In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long is lemon juice good for?”, discuss answers to other related questions like how to store lemon juice to increase its shelf life, and what can happen if you drink expired lemon juice.
How long is lemon juice good?
Lemon juice can stay good for days to months depending on the juice itself. Freshly squeezed lemon juice can last for 2-3 days if it is stored properly. While commercially bought lemon juice can stay good for use for days to months. If the juice bought from the market is loaded with preservatives, it can last for months in the refrigerator, but if the juice is not having enough preservatives, it stays good to be used for days.
Bottled lemon juice
Unopened, commercially bought, lemon juice can stay good to be used in your pantry for a year. Once opened, it can stay fresh for up to 6 months in the fridge and a year in the freezer. However, this time duration also depends on the amount and type of preservatives added to the bottled juice.
Fresh lemon juice
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, if you are not going to use it immediately, can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for 3-4 months. Fresh lemon juice is susceptible to contamination by microorganisms especially bacteria from the lemon peel so, you should discard the refrigerated lemon juice after 2-3 days if it is not used, or frozen lemon juice after 3-4 months if you haven’t used that.
The shelf life of lemon juice
In the case of homemade fresh lemon juice, you should consume it right away ideally. But you can also use it within 2-3 days. The store-bought fresh lemon juice stays safe for a bit longer like 4-5 days.
The bottled lemon juice can stay safe to use for 6 months to 1 year depending on the storage conditions. This time span shortens once the bottle is opened, but the juice should still retain its quality for quite some time. For a quick review of the shelf life of lemon juice, you can go through the following table:
|Lemon juice||Estimated shelf life|
|In pantry||In the fridge|
|Bottled lemon juice (unopened)||3-6 months post-best-by date|
|Bottled lemon juice (opened)||Best-by date/ 6-12 months|
|Store-bought fresh lemon juice||4-5 days|
|Freshly squeezed lemon juice||2-3 days|
How to store lemon juice to increase its shelf life?
It is very easy to store lemon juice as there is no particular effort required. For example, if you are going to store freshly squeezed lemon juice, that contains no or only a little amount of preservatives, it should be stored in the refrigerator. This can be simply done by pouring the juice into the tightly capped bottle. But if you want to freeze the juice, you can use an ice-cube tray for this purpose. Once the frozen ice-cubes of lemon juice are ready, you can transfer them to the plastic bag and store them for a year.
If it’s a commercially packaged lemon juice with a lot of preservatives, you can store it in the pantry as long as it is unopened. Once opened, it’s good to store it in the fridge. Make sure to seal the bottle tightly before refrigerating it.
Can lemon juice go bad?
While lemons are acidic enough to have their own preservative properties, they do contain water, and water is a breeding ground for bacteria. So, if you have not stored the lemon juice properly or if the best-by date is long gone, these bacteria can easily cause the lemon juice to go bad. Therefore, much of the care is needed if you want to enjoy a healthy sip of lemon juice.
How to tell if lemon juice has gone bad?
The following telltale signs can be very helpful in deciding if the lemon juice has gone bad:
- If the lemon juice has gone bad, its color may get darker than usual.
- If there is any smell other than that of fresh lemon, discard such juice it has gone bad.
- If you notice any change in the taste of the lemon juice, discard it immediately as it has gone bad.
What can happen if you drink expired lemon juice?
If you drink expired lemon juice or lemon juice that has gone bad, you can be a victim of food poisoning. The most pronounced symptom of such food poisoning is diarrhea. In addition to diarrhea, you may also experience abdominal pain, cramps, high fever, weakness, headache, and vomiting. Ask immediate medical assistance if you notice blood in diarrhea or vomiting.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long is lemon juice good for?”, discussed answers to other related questions like how to store lemon juice to increase its shelf life, and what can happen if you drink expired lemon juice.