I don't know about you however, often if I purchase a bag of lemons or limes, I end up not using all of them before they go bad. Can you freeze lemons? Can you freeze limes? Today I will show you how to freeze lemons and limes for use in cocktails, flavoring water, for cooking or for baking.
Unlike most fruits, lemons and limes do not continue to ripen once picked. So your goal, once you have them home, is to keep them moist and juicy or freeze them to seal in the freshness.
The way I do that is I dampen a paper towel, fold it into a small square and tuck it inside a glass container or plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator. That helps my lemons and lime last as long as possible.
How to freeze lemons and limes
Freezing lemons or limes is easy. First decide how you would like to prepare them. Choose to cut them into wedges or slices or do as I do and prepare them both ways. Each shape has it's own use in my book.
- I like to use a vacuum sealer (I have a FoodSaver) to freeze lemons, limes, and oranges for that matter. I happen to have a Foodsaver and use it for meats, veggies, fruits and more. It seriously pays for itself quickly.
- To freeze using a vacuum sealer: First clean and dry your fruit, then choose to cut your citrus into wedges or slices Place them flat into a vacuum bag and press the button that says vac/seal.
- Watch the bag, the air begins to get sucked out JUST as you see the juice begin to leave a piece of fruit, quickly hit the seal button.
- You don't want the slices or wedges sealed in too tightly you want them to retain their juices. All you are trying to do is remove most of the air to prevent freezer burn.
- You can also to choose to place your cut limes and lemons on a baking tray in your freezer for a couple hours to first freeze up. I choose not to just in case they pick up any funky smell or taste, just my preference.
- Another method to freeze limes, lemons or oranges is to simply freeze their juice ice cube trays.
The best way to store limes or lemons
- Many people store their lemons right on the counter or in a fruit bowl. That method typically allows your lemons and limes to last about a week before becoming soft and mushy.
- Many people store their lemons and limes in their refrigerator to extend their life. Often the become dried out.
- A few resources I have read over the years tested various ways and overall the result was if you store lemons and limes in sealed plastic bags in your refrigerator they will last 3-4 weeks. That right there sold me and that's what I do. Cooks Illustrated tested a variety of ways to prolong the life and quality of lemons and limes and that's the one that did the best.
- Freezing slices or wedges of lemons and limes is another great way to extend their life and guarantee you that when you need a hit of acid when making a dish or a squeeze of lime into homemade soups, Pho, pan sauces, baked goods, your favorite beer, cocktails or flavored waters.
- You can also freeze in ice cube trays just the juice from a lemon, lime or orange for that matter.
- If you choose to freeze just the juice from citrus, zest them first and freeze the zest to add to baked goods. Simply freeze citrus zest in plastic bags and grab a pinch or a TBS whenever you need it. Perfect!
How to freeze lemons or limes without a vacuum sealer:
No worries if you don't have a vacuum sealer. Simple freeze your lemons or limes in freezer baggies, pressing out as much of the air as possible. Use within 3 months.
Ideas for using up frozen lemons or limes:
- Flavored waters
- Make a citrus simple syrup
- Pan sauces and general cooking, artichokes, Chicken Franchaise, soups and more.
- Baking such as lemon or lime bars, lemon cookies, lemon or lime pound cakes or loaf cakes, muffins, cheesecakes, pies, cakes, donuts, tarts and more
- Homemade Water Ice
- Homemade lemonade or lime aid
I also do this with oranges. Same technique, choose to freeze as wedges or slices.
Tips: Package similarly cut fruit together. Wedges with wedges, slices with slices. Create mixed packages of lemons and limes. If using a vacuum sealer, cut bags in half and use the sealer button to create mini bags.
Additional options: Freeze just the juice in ice cube trays. Freeze zest in small freezer bags and take what you need out when you need it. Color may fade but the taste is on-point.
Let me know what you think when you try either technique...Freezing or storing in your fridge in a sealed bag.
Recipes to try
You may also like to know how to make the BEST salsa right from canned tomatoes. Just 5 minutes to make and you'll want to drink it with a straw, lol! And no cilantro...no problem, it's still crazy good without it!
AND if you have an onion, some cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper...You can make the BEST BEST Hot Onion Dip!! It's a family favorite! Pure comfort food. You will be licking the dish, lol!
- How to make Stovetop Candied Pecans - THE BEST!!
- Homemade Sriracha Salt - So easy, and tasty. Makes a fabulous food gift!
- DIY Lower sugar, lower carb soda - So refreshing!
- Homemade Lime Vodka Cooler - Cheers!
Originally posted March, 2020. Updated January 2023.
How To Freeze Lemons and Limes
- 3 lemons
- 2 limes
- Wash lemons and or limes in warm soapy water and then pat dry.
- Cut fruit into wedges, slices or both.
- Vacuum seal in small batches, placing similar cut fruits together. Do a batch of lemons, limes, and/or combination batch. Smaller bags are better for less waste.
I have been juicing and freezing limes from our tree for years to use throughout the year. Anytime a recipe calls for vinegar I always reconsider the option of the lime juice with amazing results. I often found myself wondering what to do with the occasional fruit I would buy for special meals/parties that didn’t get used. Now I know! Thanks for the great idea!
I wish I had a lime or lemon tree! Thanks!
Paul Orofino says
Do you know if Lemon peel ( twists) can be vacuum sealed and frozen to be used at a future date? Will the lemon oils still be in the peel? Many thanks.
Freeze the citrus slices individually on a cookie sheet--or something flat--don't stack them. Once frozen, put them into a food sealer bag and vacuum seal. The juice stays intact.
Great tip I wasted a lot of lemon and limes,