How to preserve limes

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “how to preserve limes” and discuss the different methods of preserving limes.

How to preserve limes

Limes can be preserved by :

  • Refrigerating
  • Freezing
  • Pickling

Limes will last about a week at room temperature. After about a week, the limes will start to wrinkle up and lose flavor. To prolong the freshness of limes, they can be refrigerated or frozen. To preserve limes for long term storage, they can be made into pickles.

How to preserve limes by refrigerating

Limes can be preserved by placing them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The crisper drawer has a different level of humidity and it prolongs the freshness of limes. 

Limes must always be kept in an airtight container or a ziplock bag. This will reduce the loss of moisture from the limes and prevent shriveling up.

Always try to store whole limes in the refrigerator. Once limes are cut, the greater surface area exposed will result in more moisture loss and the limes will dry up.

To preserve limes by refrigerating :

  • Wash the limes in running water. Washing will clean up dust and dirt that may cause spoilage.
  • Dry the washed limes by wiping with a clean cloth or by allowing them to air dry.
  • Place the limes in an airtight container or z ziplock bag and refrigerate them.

How to preserve limes by freezing

Freezing limes will retain freshness longer than refrigeration. It is better to freeze the limes individually and then separate them into ziplock bags for long term storage.

To preserve lime by freezing: 

  • Wash the limes in running water.
  • Dry the washed limes by wiping with a clean cloth or by allowing them to air dry.
  • Freeze the limes individually by keeping them in a large container or a tray in the freezer.
  • After the limes are frozen, pack them into ziplock bags and return to the freezer.

How to preserve limes by pickling

Limes can be preserved by pickling in salt. Pickling of lime has been done since before refrigerators were made. There are numerous pickling recipes for lime. Some recipes require the pickles to be refrigerated while others enable storage at room temperature.

Pickling limes allows long term preservation but changes the flavor profile and nutrient content. For example, lime pickles have a very high content of sodium from the added salt and must not be consumed in large quantities.

Limes can be pickled fresh or after sun-drying. Sun-dried limes pickled in a simple solution of salt and chillies is used commonly in Asian culture. This preservation method enables limes to be preserved for about 5 years. Moreover, no refrigeration is needed at any point in the process.

To make sun-dried lime pickles :

  • Wash and clean the limes.
  • Cut each lime into quarters.
  • Cover the lime quarters with salt and place inside a clean glass jar. It is recommended to sterilize the jar in boiling water for long term storage.
  • Place the uncovered bottle in direct sunlight during the daytime. At night close and bottle and keep it inside.
  • Repeat this process for about 10 days.
  • After this time, lime juice and spices of choice are added to the sun-dried limes.
  • Then the sun drying process is repeated.

The total preparation time for sun-dried lime pickles is about 15 days. But the longer the pickles are kept, the better they taste. The best flavor of pickles can be obtained after several weeks of storage.

A detailed method of pickling sun-dried limes can be found here.

Shelf-life of preserved limes

The shelf-life of preserved limes depends on the preservation method used.

Room temperature: 1 week

Refrigeration: Whole limes last in the refrigerator for about a month when stored properly.

Freezing: Freezing preserves limes for about 6 months. 

Pickling: Shelf-life depends on the recipe used. Sun-dried lime pickles can last for a maximum of 5 years under the proper storage conditions.

More tips on lime preservation can be found here.

How to identify fresh limes for preservation

It is important to purchase fresh limes for preservation. Unripe to mid ripe limes will preserve better than ripe limes.

Color: Limes must be of light to dark green. Usually, limes of lighter color are riper than darker ones.

Appearance: Fresh limes are even in color with no brown spots and discolouration. Fresh lime should be free from moldy patches on the skin.

Texture: Fresh limes are firm and not sticky or mushy.

Smell: Fresh limes will have a citrusy smell while spoiled limes will have a sour or pungent smell.


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “how to preserve limes” and discussed the different methods of preserving limes. We also discussed how to choose fresh limes for preservation and looked at the shelf-life obtained from each preservation method.

If you have any comments, please let us know.


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.