Limes are a versatile citrus fruit that can add flavor to many dishes and beverages. Their bright, tart taste pairs well with seafood, chicken, rice, guacamole, margaritas, and more.
While fresh limes are readily available year-round in most grocery stores, you may find yourself with an abundance of limes during peak season or get a good deal on a bulk bag. This leads to the question – can you freeze limes to save any extras for later use?
How to Freeze Whole Limes
Freezing whole, uncut limes is simple. Here are some tips:
- Select fresh, firm limes without blemishes or soft spots. Avoid overripe limes.
- Wash limes thoroughly in cool water and pat dry.
- Place limes in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate. Freeze until solid, about 2-3 hours.
- Transfer the frozen limes to an airtight freezer bag or container. Squeeze out excess air.
- Label bag with contents and freeze-by date. Properly frozen whole limes will last 3-6 months in the freezer.
Freezing limes whole with the peel on helps protect the juicy interior pulp from freezer burn. The peel also locks in the flavorful lime oil.
Freezing Lime Juice
You can also freeze extracted lime juice for later use:
- Juice fresh limes, avoiding any peel, pith, or seeds.
- Pour lime juice into ice cube trays, leaving headspace for expansion.
- Once frozen, transfer lime juice cubes to an airtight freezer bag or container.
- Label container with freeze date and thaw in refrigerator when needed.
Frozen lime juice cubes are convenient for adding to water, teas, marinades, and recipes. Thawed lime juice retains its bright, tart taste for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Freezing Lime Wedges or Slices
Lime wedges and slices can also be frozen:
- Wash and dry fresh limes.
- Cut limes into wedges or slices. Remove any seeds.
- In a single layer, spread lime slices/wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze until solid, about 2-3 hours.
- Transfer frozen lime slices/wedges to an airtight freezer bag or container.
- Press out excess air and seal. Label with contents and date.
Frozen lime slices or wedges are great for adding to beverages, marinating meats, or garnishing dishes. They will maintain quality for 2-3 months in the freezer.
Freezing Lime Zest
The zest is the outermost, colorful peel of the lime containing the flavorful lime oil. Here’s how to freeze it:
- Wash limes and pat dry thoroughly.
- Use a zester, grater, or peeler to remove just the thin, green zest layer – avoid the bitter white pith underneath.
- Spread zest on a parchment-lined plate in a single layer and place in freezer until frozen, about 1 hour.
- Transfer frozen lime zest pieces to an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Remove excess air, label, and return to freezer.
Frozen lime zest can add bright, robust lime flavor to smoothies, yogurt, baked goods, sauces, and more. It will keep for up to 3 months.
Thawing and Using Frozen Limes
- For whole frozen limes, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before juicing or zesting.
- For frozen lime juice cubes, store in refrigerator until thawed or add directly to recipes.
- Add frozen lime wedges or slices directly to water, drinks, food prep. They will thaw quickly.
- Use frozen lime zest straight from freezer. Grate or break into pieces before adding to recipes.
In most applications, previously frozen limes can be used in place of fresh with little difference in taste or quality. The juicy pulp and zest retain much of their natural vibrant flavors through proper freezing.
Storing Frozen Limes
For best quality, be sure to store frozen limes properly:
- Place in airtight freezer bags or containers, removing excess air. This prevents freezer burn.
- Freeze at 0°F or below. Consistent freezing temperature prevents iciness.
- Label packages with contents and freeze date. Use within recommended timeframe.
- Avoid storing frozen limes too long. Flavor and juice content will diminish over time.
- Do not refreeze previously thawed limes. Refreezing causes texture changes.
Adhering to proper freezing, storage, and thawing methods will help retain the fresh flavor of limes in frozen form.
Benefits of Freezing Limes
Freezing is a great way to save seasonal limes or those purchased in bulk for later use. Benefits include:
- Preserves texture of zest, pulp, and juice when frozen properly
- Locks in bright, tart lime flavor compared to canned or bottled juice
- Allows enjoying limes out of season
- Reduces waste from spoilage
- Saves money by buying bulk when prices are lower
- Adds convenience of thawed juice cubes, slices, and zest
With minimal preparation, fresh limes can be frozen whole, in wedges, as juice, or zest for savoring their taste long term.
Frequently Asked Questions
Freezing limes is simple but there are some common questions:
How long do frozen limes last?
Whole limes and lime juice cubes can be frozen for 3-6 months. Lime slices, wedges and zest will last 2-3 months in the freezer before noticeable decline in flavor and texture. Always label packages with the freeze date.
Can you freeze and thaw limes multiple times?
It is best to freeze limes only once, not multiple freeze-thaw cycles. Repeated thawing causes texture changes and moisture loss. Refreezing thawed limes is not recommended.
Is frozen lime juice as good as fresh?
If frozen properly in an airtight container, lime juice retains much of its bright, robust flavor for 3 months or longer. It can be used in place of fresh juice in most recipes and beverages with minimal flavor difference.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen lime juice cubes?
Lime juice cubes can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator. For faster thawing, place cubes in a bowl of cool water for 15-30 minutes. Swirl the bowl occasionally. Do not microwave frozen juice as it can cause loss of nutrients.
Can you use frozen lime zest without thawing?
Yes, frozen lime zest can be grated or chopped directly from the freezer to add flavor to foods. No thawing is required, just break it apart before adding to recipes.
Is it better to freeze limes whole or as wedges/slices?
For maximum juice content, it is best to freeze limes whole with the peel intact. However, slices and wedges are more convenient for quick use in foods, beverages and cocktails. Both methods work well.
Limes can be frozen whole, in wedges, as juice cubes, or grated zest. When properly frozen and stored, frozen limes retain much of their bright, robust citrus flavor for use long after peak season has passed.
Label all bags and follow recommended storage times for optimal quality. With some simple preparation beforehand, you can enjoy tasty limes year-round straight from the freezer.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.