Can lemons go bad?

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

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

Can lemons go bad?

Yes, like all other food items lemons also go bad after a certain time. They begin to lose their potency and develop off smell and their texture also changes. Moreover, there can also be mold or any other organic growth on them.

So once your lemons go bad, the best thing you can do is to discard them as consumption of bad lemons can cause health problems and no one wants to suffer from any health issue just because of consuming a lemon that has gone bad, right?

How to tell if lemons are bad?

There are a couple of indications that point out that your lemons have gone bad. You should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of the lemons to give the final verdict about whether or not the lemons have gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot a mold or some organic growth on your lemon, then the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of it. 

If you see a mold on the lemon then you should never smell such a lemon. Molds can produce mycotoxins and if you smell a moldy lemon the mycotoxins can enter your body via inhalation and once they come into your body, they disrupt your natural microflora and weaken your immune system. 

Moreover, if you spot some discoloration, especially brown specks on your lemon, that is an indication that your lemons are past their prime age.

If you consume a bad lemon, it can cause many foodborne illnesses including food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and sometimes even fever.

Texture

It is worth mentioning that fresh raw lemons are firm to touch. So if you feel something slimy, gooey, or if the lemons are mushy, limp, or very soft then it is an indication of a bad lemon and you should discard it.

Smell

If you smell something that does not quite feel like the lemon itself or if the tangy smell of the lemon has weakened then it is the indication of a bad lemon and you should get rid of it.

If the lemons have developed off-smell and off-flavor then consuming such lemons can put you at risk of many digestive issues especially food poisoning, moreover, you can also suffer from headaches and bloating. 

What is the shelf life of lemons?

Whole lemons

Raw whole lemons last for about 3-4 weeks when they are properly stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. What you gotta do is store the fresh raw lemons in a plastic zipper bag in the fridge to protect them from water loss. 

The raw fresh whole lemons last for about 1-2 weeks if they are stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat. It is worth mentioning that you should store lemons in a well-ventilated place and you should never store lemons in a humid environment as excessive moisture can mess up the quality and freshness of lemon.

Whole fresh lemons last for about a week when they are kept on the countertop.

Cut lemons

Cut lemons last for about 3-4 days when they are properly stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the lemons and lemons can even last for more than this, provided that they are stored properly.

You can read how to make lemon bars here.

How to properly store lemons?

  1. Fresh raw lemons can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry but if you want to prolong their shelf life then it is recommended to store them properly in the fridge.
  2. When storing cut lemons in the fridge, you should always store them in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag.
  3. Cut lemons should always be stored in the refrigerator.
  4. You can even store your cut lemons in the freezer in a plastic freezer bag and eliminate the excess air from the bag so that the chilled air won’t make your lemons dry.

Conclusion

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

Citations

https://www.doesitgobad.com/do-lemons-go-bad/#:~:text=A%20whole%20lemon%20should%20last,days%20longer%20in%20the%20pantry.&text=When%20it%20comes%20to%20cut%20lemons%2C%20they%20retain%20quality%20for,inevitably%20shrivel%20and%20dry%20out.

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-tell-if-lemons-went-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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