Can limes go bad?
In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can limes go bad?”. We will also discuss how to know if limes have gone bad, the shelf life of limes, how to properly store them and what happens if you consume bad limes.
Can limes go bad?
Yes, limes can go bad. Limes are perishable and susceptible to spoiling over time, just like any other fruit. Lime shelf life is affected by a number of variables, including the fruit’s original quality, storage conditions, and management (1,2).
Make careful to keep them in the refrigerator, preferably in the freezer, to ensure that they stay as fresh as possible (3).
When a lime’s shelf life ends, it will not decompose immediately after that. These wipes, on the other hand, will begin to dry up with time.
How to know if limes have gone bad?
To tell if limes are bad you should be able to identify some signs of spoilage (4,5).
Skin bruising: Bruises hasten the deterioration process. If the bruise is minor, apply the lime as soon as possible. In any event, do not keep the damaged limes among the other limes.
Dried and wrinkled texture: Limes have a tendency to dry out with time. When you handle dried limes, they will seem weightless. The wrinkly-skinned and rough-textured limes will not stay juicy.
Bad odor: If the limes have a sharply acidic stench, they are doomed. This is common with sliced limes.
Mold growth: If you find white spots or patches on the surface of limes, this indicates that they have ruined. Mold thrives on damp and decaying limes, therefore this is frequently accompanied with a mushy texture.
What is the shelf life of limes?
The shelf life of lime varies depending on different factors. When limes are stored at room temperature they will remain fresh for about 2 weeks (6).
Limes’ shelf life may be prolonged to up to 8 weeks by refrigerating them at temperatures ranging from 4 to 10 °C (39 to 50 °F) (7).
Fruits that have been chopped or sliced are significantly different from their whole-fruit counterparts. If you wish to keep the rolls for a few days, store them in the refrigerator (8).
|Whole limes||1-2 weeks||4-8 weeks|
|Cut limes||2 days||3-4 days|
|Lime Juice (Homemade)||3 days||7 days|
|Lime Juice (Tetrapack – Unopened)||2 months||6 months|
|Lime Juice (Tetrapack – Opened)||3 weeks||1 month|
What affects the shelf life of limes?
Many factors can affect the shelf life of limes. We’ve separated some important topics to consider below (9,10,11):
Storage conditions and Temperature
Higher temperatures can expedite the ripening of limes, resulting in a reduced duration of freshness. The optimal storage temperature for limes is between 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C). By refrigerating them, you can effectively preserve their freshness and prolong their shelf life. This is because refrigeration slows down the natural ripening process of limes.
Extremely dry conditions can result in limes drying up and shrinking, whereas excessive moisture can encourage the growth of mold and lead to spoilage. Limes thrive in a moderately humid setting.
Lime skin can become scratched or bruised due to rough handling, which allows mold and germs to grow. Lime’s shelf life may be increased by properly managing them and preventing needless damage.
The quality and maturity of the limes at the time of purchase also matter. Compared to limes that are already mushy or have flaws, those that are still fresh and firm have a longer shelf life.
Ethylene, a naturally occurring gas released by certain fruits, notably limes, has the ability to speed up ripening and deterioration. Limes should be stored apart from other fruits that generate ethylene gas, such as apples, bananas, and tomatoes.
How to properly store limes?
Properly lime storage is at a temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) and a relative humidity (RH) of 95%. Limes may be preserved for up to 8 weeks if kept in optimum conditions. They also can be frozen to extend their shelf life (7).
Keep in mind that exposing limes to temperatures lower than the ideal storage temperature, which is 10 °C (50 °F), might cause chilling injury, which manifests as peel pitting (7).
To store half-cut limes fresh, wrap them firmly in plastic wrap or store them in a sealed container to decrease air exposure and prevent oxidation and bacteria growth. To retain taste and freshness, refrigerate immediately, ideally in the crisper drawer, and consume within a few days (8).
What happens if you consume a bad lime?
Bad limes can cause a variety of health problems and unpleasant symptoms. Because spoiled limes can grow mold or bacteria, which can generate toxins or cause diseases, you may experience the following symptoms (12,13):
- abdominal pain
Consuming spoiled limes contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli can lead to foodborne illness, while mold growth on spoiled limes, such as Aspergillus and Penicillium species, can produce mycotoxins and trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, resulting in symptoms like itching, hives, swelling, and respiratory difficulties (9,14).
If you suspect that you have consumed spoiled limes and are experiencing any adverse effects, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.
In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can limes go bad?”. We also discussed how to know if limes have gone bad, the shelf life of limes, how to properly store them and what happens if you consume bad limes.
1. Konstantinos, Papoutsis, et al. “Non-chemical treatments for preventing the postharvest fungal rotting of citrus caused by Penicillium digitatum (green mold) and Penicillium italicum (blue mold)”. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2019, 86, 479-491.
2. Samaradiwakara, D. et al. Harvest maturity affects postharvest quality of lime fruits (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle). Tropical Agricultural Research, 2019, 30(4):125.
3. Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.
4. Baldwin, Elizabeth A. et al. “Citrus fruit quality assessment; producer and consumer perspectives”. Stewart Postharvest Review, 2014, 10(2).
5. Kanupuru, P., Uma Reddy, N.V. A Deep Learning Approach to Detect the Spoiled Fruits. WSEAS Transactions on Computer Research, 2022, 10:74-87.
6. Hasbullah, R., Ismailshelf, E. “Shelf life prediction of citrus lemon using a multivariate accelerated shelf-life testing (maslt) approach“. Journal of Horticultural Research, 2022, 30(1): 51–60
7. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016.
8. How should I store cut fruit and vegetables?. USDA, 2023.
9. Konstantinos, Papoutsis, et al. “Non-chemical treatments for preventing the postharvest fungal rotting of citrus caused by Penicillium digitatum (green mold) and Penicillium italicum (blue mold)”. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2019, 86, 479-491.
10. Samaradiwakara, D. et al. Harvest maturity affects postharvest quality of lime fruits (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle). Tropical Agricultural Research, 2019, 30(4):125
11. Bouzayen, Mondher, et al. “Mechanism of Fruit Ripening – Chapter 16”. In: Plant Developmental Biology – Biotechnological Perspectives, Springer, 2010,
12. Aneja, K. R. et al. “Microbes Associated with Freshly Prepared Juices of Citrus and Carrots”. International Journal of Food Science, 2014.
13. What You Need to Know about Foodborne Illnesses. FDA, 2022.
14. Aneja, K. R. et al. “Microbes Associated with Freshly Prepared Juices of Citrus and Carrots”. International Journal of Food Science, 2014.