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Yes, you can freeze limes whole, sliced, wedged, zested or juiced for 6 to 12 months still maintaining high quality. The key is to make sure that they are prepared and sealed well.
How to Freeze Limes
Limes are a tart and tasty citrus fruit that is has many different uses. You can use the zest and baking or you can use the juice for baking. You can use slices or wedges in your drinks.
If you've purchased a whole bag of limes and don't use them very often or perhaps you sound a great sale and want to stock up you may wonder how to extend the shelf life of your limes. Fresh limes only last about 3 or so weeks on the counter and can last one to two months if kept the perfect conditions in the refrigerator.
The good news is that limes freeze exceptionally well. Additionally, they're so easy to freeze you can have It done in just a few minutes. You can literally just chuck them in a bag and into the freezer much like when you are freezing rotisserie chicken or freezing marshmallows.
The main key you need to remember is to decide how you use them when you defrost them. This will determine which of the below methods is best for you.
Freezing them whole
If you may want to zest them later or if you'll need an entire lime to juice, freezing your lime's whole is your best bet.
- Prepare them. If you want, you can wash and pat the limes dry to get started.
- Package them. Toss your lime's whole into a freezer bag or an airtight container.
- Seal them. Place the lid on your container or squeeze the air out of your freezer bag and seal it shut.
- Label and freeze them. Write the date on the outside of the bag or container and then pop it into your freezer.
- Note: If you are freezing your limes whole, you can actually zest them while they're still frozen.
Freezing as slices or wedges
If you'll be using the limes and drinks or other small amounts the best way to process them is as slices or wedges. This takes slightly longer than freezing them home, but is still equally easy.
- Prepare them. Cut them into slices or wedges. Usually one lime can be cut into 5 to 6 slices depending on the size.
- Flash freeze. To prevent them from sticking together you must flash freeze them. Lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for a few hours until they are frozen.
- Pack them up. Remove them from the freezer once they're frozen and place them into an airtight container or a freezer bag. To help prevent freezer burn, make sure that the container or freezer bag is almost completely full.
- Seal them. Place the lid on your airtight container or press all of the air out of your freezer bag and a zip it to seal it.
- Label and refreeze. Write the date on the bag or container and then pop it back into your freezer.
Freezing the zest
If you know that you'll be using the zest of the limes you can go ahead and zest them and freeze just the zest.
- Prepare them. Take your limes and great the zest off.
- Flash freeze (optional): well you don't have to flash freeze the zest, doing so helps to prevent it from sticking in one large clump. Go ahead and lay it on a single layer on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer until it's frozen.
- Pack it up. Once frozen, remove from the freezer and dump it into an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Seal it up. Press all of the air out of the freezer bag and zip it shut. Or, if using an airtight container place the lid on top of the container.
- Label and freeze it. Write the date on the outside of the bag container and toss it into the freezer.
Freezing the juice
If you'll be using the juice when you defrost it you can go ahead and freeze it that way. If you don't want to juice the limes first, the best thing to do is freeze them whole defrost and juice them later.
- Juice them. Use a juicer or you can do this by hand.
- Flash freeze. Pour the juice into compartments on an ice cube tray and then place it in the freezer for a few hours until the cubes are frozen solid.
- Package it. Pop your frozen cubes out of the tray and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Seal it. Zip your bag up by squeezing any excess air out of it and then zipping it shut. Or, if using an airtight container place the lid on top.
- Label and freeze. Use a pin or marker and write the date on the outside of the bag or container and then pop it back into the freezer.
How to Defrost Limes
The best way to defrost limes and have the maintain the highest quality is simply to remove them from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator overnight. A whole lime may need several additional hours to fully defrost as compared to slices, wedges or zest.
If you froze the lime whole and want to zest them, you do not have to defrost them, similar to when you have frozen parmesan cheese and want to grate it.
However, if you're tight on time and need to speed the process up you have a couple of options. Just be aware that defrosting faster can cause the limes to be a little mushier than usual.
You can run the limes under cold or warm water. Alternatively, you can leave them in the freezer bag or container there and and submerge that in a bowl of warm water.
If you're really in a bind and need the lime to defrost super fast, you can pop it in the microwave for just a few seconds. While this method does work, it's definitely a last ditch effort to use since it affects the texture of the lime.
Freezing Limes FAQ
Are limes good after being frozen?
Yes, limes are surprisingly good after being frozen.
How long do limes last in the freezer?
Limes can stay good for upwards of 12 months in the freezer. Whole limes will begin to have the peel dry out a little after several months in the freezer, But the rest of lime stays good for longer.
How long can you store fresh limes?
Fresh limes stored optimally in the refrigerator can last for 1 to 2 months while fresh limes left on the counter usually last around 3 to 4 weeks.
Can you freeze key limes?
Yes, you can freeze key limes in the same methods as listed above.
How to Freeze Limes
- airtight container
- marker or pen
- freezer bags
- Ice Cube Tray
- Wash the limes and then pat them dry.
- Pop them into a freezer bag or airtight container
- Press all of the air from the freezer bag and zip it shut. Or, secure the lid on the top of your container.
- Use a pen or marker to write the date on the bag or container and then put it into the freezer.
Freezing Slices, Wedges or Zest
- Wash the limes and pat them dry.
- Cut them into slices or wedges or zest them.
- Flash freeze them by laying the slices or zest in a single layer on a cookie sheet and placing it into the freezer for an hour or two.
- Remove them from the freezer and dump into a freezer bag or airtight container.
- If using a bag, press any excess air from the bag and zip it shut. If using a container, simply place the lid on top.
- Write the date on the package and pop it into the freezer.
- Juice your limes.
- Pour your juice into the compartments of an ice cube tray. Make sure to leave a little room at the top of each for expansion with freezing.
- Pop the tray into the freezer for a few hours until the juice is frozen.
- Remove from the freezer, pop the frozen cubes out and put them into a freezer bag.
- Squeeze all of the air from the freezer bag and zip it closed.
- Write the date on the outside of the bag and toss it into the freezer.