Lime juice is not only delicious but versatile and it can do wonders for your dishes and drinks when used in the right amount. So it’s really convenient to always have bottled lime juice ready to use whenever you need it. However, just because it’s bottled doesn’t mean that it lasts forever.
Whether you regularly use it for your salsas or cocktails to add that citrusy punch or only use it now and then, you should be conscious of that fact that it can go bad if stored improperly or left for too long.
Since it’s a potent ingredient, it’s usually used in small amounts. Because of that, it’s easy to use some of it and forget about the rest for a very long time.
If you find yourself in that situation and are now curious as to whether your lime juice is still safe to use, keep on reading. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about its shelf-life, the signs of spoilage and how you should store it.
How Long Does Bottled Lime Juice Last?
Similar to bottled lemon juice, bottled lime juice lasts a very long time due to its naturally acidic nature. Also, most brands pasteurize their product and add a varying number of preservatives to prolong its shelf-life.
When you consider all of these factors, it’s safe to say that it can sit in your refrigerator or pantry for quite a while. However, this doesn’t apply to all kinds of lime juice. The lime juice you squeeze freshly at home and store-bought lime juice will drastically differ in shelf-life.
Homemade vs Store Bought
Both store-bought and homemade lime juice will give the same zesty flavor to your dishes, but they will spoil at different speeds. This is due to the number of added preservatives and the pasteurization process the store-bought stuff goes through.
So whilst the lime juice you squeezed fresh at home will only last 3-4 days or a week at most, a store-bought bottle of lime juice can be safe to consume even 6 months after its best-by date, as long as it’s stored properly.
Can Expired Lime Juice Make You Sick?
Lime juice is a perishable item just like any other juice and it can go bad if it’s stored incorrectly or left for a very long time. So, yes, in theory you can get food poisoning from consuming expired lime juice.
It’s important to store bottled lime juice properly and keep track of its date to prevent any foodborne illnesses.
If you consume expired lime juice and get food poisoning, you will likely experience symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or stomach pain within 3-4 hours up to 2 days of consumption. If this is the case, I advise you to immediately see a doctor.
Foodborne illnesses are a common result of improper storage habits and bad food hygiene, so you should always keep an eye on your perishables, including bottled lime juice, and be conscious about the shelf-life of the product you’re consuming.
How to Tell if Lime Juice has Gone Bad
So it’s clear that bottled lime juice can in fact go bad. So, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs so you know when to throw it out.
Like most other foods, you can determine whether your lime juice has gone bad or not by simply examining it. Here are some of the indicators that your lime juice has gone bad and how to examine it:
Browned Lime Juice
First of all, it’s important to point out that browning in lime juice doesn’t necessarily mean it has spoiled. Lime juice turns brown if you open the bottle and leave it unrefrigerated for a while. It may still be good to use in your dishes or drinks and won’t cause any harm.
However, if it has turned brown it can also be a sign that the juice has spoiled. So, you should always be wary of certain signs if you suspect that it may have gone bad.
You should always do a smell test if you think your lime juice has spoiled. If it smells unfamiliar, rancid, or not citrusy in any way, you should discard it.
Lime juice should smell like limes, obviously, but in a refreshing, potent and pleasing way. In most cases, your senses will tell you if there’s something wrong with your lime juice.
You gave it a sniff and still couldn’t decide whether it has gone bad or not? Then try taking a tiny sip and tasting it.
If it’s sourer than usual, has a funky or rancid taste, or simply doesn’t taste like lime, you should throw it away. It means it has gone bad or degraded in quality over time, so much so that it lost any of its flavor. Either way, it’s no use anymore.
How to Store Bottled Lime Juice
Bottled lime juice may be highly acidic and less prone to bacterial or organic growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s non-perishable. It can go bad when left at room temperature for a long time. Because of this you should always be careful about how you store your bottled lime juice and much more careful if it’s freshly squeezed at home.
You should always store your store-bought lime juice in your pantry or cupboard in a dark, cool and dry place, away from any heat and light source. After you open the bottle, keep it in your refrigerator to avoid degradation in flavor and browning.
If you opted to squeeze your own lime juice, immediately refrigerate it after every use with a container that has a tight seal and finish it within a couple of days. As I have mentioned above, homemade lime juice will go bad much faster because it doesn’t contain any of the preservatives the store-bought kind does.
Freezing Lime Juice
You can freeze your leftover lime juice to prevent spoilage and waste. In fact, I recommend keeping some cubes of frozen lime juice to hand by using an ice tray or an ice mold. It’s a very convenient way of freshening up your drink during a scorching hot day.
If that doesn’t work for you, you can always use an airtight container or a glass jar to freeze your lime juice. When you want to use it, simply let it thaw and use however you like. Keep in mind that the thawing process will dilute it and ultimately, reduce its flavor and quality.
What Can You Do with Expired Lime Juice?
It’s high time that we re-purpose our expired foods and minimalize waste as much as we can. So, if your lime juice has expired, you can use it all around your house as a cleaning product and air freshener if you like. That would save you money on buying those products and minimalize wastage at the same time. It’s a win-win!
You can make a DIY cleaning product by combining equal amounts of your expired lime juice and water in a spray bottle. There you go; a lime-scented cleaning spray.
Aside from that, you can clean your microwave with your expired lime juice very easily. Just heat up some of the lime juice in the microwave with some water for about 30 to 60 seconds, let the steam soften the dirt for a few minutes, and wipe with a soft cloth or paper towels.
If you don’t want to re-purpose your expired lime juice as a cleaner, you can always use it to freshen up your house. It’s quite straightforward too; simply heat up your expired lime juice with some water in a pot over low heat and enjoy the scent of zesty limes in your house.