Do you find yourself guessing whether it is time to toss the key lime juice in your refrigerator? Key lime juice, no matter whether it was purchased or made at home, stored in the refrigerator or freezer, goes bad after a while.
So how do you know whether or not your key lime juice has gone bad? In this article, you will learn 12 valuable ways to tell if your key lime juice is bad so you don’t risk food poisoning.
Does Key lime juice go bad in the refrigerator?
Yes, key lime juice does go bad in the refrigerator. The type of key lime juice determines how long it will last in the refrigerator: For example, if you have homemade key lime juice, it will only last three to four days in the refrigerator before bacteria growth causes spoilage.
Remember, just because you can’t see the bacterial growth doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Freshly squeezed key lime juice lacks preservatives that extend shelf life, so this is why it doesn’t last as long in the refrigerator.
Store-bought key lime juice lasts much longer in the refrigerator because it often contains added preservatives and/or is pasteurized. On average, most store-bought key lime juices last up to six months in the refrigerator after they are opened.
How can you tell if Key lime juice is bad?
All key lime juice goes bad after a while, and you may be able to use your senses to detect whether or not your key lime juice is spoiled. By using your sense of sight, taste, and smell, you may be able to solve the mystery of whether or not your key lime juice is bad.
- Start by pouring a little of the juice into a clear glass container.
- Next, look at it closely in good lighting. What do you see? If you see debris or chunks of darker material, this may be mold or bacteria.
- Take a closer look at the seal of the original lime juice container. What does it look like? If you see anything strange, it may have gone bad.
- Look for discoloration and darker blooms of mold.
- If you still aren’t sure, smell the juice in the container. What does it smell like? If it doesn’t smell much different than usual, it may be okay.
- Finally, dip your clean finger into the juice and put it on your tongue. How does it taste? If it tastes normal, it may be okay. If it tastes foul, it has likely gone bad. If the juice is foul-tasting, spit it out and rinse out your mouth just to be on the safe side.
- Sometimes you may notice that your key lime juice has turned brown. This is one form of discoloration that doesn’t always mean it has gone bad.
- Browning of key lime juice is actually a natural process that doesn’t affect the quality of the key lime juice.
12 Ways to Tell if Your Key Lime Juice is Bad
The best time to check whether or not your lime juice has gone bad is if it has been stored for a while or it is past the expiration date on the bottle.
Keep in mind that if you ever suspect your key lime juice has gone bad, it is not worth it to take a risk and consume it. Consumption of spoiled items can result in unwanted side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and more.
If you are concerned that your key lime juice has expired and is no longer safe to ingest, throwing it out may save you a lot of trouble.
If you aren’t sure and want to know more about how to know whether or not your key lime juice is safe, check out 12 ways to tell if your key lime juice is bad below:
1. There is unknown debris in the juice.
If you pour your key lime juice into a clear container and notice that there are chunks of dark debris or other matter floating in the juice (and you are sure they aren’t lime pieces), this could be mold or another form of contamination.
Look for other substances as well, such as blooms of mold that appear as ghost-like formations floating in the liquid.
2. There is an unknown substance on the container lid.
Look at the original container and check the lid and inside as closely as you can. Many store-bought containers are not easy to see into because they are dark and opaque.
You can shine a small light into the container as well if you really want to see down in there. Check out the walls, lid, and screw neck of the container for abnormalities, such as mold growth.
3. It smells “off.”
Something doesn’t have to smell horrible for it to be unfit to eat.
You know what the fresh lime or lime juice smells like, so compare this with the smell of the lime juice you are unsure of. If it smells quite altered, it may be spoiled.
4. It smells foul.
The foul smell is one of the most obvious and easily detectable ways to know if you have bad key lime juice.
When we smell something foul, our olfactory system sends signals to our brain that we need to steer clear to stay healthy. A foul smell is nature’s way of saying, “Do not consume me.”
5. It tastes different than before.
If your key lime juice tastes strange when you dip your clean finger into the juice and put it on your tongue to taste, it may be bad. Just like with smell, something doesn’t have to taste completely awful for it to be unfit to eat.
Compare the taste of your current key lime juice to the taste of fresh lime juice. If there is a notable difference, it may be time to throw it out.
6. It tastes foul.
One of the biggest indicators of spoilage, aside from a foul smell, is a foul taste.
It’s bad enough if the key lime juice has changed in flavor, but when it is foul tasting, this is a surefire sign it has expired. You definitely don’t want to put foul-tasting key lime juice in any recipes or drinks!
7. It has become very cloudy.
While it is normal for key lime juice to turn brown, if you notice your key lime juice looking quite cloudy, it may be time to throw it out.
Cloudiness could be a sign of mold or bacterial growth, and even if it isn’t, it is a great way to hide blooms of mold or other potentially harmful substances.
8. It has been left out unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is not advisable to use juice that has set out at room temperature for more than two hours.
Room temperature is the perfect temperature for bacteria to flourish in your key lime juice. Two hours is enough time for bacteria to grow in your juice that could lead to food poisoning.
9. It is homemade and older than a week.
If you made freshly-squeezed key lime juice, it usually doesn’t keep for more than three to four days in the refrigerator. After a week, it is long past expiration and should be thrown out.
To prevent waste in the future, after you squeeze the key lime juice and use it, freeze the remainder in ice cube trays and then pop them out and store them in a labeled freezer bag.
This way, they will last up to four months.
10. It has been kept in the refrigerator for more than six months.
While store-bought key lime juice lasts much longer than homemade, it usually expires after six months from the date you opened it.
Always check the date on the container to make sure your key lime juice is still good. Perform the tests listed above if you are unsure.
11. It was left with the lid open in the refrigerator for an extended amount of time.
When you leave the lid open on a food or drink, even if it is left in the refrigerator, you risk oxidation because you are allowing more oxygen to get into the product. Oxidation leads to spoilage because the product releases enzymes that react with the oxygen to promote deterioration.
If you notice the lid is open or off of your key lime juice container and you haven’t used it in months, it is likely time to throw it out.
12. It makes you sick.
Perhaps your key lime juice was within the expiration date and you used it and noticed you experienced food poisoning symptoms. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as cross contamination, non-sterile container, or misprint on the expiration date.
Whatever the case, experiencing food poisoning symptoms like an upset stomach, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or stomach pain is cause to throw out the key lime juice.
As the old saying goes, “When in doubt, throw it out.” This is great advice if you are even a little concerned about whether your key lime juice is safe to consume.
Remember, you can always prevent waste by freezing your key lime juice in the future.