How To Score Cut Citrus So It Doesn't Dry Out

It's a very common dilemma: After throwing together a recipe that uses citrus, say, pork with chiles and lime, you suddenly find yourself with a bunch of leftover cut-up fruit with no place to put them. Throwing them out is wasteful, but leaving them there on the countertop doesn't seem quite like the way to go, either.

Whole, uncut citrus can last for up to a month when stored properly in the fridge. However, once the protective outer peel has been breached, you're in a race against time to use it before its juicy flesh eventually dries out and loses its flavor. There's even a small chance that the citrus may become a breeding ground for bacteria, too, if it's not handled correctly in this stage. Fortunately, there are many different techniques that you can use to keep your citrus wedges around until you can find a good way to use them, be it in a refreshing glass of juice or some citrusy recipes.

Two ways to keep your cut citrus fresh and plump

To keep your sliced citrus fresh, minimizing the fleshy side's exposure to air is key. The easiest way is to simply pack them all up in a zip-top bag and seal them tightly, or wrap them in plastic wrap if you don't have any zip-top bags. Next, place the wrapped or contained citrus in the crisper drawer (or humidity drawer) of your refrigerator. The cooler temperature (between 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit) combined with the humidity control of this drawer will allow the citrus slices to remain fresh for longer.

Alternatively, you can keep cut citrus fresh by submerging it in water in a sealed container in the fridge. This method works great if you intend to use the leftover citrus for juicing later, as it keeps the fruit hydrated. Don't forget to peek inside the container from time to time. If the water starts to get a bit cloudy (usually within one to two weeks), it's time to refresh it. While you're at it, give your lemons a quick inspection. If you spot mold or they've turned very mushy, unfortunately, it's a sign that they've gone bad and should be tossed away.