Lemon juice can add a wonderful zing to cocktails, desserts, and salads. Other than its delicious flavor, lemon juice may have several health benefits, thanks to the vitamin C and antioxidants within each fruit.
We know that lemon juice is tasty and good for our well-being, but it has many other uses which we’ll cover in this article. You’ll also find tips on how to tell if lemon juice has gone bad, as well as how to store it so the juice lasts longer. Keep reading to find out why you should always keep some lemon juice in your fridge!
Lemon Juice Preserves Your Fruit And Vegetables
Sliced fruit and vegetables can only be left for so long before they start turning brown. To avoid this, all you need to do is add a little lemon juice!
The solution is acidic, so it stops the food from oxidizing and turning brown. This is a great tip to try when you’re making a fruit salad, meal prepping, or having a fruit platter as a snack.
Lemon Juice Can Unclump Rice
That’s right, lemon juice prevents sticky rice! While you’re cooking your rice, try adding some lemon juice to the boiling water. The juice will stop the rice from clumping together, giving you perfectly boiled rice each time.
Lemon Juice Can Make Limp Lettuce Crispy
No one likes to toss out limp lettuce, but lemon juice can save you from doing so! All you need is a mixture of water and lemon juice. Pour cold water into a bowl then stir in half a cup of lemon juice.
Add the lettuce leaves to the bowl, then leave them to soak in the refrigerator.
After an hour, remove the bowl and take out the lettuce. You should see freshly restored leaves that you can enjoy immediately. This trick not only saves your lettuce, but it also saves you money too!
Lemon Juice Makes Hard-Boiling Eggs Easier
Getting hard-boiled eggs right can be a challenge, especially when you try to remove the shells. Before you add your eggs to the water, use a brush to coat the egg’s outer shell with lemon juice.
The juice makes it easier to remove the shells when they’re done. It also stops the shells from breaking in the pot as they’re cooking.
Lemon Juice Is An Amazing Tenderizer
Lemon juice is a simple, but effective meat tenderizer. The acid within breaks down protein and tissues inside the meat. As the acid comes into contact with these fibers, the meat becomes soft, tender, and juicier.
You can do this by marinating your meat in a lemon juice marinade. The juice will also enhance the meat’s flavors, especially if you add spices and herbs to your marinade.
Lemon Juice Brings Out Flavor In Foods
If you want to make your meal taste more interesting, a few drops of lemon juice can do wonders for several different cuisines. Lemon juice brings out the lighter flavors in seafood, but it also adds a pleasant zest to heartier dishes.
If you have to avoid salt or spices for medical reasons, lemon juice can be a great alternative. It allows you to make foods tastier without sacrificing your well-being.
Lemon Juice Shelf Life
It’s clear why you should always keep some lemon juice on hand, but you should know how long you can keep it. Not all kinds of lemon juice are the same.
Some can last up to a year, while others can go bad in just a few days. Lemon juice’s lifespan depends on whether it comes from a fresh lemon or if it’s store-bought.
Lemon juice generally comes in three kinds. Freshly squeezed, refrigerated store-bought bottle, and unrefrigerated store-bought bottle.
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Has the shortest lifespan of just 2-3 days. This is because homemade lemon juice doesn’t contain preservatives, making it prone to harmful microorganisms. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best enjoyed as soon as it’s squeezed from the lemon.
Store-Bought Refrigerated Lemon Juice
Contains preservatives that help it last longer. Once opened, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. After that it shouldn’t be used as its quality will start deteriorating.
Unrefrigerated Store-Bought Lemon Juice
Has the longest shelf life. To prevent bacteria from growing, brands will remove the majority of water from the juice so it lasts longer. They also add preservatives so unopened bottles can last outside of the fridge.
However, keep in mind that you must refrigerate the bottle once it has been opened. Unopened juice can last for 3-6 months. Once opened, the juice can last 6-12 months when kept in the fridge.
Always check the sell-by date on store-bought bottles. In most cases, you can use lemon juice a few days after this date, but it will be less enjoyable compared to fresh juice.
How To Tell If Lemon Juice Has Expired
Lemon juice doesn’t expire straight away, particularly if you’ve purchased a store-bought bottle. However, lemon juice will lose its flavor slowly, so it isn’t always easy to tell if it’s edible or not.
The tips below can help you decide if your lemon juice has gone bad.
Lemon juice should be watery with a pale yellow hue. When it starts going bad, it will turn cloudy and will be a darker yellow shade. If your juice is in a dark bottle and you can’t tell what color it is, tip some out into a glass and examine the color.
Lemon juice should have a nice citrus fragrance. It shouldn’t be too strong or potent. If the juice is left for too long or kept in poor conditions, bacteria will grow and ferment the liquid.
This will make the juice smell strong and sour. If it smells like this, this indicates that your juice has expired or has started going bad.
In most cases, smell and color should be enough to indicate if your lemon juice has expired. If you’re not sure, try tasting it a little bit to see if it’s fresh.
You’ll only need to take a small sip as any more could make you ill. The expired juice will either be very sour or it won’t taste as if it came from lemons at all.
No matter what type of lemon juice you have, they will all contain a certain amount of water. Water breeds bacteria easily, which then leads to mold.
Mold is a clear sign of expired juice. Examine your lemon juice carefully, looking out for any mold or yeast pieces. If you notice any, dispose of the juice straight away. Then, clean the container well to prevent mold from affecting other surrounding foods.
How To Store Lemon Juice
If you have too much lemon juice on your hands, don’t throw it out! Here are some methods to store lemon juice so that it keeps for longer.
Freezing is one of the best ways of preserving foods. It’s also a good method to try if you prefer fresh lemon juice, but find that it goes bad too quickly.
To freeze your juice, grab an ice cube tray, add the lemon juice, then leave it in the freezer. When you need the lemon juice later, take out a few ice cubes then leave them to defrost.
If you plan on using your juice within a couple of days, refrigeration is a good way to store lemon juice. Freshly squeezed juice should be placed in the fridge straight away. Store-bought lemon juice bottles should be kept in the fridge once opened.
Avoid taking lemon juice out of the fridge, letting it settle at room temperature, then refrigerating it again. All these temperature changes will affect the juice’s chemical bonds, making it go bad quicker.
Fresh juice should be refrigerated for no more than three days. Lemon concentrate bottles can be kept in the fridge for a year, but do check the use-by date to be sure.
Canning is an alternative to freezing that can store fresh lemon juice for longer. As long as you can the juice correctly, it can be stored for up to two years.
To can your juice, you need a canner and some mason jars. Before you begin, wash the mason jars in the dishwasher or sanitize them in boiling water.
Once you’ve squeezed your fresh lemon juice, add it to a pan and bring it to a boil. After it’s boiled, pour it into the jars then seal tightly. These must be sealed to keep air and bacteria out of the jars.
You can check if the jars are sealed by pressing the bubble on the lid. If the bubble comes back up after being pressed, the air has entered the jar, so you must use the juice soon.
Once the jars are filled and sealed correctly, pour boiling water into a canner, then place the jars inside it. Cover for 15 minutes then remove the jars. Leave the lemon juice jars to cool down, then store them away until needed later.
Lemon juice has so many uses, so it’s always a good idea to keep some in the fridge. However, whether it’s store-bought or freshly squeezed, all lemon juice can go bad! Fresh lemon juice has a shorter life span than store-bought.
You can always check the color, smell, and taste to make sure your juice is suitable to consume. If you’d like to store lemon juice for later, freezing and canning your juice are both methods that prolong its lifespan.