How to know if lemons are spoiled

In this brief article, we will discuss ways to tell if lemons are spoiled or not and will also discuss in detail how to keep lemons fresh at home for a longer time. 

How to know if lemons are spoiled?

You can tell that a whole lemon has gone bad by looking for brown dots on the surface which is an indicator that the lemon is spoiled. Spoiled lemons will turn slimy, squishy with dents on the surface with time.

Lemons are mostly stored whole in a pantry or inside the refrigerator. Whole lemons can stay fresh for upto 2 weeks in the pantry while they can last for a month in a refrigerator. Half-cut lemons should only be stored inside a refrigerator and should be consumed within 2 days.

How to tell if lemons have gone bad

Lemon is a famous fruit, used around the world in foods, beverages and even in deserts. Storing lemons and buying it in bulk is very common which is why it is important to know which lemons should not be used as they can completely spoil the taste of your food or drink. 

  1. Texture of lemon 

You can use your senses to conclude if a lemon has gone bad or not. Spoile demons usually lose their full weight because of mushy and sticky dents on their surface. You can tell just by looking at the brown texture that the lemon needs to be discarded. 

  1. Taste

Lemons taste tangy, almost bitter. Even if you mix sugar with it to make lemonades, there is still a certain taste that they have. Spoiled lemons do not taste tangy or bitter at all but have a bad taste.

  1. Foul smell 

A very lemony smell is associated with lemons, that is fresh and bitter yet pleasing to smell. Spoiled lemons lose their fresh color and texture and start to give off a very unpleasant smell.

How to properly store lemons

It is imperative that you buy fresh lemons from the market which are not already squishy or have brown spots. A lot of times, markets sell lemons which have already gone bad so make sure the lemons are dark green or yellow with clear texture and a strong weight. 

To properly store lemons, keep the following places in mind

  1. Top of your shelf

Keeping lemons on the top of a shelf in a basket gives a very warm vibe to your kitchen but make sure that the shelf is away from any moisture and use the lemons within a week or so. If you want to keep lemons outside, it is better to fit them inside a dry cabinet. 

  1. Pantry 

Pantries are a wonderful place for keeping lemons if you use them within a week. This is because pantries are usually located in a very dry and cold part of the kitchen to help the ingredients remain fresh.

  1. Refrigerator

Whenever you intend to buy lemons in bulk or for a big event, make sure that you store them inside the fridge where they will stay fresh for a very long time as compared to at room temperature.

Storing squeezed lemon juice

If you have a habit of saving squeezed lemon juice, make sure that you use it within a week. Although lemon juice has natural preservatives which prevent from bacteria infestation, the juice can still get spoiled resulting in a dull yellow color and a weird taste.

Storing half-cut lemons

Refrigerate your half-cut lemons by placing them in an airtight container which will make sure that no bacteria in air can get to the half-cut lemon. Put these in such a way that the cut flesh is facing downwards so dehydration can be avoided. 

It can be tricky to store lemons as they don’t come with a sell-by date which means that you are completely relying on your senses to buy and then store this Vitamin-C rich fruit. The best possible way of storing these for a long time would be inside a fridge.

Freezing lemons is not a very good idea as they won’t be fresh to use after thawing them and might even make the whole process laborious and time consuming.

Consuming spoiled lemon

You will notice icky green powdery mildews on spoiled lemons which means a bunch of bacteria have attacked the fruit. Consuming such lemons may even result in allergies but if you have consumed it in a small amount then it is not dangerous at all, and you probably won’t feel any symptoms.


In this brief article, we discussed ways to tell if lemons are spoiled or not and also discussed in detail how to keep lemons fresh at home for a longer time.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.