Let us just begin by stating that lime juice is in fact different from lemon juice and unfortunately, like most things in the kitchen, lime juice can go most definitely bad. In this article, you will find every bit of knowledge about lime juice that you need right from how to properly store your container of lime juice, the shelf life of lime juice, and the intricacies of the going bad of lime juice.
Like all other fresh juices, lime juice can go bad. But then again, unlike other popular drinks such as orange juice and apple juice, store-bought lime juice lasts a much longer time after the opening of the packaging. Another plus of store-bought lime juice is that it also does not spoil that easily.
Does lime juice go bad? Lime juice can not only keep you hydrated and healthy by virtue of it being a rich source of Vitamin C which helps to prevent common colds and also has anti-inflammatory properties, it can also be quite versatile in its use in recipes in the kitchen as well as for beauty purposes (some people apply lime juice to their skin to fade marks while others use it to improve digestion or even in weight control).
Remember that store-bought lime juice has a relatively long shelf life and can last moths even after opening it. Once opened, keep it refrigerated so that it does not brown though brown lime juice is harmless. You can also freeze your leftover homemade lime juice in order to use it within a few days.
Generally speaking, lime juice, like its counterpart lemon juice, is highly acidic. Being of this nature makes it impossible or very difficult for bacteria of any kind to live and multiply while in it. That is the unique quality of lime juice that then makes the juice long-lasting and not likely to get spoiled fast.
Fun fact, in most cases, you actually throw out the lime juice due to terrible quality rather than it being unsafe for your consumption, good to know right?
How to tell if lime juice is bad
Let us keep in mind that if you do not store your lime juice in the refrigerator, especially in relatively hot areas, it will go rancid within a couple of hours (yeah, that fast). Even the store-bought lime juice which contains added preservatives during manufacturing can also go bad after some time.
To begin with, one of the simplest ways to tell whether your lime juice has gone bad is to give it a nice long whiff, do not worry, it is absolutely normal to smell food. If you get any off or weird smell coming from the lime juice, the juice has most probably gone bad.
Another means of finding out if your lime juice has gone bad is to do a simple taste test. If the juice doesn’t taste anything like lemon or better put, if the lime juice has lost its citrus flavor, it would be highly advisable to discard it and not risk consuming the rancid lime juice.
Always ensure that when you are at the store ready to make a purchase of a bottle or packet of lime juice, you pay keen attention to the manufacturing and expiration dates printed on the said packaging. If the expiry date that has been mentioned by the manufacturers has elapsed, do not buy it to begin with let alone think of taking t home to consume it.
Visually, it would be wise to note that if your lime juice has changed color to brown, it does not necessarily mean that the juice has gone rancid. This change in color usually happens when you open a bottle or packet of lime juice and forget to keep it in the refrigerator immediately after use.
It is still considered safe to drink in most cases. However, in the off chance that you notice any mold or organic growth growing near the seal of the bottle or worse, on the very surface of the lime juice, discard the juice with immediate effect.
Can you get sick from consuming expired lime juice?
Consuming expired lime juice that contains any form of bacteria, viruses, or even toxins that have been produced from the lime juice going bad, will get you sick from food poisoning.
After consumption of the expired lime juice, you will develop a set of symptoms within a few hours or even as much as two days for some people (a number of factors lead to this disparity in onset of symptoms including the age of the individual and whether they have any underlying conditions and also the amount of contaminated lime juice ingested).
The infectious organism that is in the lemon juice will attack the lining of your digestive system and cause inflammation and infection to occur.
Some of the symptoms to expect are; diarrhea which can be described as one of the most frequent indicators that you have ingested bad food or have food poisoning (this is the body’s natural defense system to get rid of undesirable food items), abdominal pain which could simply be caused by the normal stomach acid or gas build up, vomiting which is also a way that the body uses to get rid of contaminated substances ingested and changes in body temperature (here you may experience chills or cold sweats and in extreme cases a fever which signifies that your body is in overdrive trying to combat the illness).
The most effective way to try and combat the symptoms caused by drinking expired lime juice is to modify your diet and drink more fluids. Avoid caffeinated beverages as they will deplete your body of water.
Note that if you have trouble keeping any liquid in your stomach, call your doctor. Dehydration is a serious medical condition that could lead to death if not properly treated. Signs of this include dry and pale skin and light-headedness.
How long is lime juice good for?
Ideally, every store-bought container of lime juice comes with an expiration date on the label. This date is usually the manufacturers estimate as to how long the juice will retain its freshness and quality. The unopened lime juice will last between three and four months in the pantry.
An opened refrigerated container of store-bought lime juice will last between six and twelve months after opening.
When it comes to freshly squeezed lime juice, continuous refrigeration and constant temperature (preferably 4 degrees Celsius or lower) are key. This will keep it fresh for between two and three days. If frozen, leave about an inch of space in the container when packing it to allow for room for expansion.
This will allow it a further two days of good condition. If it is defrosted in the fridge for use, it can be kept for an additional two to three days but if it was thawed in the microwave or in cold water, it should be used immediately.
How do you preserve lime juice?
Even though lime juice tends to be a very acidic substance, when it is preservative-free, it goes bad pretty quickly. This is especially the case when the lime juice is stored at room temperature. Store-bought lime juice shelf life varies depending on the number of preservatives it contains.
These keep the juice fine for quite a few months. For unopened bottles, shelf life is over a year and for opened ones, at least half a year.
When storing this unopened store-bought lime juice, you should ensure to keep it in a cool, dark area. An area that is away from other sources of heat. If the juice comes in a clear bottle, you should avoid direct light when storing it too (it is not immune to oxidation through exposure to air nor to breaking down due to exposure to light).
The pantry is the best place for storage, but a cupboard in the kitchen works just as well.
Once the bottle containing the lime juice is opened, it ought to be refrigerated in order for the juice to retain its citrus quality and prevent browning. It goes without saying that the bottle should be tightly sealed when placed in the refrigerator.
When it comes to homemade lime juice, you store it in the refrigerator, no questions asked. However, if you made too much and are not keen on discarding the leftovers, you can take a further step and freeze the juice. Usually, this is done in small quantities (that is in an ice cube tray).
Once frozen in the tray, transfer the cubes into a plastic Ziploc bag. To defrost them, just place however many cubes you need in a bowl in the refrigerator and allow them to thaw.
Technically speaking, you can keep the lime juice at room temperature for some time. The only downside of this approach is that it will change color to brown relatively quickly and will also lose its freshness.