How to Store Lemons

How to store lemons so they will stay fresh for weeks, if not months, is easy with these food storage tips. Use a lot of lemon zest? Tips for zested lemons are included!

Yes, nothing quite brightens up a kitchen like a bowl of fruit on the counter or kitchen table. Especially if said bowl has a bunch of fresh lemons in there. They are like a ray of light in any assortment. Also, now I have that Madonna song in my head.

Fresh produce makes for great decor, but sadly, that is the worst way to store them.

How to Store Lemons

If you buy lemons — especially in bulk — you’ve probably seen those lemons kept at room temperature slowly dry out day by day. It’s just too warm for them. Lemons like to be cold, around 50 degrees F.

So when life gives you lemons, don’t store them at room temperature.

Keeping them in the fridge, in the crisper drawer, will keep them plump and juicy for a few weeks to almost a month. But if you really want those lemons to last. And you should, because food waste is a serious issue. Almost 40% of the food produced in America ends up in a landfill. This is a huge contributor to climate change. So how do you make fresh lemons last longer?

Keep the lemons in a sealed container in the fridge. Lemons love humidity, so this creates the perfect environment for them. They are cold and won’t dry out.

Stored this way, lemons can keep for months!

Store Lemons for Months

So why do lemons last so long stored this way? Well, lemons are a non-climacteric fruit. What that means, in general terms, is this: climacteric fruits continue to ripen after harvest, whereas non-climacteric fruits do not.

Examples of climacteric fruits are peaches, apples, and avocados. Though, the weird thing about avocados is that they don’t begin ripening on the tree. They only ripen, which is softened for eating, after being picked. Non-climacteric fruits include strawberries, grapes, and cherries.

Climacteric and Non Climacteric Fruit

How to Freeze Lemons

Worried they won’t last in the fridge? Well, you can freeze lemons too. You can literally freeze them whole. No preparation needed. You can also freeze wedges and slices. They will keep in the freezer for four months. To thaw them out, either microwave for fifteen to twenty seconds or place the lemons in room-temperature water for ten to fifteen minutes.

Cut, Sliced, Juiced, and Zested Lemons

If you are an avid lemon user, then whole lemons are not your only challenge. Cut lemons that are wedges, slices, or however you prep them, should be stored in an air-tight container. Stored this way, they can keep for up to 7 days. I would use them up in 3 days.

If you juice the lemon, it will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 days. I suggest freezing it. You can make ice cubes with it and use them as needed. Store the cubes in a freezer bag, and they will keep for about 3 months.

Always zest those lemons. It’s just another way to get the most out of your fruit. You can keep it in the fridge for about a week (best used in 3 days) or the in freezer for 3 months. The zest is a great addition to veggie sides and baked goods. Try it in a salad dressing!

If you have a whole lemon where you have only zested some of the peel, wrap them in plastic and store them in the fridge. Zested lemons will keep for 3 days.