Jars with lemons and limes

The Best Way To Keep Lemons and Limes

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Today, it’s all about the best way to keep lemons and limes. Have you purchased lemons and limes and they look plump and perfect at the grocery store?

You bring them home and slice some to put in your glass of ice water? Or maybe in your cup of freshly brewed tea?

Where I live the cheapest place to buy lemons and limes is at Costco. I bet you can picture placing the citrus bags in your shopping basket, thinking of all the things you will do with these beautiful fruits.

Cold or hot drinks, drizzle some lemon on fish, squeeze some lime juice on those Mexican dishes, there are just so many uses for the juice from these two fruits.

Oh, the glorious fruit, maybe some zest here and there. The list is never-ending. Then, two weeks later you realize you still have ten lemons and limes in the refrigerator.

Are they still good? Are they still flavorful and juicy? All you need are colanders and jars to make sure they stay the way you want!

The Best Way To Keep Lemons and Limes

Here’s the deal, we forget the stuff we buy sometimes, unless it’s chocolate, in my case. I never forget the chocolate.

It’s frustrating, to say the least when we have all these lemons and limes and then one day you realize there has to be a better way to store them, right?

Grocery shopping is not my favorite thing to do, ever, but I love some lemons and limes when I need them. I remember my mother keeping her small citrus in jars covered with water. How did I forget this trick?

The Best Way To Keep Lemons and Limes

What size jars can I use?

I tried using wide-mouth quart jars, but they weren’t quite big enough. To be honest, I vaguely remember my mom having jars that had those big dill pickles in them.

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The jar was not too big and not too small, it was just the right size. So I went to Amazon and found the perfect jars.

They are reasonable in cost and I will have lemons and limes for a couple of months using these. These are the ones I purchased, Anchor Hocking 2-Quart Cracker Jar

How To Store Lemons and Limes

When you bring the fruit home, take the stickers off, if there are any on them. Now, you can put just lemons in jars or just limes. You can also put both lemons and limes in a jar together. Whatever works for you.

Step One

Wash the fruit after removing any stickers, if they have some attached. These are organic lemons, but I still like to rinse them with water. Here are the lemons.


Step Two

Now, wash the limes if you purchased some as well. Remove the stickers, if any are attached. These are organic limes but I still like to rinse them with water.


Step Three

After putting the fruit in the jars of your choice, completely cover the fruit with water to keep it fresh. I used my reverse osmosis water to be sure the water was pure and clean without a lot of chemicals.

Cover with water

Step Four

I tried to put some in a quart jar, but I think my lemons and limes are so fresh they are too plump, and very few fit inside a wide-mouth mason jar. But if you only buy two or three lemons and limes at a time that would work fine.

Jars with lemons and limes

Refrigerate after the jars are filled

I store these JARS in the refrigerator for 2-3 months. I use the lemons and limes as needed.

The Best Way To Keep Lemons and Limes

Can I freeze Lemons?

Yes, you can, you can quarter the lemons or slice them and spread them out on parchment-lined cookie sheets. When frozen, place the frozen pieces in freezer bags for up to 3-4 months.

Can I freeze the juice from lemons or limes?

Yes, you can. Squeeze the fruit, remove the seeds, and use an ice cube tray to freeze the liquid. Pop them out after they are totally frozen and place them in freezer bags. I use these Silicone Trays.

Can I freeze the zest?

Yes, you can, use your Microplane or Fruit Zester and store it in ice cube trays. When frozen place the sections in freezer bags.

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What’s the difference between lemons and limes?

We quote, Healthline,Limes are small, round, and green, while lemons are usually larger, oval-shaped, and bright yellow. Nutritionally, they’re almost identical and share many of the same potential health benefits.

Both fruits are acidic and sour, but lemons tend to be sweeter, while limes have a more bitter flavor.”

Can I put the lemons and limes in a bowl of water in the refrigerator?

Yes, you can use a large bowl and cover them with water. My only concern is the water and the fruit picking up the flavors from other food items in the refrigerator. I’ve never tried this approach, so it may work great. Give it a try and see what happens.

