If you have a beautiful lime tree at home that is bursting with fresh fruit, you might be looking for a way to save the limes without letting them go to waste!
You might also find yourself in the same position if you come across a bargain on limes at the local grocer, how do you keep them for longer?
One of the best ways to extend the life of fresh produce is to freeze it. But going through the process of slicing or juicing each lime to be frozen can be a bit daunting.
Can you freeze whole limes? Yes, you can freeze whole limes, and it works out so much easier to freeze them whole. Frozen limes are also easy to zest, and you can pop them back into the freezer once you have zested them.
Frozen limes can be used much the same as fresh limes once thawed, and you can still cut them into a wedge and place them into a beverage or squeeze the juice to use in a drink or meal.
Here is how to freeze whole limes to ensure that you get to use all your produce.
How To Freeze Whole Limes – Step By Step
It definitely works out to be more expensive to buy a single lime than it does to buy them in bulk. If you have been too nervous to buy limes in bulk before because you are worried they might spoil, you aren’t alone.
However, with a few simple steps, you can freeze limes whole, and get to use each one without worrying about them spoiling.
Here is how to freeze whole limes:
- Wash the limes well to remove any wax coating. You can wash the limes under cold water, or use a vegetable wash to remove any dirt and coatings. If not organic, there might be some pesticide residue left on the lime, and it is better to get rid of this.
- Once you have washed the limes, pat them dry with a paper towel slightly.
- Put the limes into a heavy-duty freezer bag, squish out all of the air and seal it tightly. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag, because air exposure will deaden the flavor and remove moisture. This is why you should seal the bag tightly as well.
- Label the bag with the date of freezing and the name of the contents, just so that you know when to use the limes by, and that you can easily identify them in the freezer.
- Pop the bag in the freezer and take out a lime at a time as you need to use it.
There are other options to package the limes in when freezing, but they are not as practical or space-saving as using a plastic freezer bag.
You could use a freezer container, but this does not hold too many limes, and it will take up quite a bit of space in the freezer.
Another option is to wrap the limes up individually in layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil, but this takes some time and is a bit of a waste when you can just place the limes into one freezer bag.
How Long Can Limes Last In The Freezer?
If packed properly and kept under the right storage conditions, limes can be kept in the freezer for up to 12 months. You will need to ensure that the limes are kept in an airtight container and do not come into contact with air or moisture.
Keep in mind that the zest and peel of the limes will begin to dry out after 3 months. It will still be fine to use after this time, but you might not get as much flavor out of the zest as you would want to.
The juice and the actual flesh of the limes will still be good to use after 3 months, but try to use them before the 12 months are up to be able to enjoy them at their best quality.
Can You Freeze Sliced Limes?
You can freeze sliced limes, it just takes a little more preparation and work than what it does freezing limes whole.
Here is how to freeze sliced limes:
- Slice the limes into wedges or thin slices. The wedges should not be larger than ¼ of the lime, and the slices should be around ¼-inch thick.
- Place the slices or wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lay them peel-side down, as this will allow them to be easier to remove when frozen.
- Place the tray into the freezer and wait for the lime pieces to be frozen solid.
- Once frozen, pick up the lime slices and place them into a plastic freezer bag.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag and then seal it. Removing the air prevents freezer burn, and keeps the lime pieces fresh and protected.
- Label the freezer bag with the date of freezing and the name of the contents so you can keep track of when to use it by, and you can easily identify the lime slices in the freezer.
By flash-freezing the limes first, you ensure that they do not stick together when frozen in the freezer bag. This means you can pick out one lime slice at a time without having to defrost the whole batch.
What Is The Best Way To Freeze Limes?
It is definitely better to freeze limes whole. You do not have to go through the process of slicing the limes and flash-freezing them first, then picking them up one by one to place them in a freezer bag.
Freezing limes whole is such a simple process, you just need to wash the whole limes, pat them down to dry, and then pop them into a plastic freezer bag, removing all the air before sealing it shut tight.
The great part of freezing limes whole is that you do not have to defrost or thaw the limes if you simply want to use some zest for a pie.
You can take the lime out of the freezer, quickly zest some of the peel, and then place it back into the freezer bag.
This means that you do not have to waste a whole lime by defrosting it if you want a small amount of zest.
You are also still able to use the juice and flesh of a lime that has been frozen, you will just need to leave it to thaw.
How Do I Thaw A Frozen Lime?
It is possible to defrost a whole lime quickly by placing it in the microwave for a few seconds. Put the microwave onto the defrost setting and let the lime defrost in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time.
Check the lime after each 10-second session to ensure that it is not getting too hot or cooking. You just want to get the thawing process going, not ruin the lime.
You could also achieve this by running the frozen lime under warm water for a little while.
A safe way to thaw a whole lime is to leave it in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. This does not expose the lime to warm temperatures, and it keeps the lime cooler, which is better to use in drinks.
Can I freeze other citrus fruits whole?
This freezing technique of placing the whole lime in the freezer works well for other citrus fruits too. You could do the same with lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. You could build up quite a stock of citrus in your freezer!
Just remember to clean the citrus fruit well before freezing, as there might be a waxy coating or traces of pesticide still left on the skin.
This does not work too well when you want to zest the frozen citrus, as it will be difficult to wash it then when they are frozen. Wash them before freezing.
How long do limes last in the fridge?
Limes should be placed in the crisper drawer of the fridge in order to stay fresh for as long as possible.
By storing limes this way, and buying or picking them just before they fully ripe, you should be able to keep them in the fridge for up to a month.
If kept at room temperature, you would need to use the lime within a week.
How do you know when a lime has gone bad?
You should be able to tell quite easily if a lime has gone bad. There might be a light brown color forming on the skin, with a soft texture and other discolorations.
The inside of the lime will also start to dry out, and it might have an off smell as well.
If you are not sure whether the lime has spoiled or not, it is best just to stay on the safe side and throw it away. Keep your limes stored in the freezer to ensure they don’t go bad.