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Kalyn's Kitchen

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice: How and Why I Do It

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice is one of my favorite kitchen tricks, and it helps me use every lemon or lime in those big bags you get at Costco!

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Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.com

From time to time, readers write to me with cooking questions, which I do sheepishly try to answer, reminding them that I’m pretty much a self-taught cook, and might be breaking all kind of kitchen rules. One question that I’ve gotten more than once is “Can I use bottled lemon (or lime) juice in this recipe?” to which my answer is an emphatic “NO!” That’s when I start telling them all the reasons they should be Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice!

At first this seemed so obvious to me that I wondered if it was even blog-worthy, but after I shared the idea with a few different women who told me it was brilliant, I decided others might also like hearing about it.

Why I love Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice:

First and foremost, in my mind, the overly sour and artificial flavor of bottled lime or lemon juice is no substitute for the subtle, fresh, and slightly sour-citrus flavor of fresh lemon or lime juice.

However, keeping fresh lemons and limes around all the time can be problematic. Okay, if you live in Florida or California, or other warm parts of the world, you may be able to just quit reading now. But if you live in a place where fresh limes and lemons are not only hard to keep, but also very expensive at certain times of the year, then my tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice might be life-changing for you.

By freezing lemon and lime juice I manage to have a supply of almost-as-good-as fresh lemon and lime juice on hand at all times. I’m always on the lookout for a good deal on lemons or lime at the grocery store, but most of the year I buy those big bags at Costco, keep them in a basket on the counter, and then just before they’re starting to go bad I have a juice-squeezing session.

Squeezing Fresh Lime Juice:

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.comI cut the limes in half like the photo you see above, and use this citrus squeezer I got many years ago as a gift from my wonderful sister-in-law Lisa. (Edit 2015: I recently bought a Cuisinart Citrus Juicer and now I use that if I have a lot of fruit to juice, love it!)

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.comA funnel is your friend when you’re doing this job, because you don’t want to spill any of the precious juice, especially from limes which can sometimes be surprisingly not that juicy.

Squeezing Fresh Lemon Juice:

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.comUnless they’re quite small, I cut the lemons in quarters, not only so they fit in the citrus squeezer better, but also so I can squeeze out every drop of juice. I love the way this squeezer catches the seeds!

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.comOnce again, the funnel is your friend for this job. Even with a funnel, it looks like I spilled some of the precious lemon juice on my cutting board.

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice:

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.comAnd here’s the reward for about 10 minutes of squeezing, or maybe more if you have to squeeze by hand. Lime and lemon juice will keep in the freezer for several months. Some readers expressed concern about using glass jars, and you shouldn’t fill them too full, but I’ve never had one break in the freezer. You can also freeze the juice in an ice cube tray if you prefer, then pop out the cubes and store in a ZipLoc bag. Measure the amount of one cube and that makes them easy to use in recipes.

How to Use the Frozen Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice:

To use the juice, I try to let it thaw naturally by removing the bottle from the freezer an hour or so before I need it for a recipe and just letting it sit on the counter. When that doesn’t work out, you can thaw in the microwave on a low temperature. Be careful not to let the juice get too warm when you’re thawing it or the flavor starts to break down. (Edit, thanks to Michelle who asked in the comments about glass bottles in the freezer, which reminded me to caution you not to put the bottle with the frozen juice under hot water to thaw, or the glass may crack.)

If you have cubes that were frozen in an ice cube tray, just thaw them in a small dish, either on the counter or in the microwave.

Some Favorite Recipes with Fresh Lime Juice:

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos
Cilantro-Lover’s Perfect Guacamole
Avocado, Tomato, Edamame, and Red Onion Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime and Rosemary
Black Bean and Pepper Salad with Cilantro and Lime
Black Bean and Tomatillo Soup with Lime and Cilantro
Chipotle-Lime Deviled Eggs
Turkey and Sweet Potato Soup with Black Beans and Lime
Summer Tomato Salad with Avocado, Tuna, Cilantro, and Lime
Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumber, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime

Some Favorite Recipes with Fresh Lemon Juice:

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest
Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Parsley and Lemon
Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Feta, Lemon, and Thyme
Carrot and Parsley Salad
Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon, Thyme, and Parmesan
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Pecorino-Romano Cheese
Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon and Capers
Market Street Grill Creamy Cucumber Sauce for Fish
Very Greek Grilled Chicken
Middle Eastern Tomato Salad

Are you a fan of using lime juice or lemon juice in cooking? Let us know in the comments about your favorite way to use it!

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice found on KalynsKitchen.com

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90 comments on “Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice: How and Why I Do It”

  1. Great idea and I’ve never thought of it although I do store citrus zest in the freezer.

    What a neat squeezer!

  2. Want more juice from your limes and lemons? Put each in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to warm up. A warm lemon or lime yields quite a bit more juice!

