Food Storage Hacks: Where to Store Lemons for ‘Sweeter’ Fruits That ‘Last Up to a Month’
Lemons can be juiced, peeled or sliced for use in everything from herbal teas to sweet desserts, but the flavor can vary depending on how you store them. While these round yellow fruits have their rightful place on the counter, they have a much longer shelf life in the fridge and may even taste better for it too. But it’s not as simple as putting them loosely in the sharper drawer or on a shelf.
According to Anina von Haeften, co-founder of the food delivery service Farm to the People, fresh lemons are best stored in airtight containers that can be kept in the fridge.
She said: “You can keep them on the counter but they won’t last as long and will start to dry out. On the counter they will last about a week and in the fridge they can last up to a month.”
Anina explained that the sealed container helps the fruit “stay juicier” and “retain moisture longer,” which in turn slows the ripening process.
While an extended shelf life means you’re less likely to lose your lemons to dreaded mold growth, it can also make them tastier when you start eating them too.
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It’s not just how you store whole lemons that you need to think about either. With so much on offer from just one lemon, there’s no reason you can’t pack in the leftovers of a used one.
Maddy explained that the peel is only one part you should consider keeping even after juicing or cutting the rest of the fruit.
She said: “Lemon zest is so versatile in cooking and baking, so even if you don’t need it right away, put it in a sealed container in the freezer and thaw when you’re ready to make those lemon desserts you’ve been dreaming of.”
If you have a perfect half to keep, you can keep it extra fresh by covering the exposed end with plastic wrap or putting the whole thing in an airtight container.
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You must consume half of the lemon soon after before it dries out, but you should have at least three days to use it.
If you’re left with lemon juice, consider keeping it in a sealed container in the fridge.
The acidic liquid should retain its flavor for a couple of days, but after that it will taste best in cooked or baked goods rather than in tea or cold water.
Maddy suggested freezing the rest by pouring it into ice cube trays if you need more than two days to consume it.
As for other citrus fruits, the same rule applies. Lime, grapefruit and oranges can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge.
Of course, the refrigerator will buy you a few extra days or even weeks in terms of shelf life, although the most important thing to consider is how moist you can keep each variety of citrus fruit.
If you decide to store your products in the refrigerator, always remove them from their original packaging and transfer them to a container or mesh bag.
This allows air to circulate and slows the growth of mold, lesions or softened scurf, all of which can quickly spoil fresh produce.