How can I use lemons and limes?

  • They add a dash of flavor to just about anything.
  • Helps keep wrinkles away.
  • They help your body’s cells do what they need to do.
  • Great antioxidents.
  • They help your baby in the womb (folic acid).
  • Helps kill nasty bugs on fresh produce with a little vinegar.
  • Lowers blood pressure (consult your doctor first).
  • May keep you from getting free radicals.
  • They may help keep the fats and sugars in your blood at healthy levels.
  • May help reduce the effects of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Use lemons in warm water with honey and green tea when you have a cold.
  • Garlic and lemon juice may help lower your cholesterol.

Can I dehydrate lemons?

Mark and I have dehydrated lemons but not limes, yet. They are really easy to do: wash, slice, remove seeds, and place the slices on the dehydrator racks. In case you missed this post, Dehydrating Lemons And Make Lemon Powder

Lemons and Lemon Powder

In case you missed this post, Lemons: Everything You Need to Know

Are There Very Varieties of Lemons and Limes?

There are dozens of different varieties of both lemons and limes. Many are found in different countries throughout the world, and many have some strange colors, shapes, and tastes. If you want to learn about any of these, you can find most of them discussed on the Internet.


  • Lisbon
  • Eureka
  • Bearss
  • Pink Variegated
  • Meyer
  • Primofiori
  • Verna
  • Buddha’s Hand
  • Bush
  • Avon
  • Citron
  • Dorshapo
  • Greek Citron
  • Ponderosa
  • Baboon
  • Bonnie Brae
  • Santa Teresa
  • Genoa
  • Jhambiri
  • Lamas
  • Lemonade
  • Assam
  • Perrine
  • Villafranca
  • Volkamer
  • Yen Ben
  • Lumia
  • Otaheite


  • Key
  • Kaffir
  • Bearss
  • Limequats
  • Finger
  • Kusaie
  • Australian Desert
  • Tahiti
  • Calamansi
  • Blood
  • Rangpar
  • Omani Dried
  • Ginger
  • Limetta
  • Mandarin
  • Mary Ellen
  • Merdeka
  • Millsweet Limetta
  • Spanish
  • Castelo
  • Lemon-Lime

Final Word

I hope you enjoyed today’s post about the best way to keep lemons and limes as fresh as possible. It’s all about cooking from scratch and teaching our kids and grandkids how to preserve food one way or another. Stay safe, stay well, and keep prepping, we must. May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. So, in the water in the jars means no refrigeration? I read the article multiple times and see no reference to that whatsoever, except that ‘in a bowl in the fridge’ is another way. I’m 99% sure you mean no refrigeration for your method here, but want to make sure.

        1. Hi Rebecca, I do not know the answer to that one. I’m thinking the small oranges (those easy to peel ones) would not work, the skins/peelings are too thin. For the larger oranges, we would need such large jars, not sure. Linda

          1. Thank you! I didn’t even think about how thin the skins are on those easy to peel ones. My children love them one day and the next aren’t interested so that what I was asking about.

  2. Great post as usual, Linda. I have learned so much from you.

    I love lemons in water. I do need to get some and store in jars. I need to start drinking water with lemon again. I felt so good when doing that. I also like cucumber in my water.

  3. Linda,

    I’ve frozen lemons before, but never thought of storing them in unrefrigerated jars with water. Great post. I use lemon juice as my salad dressing and on fish mostly, but I also squeeze them for lemonade. My wife uses them and the zest to make lemon meringue pies.

    1. Hi Ray, they must be refrigerated. I couldn’t take the picture last night showing them in the refrigerator, I just uploaded the image to the post. I love freezing lemons as well, I hope my lemon tree produces lemons in a few years for me. Oh, lemon meringue pies…YUMMY! Linda

  4. This is so great to know! Every time I buy lemons or limes I wind up throwing at least one away because it dries out and turns rock hard. How long do they last in the fridge in the jars with water? Do they get soft or mushy over time? Love the idea of freezing slices or the zest. Great time saver!

