Depending on where you live, finding key limes can be such a hassle, but their amazing health benefits and sweet aromatic flavour make them so worth it.
But how long do these summertime delicacies last before going bad?
To help you get the maximum benefits from the ones that you buy, we’ve decided to explore the longevity of key limes in this post, starting with the most important part of the process; storing key limes.
How Do You Store Key Limes?
A major key to getting the maximum benefits from your key limes and keeping them fresher for longer is to focus on how you store them.
Key limes are best stored in the refrigerator, in resealable storage bags that will prevent air from escaping or coming in regularly. It is best to place them in an area with limited light, such as the Crisper drawer in your fridge, for peak freshness.
It is also best to store key limes in an area where they are not constantly squashed or moved around by other products, or the normal opening and closing of your refrigerator.
According to a test study conducted by the team at Cook’s Illustrated, limes retained the highest level of moisture content and lasted for about a month, when stored in a Ziplock bag in the fridge.
So it is very important to store key limes properly for maximum benefits.
Can Key Limes Be Refrigerated?
Key limes remain fresh for about a week after semi-ripening when stored at room temperature, but refrigerating will extend that timeline.
Refrigerating key limes is one of the best ways to store them. Storing key limes in the refrigerator in the right way has been shown to extend their freshness for up to a month after purchasing.
In contrast, key limes that have been stored in room temperature conditions such as on the kitchen counter or in the pantry, generally go bad in a matter of days. This is because of their delicate nature, and their exposure to the air, causing them to lose moisture content rapidly.
They are also particularly sensitive to light, and although it is not directly harmful to the, it can cause premature ageing.
Another easy and popular way to store key limes or key lime juice is by freezing it.
Can Key Limes be Frozen?
If you’re looking for a longer time to keep your key limes fresh, then you might want to consider freezing them.
Yes, freezing key limes is a great way to store them, especially if you want them for long-term events. Key limes or key lime juice can be frozen for up to a year without going bad or losing their freshness.
Experts suggest that frozen key limes are just as beneficial as the fresh ones you buy, and are a great hack to ensure you have that tasty key lime juice year-round.
Key limes can be frozen wholly, cut into slices or as fresh key lime juice, depending on how you plan to use them. If you plan to use your key limes to make cocktails for example, or as an accent on a cool summer drink, it is best to store them in wedge sized cuts.
On the other hand, if you want to freeze key limes for skincare or digestive purposes, it is best to freeze them in halves or as fresh key lime juice.
For those who are using key limes in a recipe, then it is best to store it accordingly. If you need an ounce of key lime juice for a recipe, then it is best to freeze key limes as a whole or freeze an ounce of fresh key limes to use for your recipe.
How Long Do Key Limes Last in the Fridge?
There’s no need to limit the amount of time you can keep your key limes fresh when you know the shelf life will be directly impacted by how you store them.
When you store key limes in the fridge, they last between 3 to 4 weeks if they are sealed in a resealable bag, and not constantly being touched.
When you store key limes in the freezer, they can last for up to a year when stored properly.
Shelf life of Key limes (Counter/Pantry, Refrigerated, and Frozen)
Storing key limes can feel stressful if you’re not sure of the shelf life of each type, whether refrigerated, frozen or just resting on your kitchen counter or in your pantry.
To help you understand the ideal shelf life of key limes, so you can store them properly, we’ve made a small table detailing all the specifics.
|Type of Storage Area||Shelf life|
|KItchen Counter or Pantry||3 days to a week maximum|
|Crisper Drawer in Refrigerator||2 to 3 weeks maximum|
|Sealable Bag in Crisper Drawer in Refrigerator||3 weeks to a month if sectioned off from other products or produce|
|Freezer||Up to a year if kept frozen (with possible loss of potency)|
|Table close to Accessible Sunlight||1 to 2 days as the light will often cause key limes to become spotty or mouldy very quickly.|
Tips to Make Key Limes Last Longer
Key limes can feel like a burden to preserve, but they don’t have to be if you follow these tips religiously when you buy your next batch.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to store key limes to make them last longer.
- Buy the right type of key limes – Yes, your responsibility starts at the grocery store. Depending on how long the key limes have spent between importation and being distributed at the grocer, they can already be going bad if you don’t pay attention to what you’re buying.
It is best to buy key limes that are yellow-green and firm to the touch. A softer (even sometimes squishy), fully yellow key lime is not the best to buy if you do not want it for immediate use.
- Keep cut limes away from air or sunlight – The shelf life of key limes decreases significantly when they have been cut, as this cut increases its exposure to air and direct sunlight.
Within a day or two, you may see brown spots or mould forming on your limes if you do not ensure to stay with this tip. Keeping cut key limes in the refrigerator is great because it limits the amount of air or light that it is exposed to.
- Freeze them if needed for an extended period – The best way to keep key limes fresh for longer than a month is to freeze them, but you also have to do this properly. Again, this starts with ensuring that the limes you are freezing are fresh!
With the limited availability of key limes on the market, it is essential to learn the proper storage techniques to make sure you get all the necessary health benefits from the ones you buy.
Key limes are delicious, flavourful and a key staple in the Alkaline Vegan diet and lifestyle.
We hope this article will help you to maximise the benefits you get from these limes.