    Yvr Mike

  3. Kalyn,
    {sound of hand slapping forehead} Doh!
    Now if I can just find some space in my overloaded freezer…

  4. Freezing is also a great idea for small amounts of leftover wine to be used in recipes – your potroast will thank you for it!

  5. Why the heck have I never thought to do this? I’ve always thought about buying those big bags of lemons and limes at Costco, but then remind myself that I’ll never use them all in time. Now I can. Costco, here I come. Great tip!

  6. Cora, I’m thinking those big bags of lemons is what started me doing it, but I’ve been doing it so long now I’m not sure!

    Johanna, my ice cube trays hold 1 T each if I don’t fill them completely, which is handy. I admit though I usually forget to use the trays!

    Jen, thanks for sharing that! I haven’t tried freezing the whole lemons or limes, but I’ll definitely do that next time I’m in a rush.

    Jimmy, I haven’t tried it, but see the comment from Jen above. (Love it when readers chime in like this.) Sounds like it works well!

  7. Kalyn – What do you think about freezing the whole lemon/lime, then thawing and juicing when you needed?

  8. I also love to freeze lemon and lime juice, but I have to admit to being lazy and putting the whole fruit into the freezer. I have separate bags for lemons and limes and have even tossed in a grapefruit or orange that somehow didn’t get eaten in time. When it comes time for juicing I usually thaw them in the microwave. If you juice your lemons fresh, consider saving the rinds in the freezer and popping 1 or 2 halves into the cavity of a chicken or turkey when roasting. The flavor addition is very subtle.

  9. a great reminder as I forget about doing such things – and although I like the idea of freezing in ice cube containers – it has never occured to then store the iceblocks in a bag which would save room in my freezer – thanks!

  10. Brilliant! I always want to buy those big bags of lemons, but I know they’ll go bad before I can use all of them. I especially like the ice cube idea. Wonder if I have any ice cube trays . . .

  11. Amy, we were writing our comments at the same time. I have tried the microwave trick when I let the lemons sit on the counter too long and they were getting dried out, and it did help. I haven’t done it all that often though; probably just because I forget!

  12. StuffCooksWant, do give it a try. I love having this in the freezer.

    Hi Cyndi,
    I have zested the lemons first, but I find I don’t use nearly as much frozen zest as I do frozen lemon juice. Good luck on SB. I’m retiring, so maybe I’m getting away from the budget dilemmas.

    Hi Lisa,
    Now you know how much I love this squeezer. Thanks again for giving it to me. Use it all the time! Love ya!

  13. Great idea, I’m definitely going to do this. Have you read the tip about microwaving a lemon for about 15 seconds before juicing it? It’s supposed to double the juice and enhance the flavor. I haven’t tried it yet so can’t vouch for it personally, but I’ve read it from several reliable sources.

  14. Hi everyone!

    I’m the sister-in-law Lisa who gave Kalyn the lime squeezer! If anybody is interested, they can be purchased at any Mexican store. Also, if you’re ever in Mexico, they are for sale at all the street markets for a few dollars. They are definitely worth the investment!!!!!!

  15. I joined an organic produce buying club last month, and 2 weeks ago our share included 10 lemons – which are now in the freezer in the form of lemon juice cubes – made a dozen – and a bag of lemon zest. Next time you squeeze your lemons or limes, zest them first, then freeze the zest!

    Right now I have a version of your Red Kale and Onion Savory Breakfast Squares in the oven – though I used regular green kale (it was in my share last week) and put it in silicone muffin cups so it’s more portable. I’ll let you know how I like it! I’m back to SBD’ing it – this is Day 1 of Phase 1 – so far so good. I’d lost 35 pounds these last 2 years, 11 in the last 5 months, but was eating the wrong things and my blood sugar was way too high. SBD will help.

    Hope you’re surviving the budget messes in your school district. It’s a mess here in California.

  16. Why didn’t I think of this? Also have heard to freeze it in ice cube trays and then you have a nice small cube or you can use more than one if necessary. Thanks for the reminder.

  17. Hi Heather! I agree, those bottled juice are awful.

    Anonymous, haven’t seen the frozen juice to buy here, but will look for it and check the label.

    Jamie, not weird at all! I love my freezer too. (Actually I have two freezers, maybe I’m the one who’s weird!)

  18. I’m so doing this. I’ve been increasingly better about making/freezing stock, breakfast and lunch burritos, casseroles, etc. I need to do this though, and increase other non-ready to eat supplies in my freezer. I love my freezer – is that weird? 😛

  19. nice! Minute Maid also makes frozen lemon (and I’m told lime, although I’ve never seen it) juice.

    My sister has a lot of food allergies and she’s able to use this pure juice.

  20. Great idea Kayln! The artificial lemon & lime juices are awful & should be stricken from the grocery shelves! And, like you pointed out, when in season, there's lots & at a good price. Cheers!

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