Lemon juice is extract from fresh citrus fruits, placed into fancy little squeezable lemon shaped containers and jars in factories, and sold off in grocery stores all over the world. People buy the lemon juice and use it for flavoring all kinds of dishes and beverages they desire to have a citrus flavor. Some people even buy the juice in bulk since it is such a staple item in their household. Others like squeezing lemons and extracting the juice themselves so it is as fresh as possible. However, what do you do with extra lemon juice?

Image used under Creative Commons from Rob Bertholf

Storing Lemon Juice

If you purchase bulk lemon juice from the grocery store already sealed up and you want to store it away, you can safely do so in a cool dry spot within the pantry for up to 18 months. However, if you open up the lemon juice container, it does have to be store in the refrigerator in order to keep it fresh up until the time the expiration date on the bottle says it has expired. Once lemon juice expires, it is best to toss it out and get some new juice. If a sealed up lemon juice container is opened and left on the countertop it can turn sour, mold and become horribly bad. The key to keeping the juice fresh is to use it up right away, leave it sealed up and stored away in your pantry until you are ready to use it, or store it in the refrigerator until it expires.

Now with that being said, if you freshly squeeze lemon juice from lemons and have some left over you can place it into a storage container and refrigerate it for up to a week, but after that, it will grow bacteria, mold, turn sour and sometimes can turn into lemon vinegar, which should not be used.

When it comes to freezing opened lemon juice in a bottle or freshly squeezed, this method should be skipped. Freezing lemon juice will cause it too loose its lemon flavor and become more watery in texture. If you must freeze extra lemon juice, it should be stored in freezer containers and store for only a week in the freezer, which means using it up within that week is best.

Another outstanding thing you can do with extra lemon juice is make lemonade, which can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks before going bad because the sugar in it will preserve it well. However, after two weeks the lemonade does lose its flavor and becomes sour.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rob Bertholf

End Notes for Keeping Lemon Juice Fresh

When it comes to keeping lemon juice as fresh as possible for as long as possible it is just best to keep a bowl of lemons on hand and squeeze out the amount of lemon juice you will exactly need for each recipe. Lemon juice has more flavor this way and taste the freshest in this form. It also prevents left over lemon juice from occurring and leaving you trying to figure out how to store it properly.

Remember, in a pinch, store bought lemon juice that comes in a cute little squeezing bottle is helpful, but remember to never store it on top of the countertop or in the pantry after. Place it in the refrigerator to help get the most shelf life out of it. Always toss out lemon juice that is sour smelling and tasting, or contains mold. Eating or drinking lemon juice that has gone bad will cause illness just like any other spoiled food.