    1. Hi Kay, I tested these and they were still good after 6 weeks. I’m hoping they will go for two months or possibly three months. I think it would depend on how fresh the fruit is when placed in the jars. The fresher they are the better they will keep. My lemons and limes have not gone mushy or soft after 6 weeks. I love a drink called a cherry rickey. It’s 7-up with squeezed limes and a little cherry syrup. I never have the cherry syrup, but I love 7-up with limes. Linda

  5. Oh my gosh, it never occurred to me that they’d keep for months in a jar of water. I just threw some dead limes away yesterday, and it annoys me so much when I have to do that!

    1. Hi Laura, I’m at six weeks today, they were fresh from Costco and I wrote the post that day. They do need to be refrigerated. I just added the image of them in my frig. I’m so excited because I love lemons and limes! Linda

  6. I found a large bottle of Torani cherry syrup for $4.97 at TJ Max/Home Goods. Torani makes all kinds of flavor syrups for coffee and drinks. It’s usually available in the coffee section of your grocery store. I love to add the cherry syrup to lime flavored seltzer water over ice. Perfect for hot summer days!

  7. Linda, it is so amazing to turn my computer on and here is an article that I needed. I usually just buy a few at a time but may have them go bad before using, so this suggestion of keeping them in water in the refrigerator is perfect. I found a recipe for Drop Butter Wafers that takes lemon zest; it is a simple cookie and quite tasty. You can use just lemon zest and some orange zest or both. Today, I am making a black bean soup that has a lot of items from the pantry, canned beans, chilis, beef broth, and fresh vegetables, onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Could be a soup to make from your stash after a disaster. This soup will also take limes. I always buy a couple extra of the lemons and limes and now I know how to preserve the extra ones. By the way, one of the best items that I have purchased from another of your post are the Souper Cubes. I now freeze chicken broth, soups, rotel tomatoes and chilis when I haven’t used the whole can, pasta/pizza sauce in these smaller amounts and pop them in freezer bags once they are frozen. I can put one 1 cup stick of soup/broth in a pint jar to thaw for dinner! Love these Souper Cubes. I learn so much from your posts and your reader’s comments. Keep up this great work.

    1. Hi Carol, oh you made my day!! Thank you for your kind words. I love those Souper Cubes, I use them all the time as well. I’m glad you like them! Now I want to make a black bean soup for dinner! Sounds yummy! Linda

  8. Great article – thank you! I didn’t know about putting them in water. When I notice I’m not going to get them all used (usually when I buy a big bag at Costco) then I just put the whole lemon or lime in the freezer. It actually breaks down into more juice later! I thaw it on the counter or in the microwave then juice it with my handheld juicer. Simple and I’ve always got lemon or lime juice on hand for a recipe and don’t waste a precious one. I’ve also put the juice in silicone ice cube trays which works great when you just need a little bit.

  9. Thank you–I just (very crossly) threw away 2 (organic) lemons I hadn’t used yet. Won’t do that again, thanks to you. Will have to get some more big glass jars, though–all the ones I have are full of water-glassed eggs…

    1. Hi Rhonda, I’m excited because I will always have lemons and limes! That’s one thing I have never tried, first of all, because I do not have chickens yet. A friend sent me pictures of how he water-glassed his fresh eggs. Linda

  10. Hi Linda:

    I needed this tip. We always have the big 1/2 gallon dill pickle jars because I use them in my Potato Salad and Macaroni Salad. My daughter also loves dill pickles. Since we live in the dessert my and are always getting leg cramps my sister said to drink the pickle juice to prevent them like she does. I don’t think I could do that. She uses one of the half gallons each week. I would love to find the dill pickles in a gallon glass jar so I could use them. I hate plastic for anything.

    1. Hi Jackie, oh I forgot about your macaroni and potato salad!! Now I want to make some!! I’m not sure I could drink pickle juice but I could eat a dill pickle! Wow, a half gallon a week, that’s a lot of pickles! I wonder where you could buy a gallon of of dill pickles in a glass jar??? A restaurant supply store??? I hope you find one! Linda

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