simple syrup that you made above and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Add the cooled syrup, lime, and remaining water to a large pitcher. Stir to combine.
- Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
- Stir and serve over ice.