Can lemon juice go bad?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can lemon juice go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not lemon juice can go bad. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad lemon juice and the shelf life of lemon juice.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can lemon juice go bad?

Yes, like every other food, lemon juice can also go bad after a certain time. Depending upon its storage conditions, the time for which it will retain its freshness before going bad will vary. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that commercially processed lemon juice has a longer shelf life as compared to freshly squeezed lemon juice.

How to spot bad lemon juice?

There are a few indicators that point out whether or not your lemon juice has gone bad. Therefore you should consider the indicators like the change in color, taste, and smell of the lemon juice that tells if or not it has gone bad.

It is a rare phenomenon that you would spot a mold in your lemon juice but still if somehow you see a mold in your lemon juice then it is better to discard it.

Color

The normal color of lemon juice has a slight hint of yellow in it. So if you observe some cloudy appearance or a darker color then it is an indication that your lemon juice is past its prime age.

But it is worth mentioning that browning of lemon juice is a natural phenomenon and it does not necessarily mean that the lemon juice that has turned dark has gone bad.

Smell

The smell of fresh lemon juice is tangy and refreshing. There will be a noticeable difference in the smell of the lemon juice that has gone bad. So if you smell off-smell while taking a sniff test of your lemon juice then it is an indication of bad lemon juice.

Taste

The fresh lemon juice has a tangy and citrusy flavor to it. The absence of this tangy flavor or the presence of flat or bland taste will indicate that your lemon juice has gone bad and you should get rid of it.

Drinking bad lemon juice (having bacteria or microbes in it) puts you at the risk of many foodborne illnesses especially food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered it. So consumption of lemon juice that has gone bad and has some bacterial growth in it often causes diarrhea.
  2. Food poisoning after consuming lemon juice that has gone bad is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases.
  3. If you have consumed lemon juice that had obnoxious agents in it then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  4. Consuming lemon juice that has gone bad will also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

It is worth mentioning that if you suffer from diarrhea and vomiting after consuming bacteria-laden lemon juice then not only you should seek immediate medical help but you should also drink plenty of water to compensate for the water loss due to vomiting and diarrhea. 

If you do not drink plenty of water then not only your body will become dehydrated but it will also result in electrolyte imbalance, dizziness, and weakness.

How long does lemon juice last?

Bottled lemon juice

The unopened bottled lemon juice lasts for about 3-6 months past its “best by” date if stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

On the other hand, the opened bottled lemon juice lasts for about 6-12 months in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit after it is opened. You should tightly close the lid of lemon juice when storing it in the fridge. 

Store-bought fresh lemon juice

Store-bought fresh lemon juice lasts for about 4-5 days if it is stored in the fridge in an air-tight container or bottle at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

The shelf life of freshly squeezed lemon juice is shorter as compared to the commercially processed bottled lemon juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice lasts for about 2-3 days when stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or bottle.

You can read how to make whole lemon ice cubes here.

Is bottled lemon juice safe to drink after the best-before date?

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the bottle of lemon juice refers to more of quality rather than safety so lemon juice doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. 

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of lemon juice but you can still use lemon juice that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can lemon juice go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not lemon juice can go bad. Moreover, we discussed different ways to spot bad lemon juice and the shelf life of lemon juice.

Citations

https://www.livestrong.com/article/409693-expired-lemon-juice-and-diarrhea/

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-lemon-juice-go-bad/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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