Can you freeze lemon juice?
This brief guide will address the query, “Can you freeze lemon juice?”. We will discuss the method of freezing it and its shelf life in the freezer. Moreover, we will also discuss the method of thawing it and the uses of lemon juice in different recipes.
Can you freeze lemon juice?
Yes, you can freeze lemon juice. Freezing has its own pros and cons. It might deteriorate the quality of juice, but that can be restored almost fully by proper mixing/shaking so the pulp and water unite.
Frozen storage of freshly squeezed lemon juice results in a longer shelf life than refrigerated. However, once thawed, the orange juice has a refrigerated shelf life of 2 months. (1)
Freezing is recommended for long-term storage as frozen orange juice may last up to several months if stored properly.
The best way to defrost the frozen juice is by refrigerating it, but if you thaw it by microwaving it or putting it in lukewarm water try to consume it immediately.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing lemon juice?
Here you have some benefits and drawbacks of freezing lemon juice:
Freezing lemon juice has several benefits, including:
- Allows to store it for later use by extending its shelf life. (1)
- Can be a cost-effective way to enjoy fresh lemon juice without having to buy it every day.
- Prevents it from going bad and reduces food waste.
- Does not affect its nutritional value; the frozen juice does not lose its vitamin C (ascorbic acid) strength during storage. (2)
- Freezing lemon juice with a large amount of pulp will affect the texture of the juice after it has been thawed. The pulp will clump and have a grainy consistency.
- It will not taste just like fresh lemon juice.
What is the method of freezing lemon juice?
You can freeze your orange juice in different ways, but it is not advisable to freeze it in its original carton because it might expand and explode when the juice freezes.
- Strain: If your orange juice has pulp, it is best to strain the liquid before freezing.
- Choose container and portion size: You can freeze orange juice in an airtight container, mason jar, or even in an ice cube tray. Freezing juice in small portions allows you to thaw only what you need. Proper packaging will help to maintain quality. (3)
- Pour the juice into the container: Make sure you leave some headspace because the liquid expands when frozen.
- Put into the freezer and freeze rapidly. Rapid freezing will prevent the formation of undesirable large ice crystals throughout the product. Unlike slow freezing, where molecules have ample time to arrange themselves into characteristic six-sided snowflakes, rapid freezing restricts their ability to do so. (3)
- Repackage if needed: If you are using an ice cube tray, consider transferring the cuber to a container or freezer bag once they are frozen.
What changes occur during lemon juice storage?
The changes that occur during lemon juice storage are:
- Degradation of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) because of the contact with oxygen. (5)
- Darkening or color change due to the presence of brown-colored compounds formed in response to a chemical reaction known as Maillard reaction. (5)
- Microbial spoilage due to contamination with microorganisms that have a high tolerance to acid and osmophilic. (6)
- Flavor and color are affected by the degradation of ascorbic acid. (4)
All of these changes occur when the juice is stored under refrigeration conditions, but they slow down by freezing.
What is the method for thawing lemon juice?
Frozen lemon juice can be defrosted by thawing in the refrigerator overnight, by running warm water over the sealed container, or by microwaving the juice. It can also be blended into drinks directly from frozen.
When thawing frozen food, it’s best to plan ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator where it will remain at a safe, constant temperature – at 40°F or below. (7)
The safest and easiest method is to leave the frozen lemon juice to thaw in the fridge overnight and then the next day use it as you like. Once thawed, if the lemon juice is kept in refrigeration, it can have a shelf life of 2 months.
Effective planning is crucial when utilizing this method, as it involves a significant amount of time. Thawing small quantities of frozen food typically necessitates a full day for the process to complete (7).
Food that has been thawed in the refrigerator can be safely refrozen without requiring cooking, although it is important to note that there may be a slight decline in quality.
Cold Water Thawing
Another method that you can try to thaw your frozen lemon juice is to take a bowl of cold water and submerge the sealed container in which you have stored the juice. Let it sit there till the lemon juice defrost.
It is essential to ensure that the food is securely contained in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. If the bag happens to leak, there is a risk of introducing bacteria from the surrounding environment or the air into the food. (7)
When using a microwave to thaw food, it’s important to note that certain areas may become warm, potentially raising the temperature of the food to the “danger zone”. (7)
Due to the rapid multiplication of bacteria in unrefrigerated food, it is unsafe to allow food to thaw at room temperature. If left unrefrigerated, certain organisms have the potential to produce toxins, further emphasizing the importance of proper food handling and storage practices (8).
How to tell if your lemon juice has gone bad?
To find out if lemon juice is spoiled, you should look at three things: its appearance, its odor, and how it tastes. If it has become dull or darker in color, it should be thrown away. Also, if the scent or flavor has changed considerably, proceed in the same way.
Even though lemon juice is a highly acidic substance, it is susceptible to deterioration and, if left unprotected, degrades rapidly, especially when stored at room temperature. (9)
Some signs of spoiled lemon juice are:
- Color: Lemon juice will become darker due to non-enzymic browning. (5)
- Smell: The smell is no longer citrusy and fresh, it will smell bitter and yeast-like.
- Taste: When lemon juice begins to spoil, it will lose its citrusy flavor and will taste bitter.
- Microbial growth: A noticeable sign of spoilage is spotting clouds of bacteria developing in the juice or a change in color. This can be produced by a bacteria that can grow into an acidic medium called Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris. (9)
In this brief guide, we have addressed the query,” Can you freeze lemon juice?”. We have discussed the method of freezing it and its shelf life in the freezer. Moreover, we have also discussed the method of thawing it and the uses of lemon juice in different recipes.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Food Keeper.
- Valle, T. Influence of quick freezing on the stability of ascorbic acid in lemon juice. Annali della Sperimentazione Agraria.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Freezing and Food Safety. Food Safety and Inspection Service.
- Al-Zubaidy, M. M., & Khalil, R. A. (2007). Kinetic and prediction studies of ascorbic acid degradation in normal and concentrate local lemon juice during storage. Food Chemistry, 101(1), 254-259.
- ROBERTSON, G. L., & SAMANIEGO, M. L. (1986). Effect of Initial Dissolved Oxygen Levels on the Degradation of Ascorbic Acid and the Browning of Lemon Juice during Storage. Journal of Food Science, 51(1), 184-187.
- Aneja, K. R., Dhiman, R., Aggarwal, N. K., & Aneja, A. (2013). Emerging Preservation Techniques for Controlling Spoilage and Pathogenic Microorganisms in Fruit Juices. International Journal of Microbiology, 2014.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. The big thaw – Safe defrosting methods.
- Food and Drug Administration. Food Facts. Refrigerator Thermometers: Cold Facts about Food Safety.
- Maldonado, M. C., Belfiore, C., & Navarro, A. R. (2008). Temperature, soluble solids and pH effect on Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris viability in lemon juice concentrate. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, 35(2), 141-144.