Can you eat an overripe lemon?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Can you eat an overripe lemon?” and discuss how to tell if a lemon has gone bad. We will also discuss how to properly store lemons and how long they last. 

Can you eat an overripe lemon?

No, you should not eat overripe lemons. Lemons contain a lot of moisture and tend to spoil quickly as bacteria can invade them so if you feel that your lemons have become mushy or have brown spots on their skin, then you should just toss them out.

Lemons also tend to go dry overtime depending on how they were stored so such dry lemons would not be ideal for use.

How to tell if a lemon has gone bad?

Here’s how you can tell if a lemon has gone bad.

  • You should first look for any discolorations. Lemons that are fresh should be bright yellow in color. Any spots or discoloration is a sign that the lemons have gone bad. In addition, lemons sometimes turn green which means they are turning into limes and are safe to use.
  • You should also look for mold. Mold can appear as greenish or grayish fuzzy growth.
  • Fresh lemons are firm to touch. Old lemons tend to go softer over time due to moisture loss. If there are no other signs of spoilage, you can still use these lemons for whatever juice they have left.
  • You should look for texture changes as well. If the skin is wrinkled or you see any slimy film on the lemon, then it probably has gone bad.
  • Give the lemons a sniff test and see if they smell citrusy. If they have a funky odor then throw them out.
  • Lastly, if all else looks fine, taste a little bit of the lemon and see if it tastes fine. Lemons lose their moisture and taste overtime but if there are no signs of spoilage then go ahead and use them.

How to properly store lemons?

Lemons can either be stored on the countertop or in the fridge depending on how fast you plan on using them. You can place them in the pantry or the countertop away from heat, direct sunlight and moisture.

However, they will not last very long in this way. If you have bought them in a bulk, then the best way to store them is in the fridge. Put them inside a ziploc bag and then place them inside the fridge. 

You can also freeze lemons to extend their shelf life to about 4 months. You can freeze them whole. Another great way to freeze lemons is by juicing them. Juice all of the lemons and pour the juice in an empty ice cube tray.

Place the ice cube tray in the freezer and let the juice solidify. Once it has frozen, take out the frozen lemon juice cubes and place them inside a ziploc bag. Then place the ziploc bag back into the freezer.

In this way, you only take out the amount of lemon juice required and also, it is time saving. 

Find out what you can do with lemons that are about to go bad here

How long do lemons last?

The shelf life of lemons depends on how you store them. Lemons stored in the pantry or on the countertop can last for about a week or two.

When you store them probably in the fridge, they can last for up to a month. On the other hand, if you choose to freeze the lemons, they will last for about 4 months.

Sliced lemon does not last as long. It can go bad quickly so you should use the slices within 3 to 4 days.

Other FAQs about Lemon that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze a whole lemon? 

Do lemon bars need to be refrigerated

Do lemons need to be refrigerated


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you eat an overripe lemon?” and discussed how to tell if a lemon has gone bad. We also discussed how to properly store lemons and how long they last.