The Absolute Best Ways To Keep Lemons Fresh

Though they might not be the first thing to come to mind in terms of pantry staples, lemons are definitely an essential kitchen ingredient. The highly versatile citrus can be used in a ton of recipes or even in natural, homemade cleaning solutions. From tart drinks and brighter vegetables to citrusy baked goods and silky curd, lemons are the perfect addition to sweet and savory dishes and drinks alike. But if you don't use them quickly enough, you might have found yourself throwing a few unused lemons out from time to time.

Whether you use lemons every few days or once every several weeks, there are storage options to maximize the shelf life of your lemons so they never have to go to waste again. Though you can certainly preserve lemons, remove their juice, or even zest them ahead of time, the right storage techniques for your timeline will allow you to keep the lemons fresh for as long as you need. Best of all, none of these methods require much preparation or labor.

Place on the counter

The simplest method for storing lemons is simply to keep them on your countertop. They can be placed in a bowl or kept directly on the counter, but there are a few things to consider before leaving your citrus out like this. Lemons stored at room temperature on the counter will only last for a few days and should be used as soon as possible. Most will only last about a week (via MasterClass).

If you plan to use all of your lemons within that time frame, keeping them on the counter is a perfectly valid option. However, there are a few factors that can help elongate their storage time. According to MasterClass, younger lemons that have not fully ripened yet are best for leaving out at room temperature. This way they will have time to fully ripen before they really need to be used. Lemons are also best stored by themselves because other fruits like apples or bananas can actually cause lemons to ripen and rot more quickly. 

Use your fridge

If need your lemons to last several weeks, then storing the citrus in the fridge is your best option. When using the fridge, lemons can stay fresh for at least two weeks or as long as a month. This should give many people enough time to use up their whole lemons sliced in iced tea, drizzled over broccoli, or zested into a cake batter. But depending how long you need the lemons to stay at their best will determine how you store them in the fridge, according to Taste of Home

The easiest fridge method simply requires stashing the whole lemons inside. No need to wrap them or place them inside any kind of protective layer to keep them as fresh as possible. But whole lemons simply placed in the fridge will only stay good for a couple of weeks. To keep lemons at their best for a full month, you will need to place them inside an airtight resealable container. This should help keep the citrus perfectly juicy for several weeks. 

Try freezing whole lemons

Finally, for the occasional lemon user or those with an abundance of the bright yellow citrus, the freezer is an amazing option for long-term storage. When stashed in the freezer, whole lemons can be kept fresh for up to four months, according to Glad. Though the interior texture of the lemons will change, they will still be great for juicing (via Freeze It). 

To keep lemons fresh using the freezer, first place them in a resealable freezer-safe container such as a plastic bag or an airtight container. This should help prevent freezer burn and keep the lemons from drying out. Then, simply leave the lemons in the freezer until you are ready to use them. Let the whole frozen lemons thaw to room temperature before using them, but otherwise, follow your recipe's instructions for lemons.

No matter how many lemons you need to store or for how long, one of these three methods should do just the trick and with very little hassle at that.