How Long Do Limes Last and How to Tell if One Is Bad?

Here’s all about the shelf life of limes. Learn how long limes last depending on if you refrigerate them or not, and how to tell if a lime is bad.

Bought a bunch of limes and worried that some will go bad? How long do limes last, exactly?

The Short Answer

Whole limes typically keep for about a week at room temperature and 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. If you place them in a freezer bag, they can keep for an extra week or so. Cut limes last for only 3 to 4 days.

That’s the takeaway from this article if you’re in a hurry, but there’s a bunch more you can learn. Here’s what we cover below:

  • details on the shelf life of limes
  • where in your fridge should your limes sit
  • signs of spoilage

If you use limes to season meats, add zing to desserts, or even make refreshing summer drinks, there’s probably a thing or two you can learn about these fruits. Read on.

Lime in hand
Lime

How Long Do Limes Last?

 PantryFridge
Whole limes1 week3 – 4 weeks
Cut limes 3 – 4 days
Limes shelf life estimates

Fresh, whole limes will keep on the countertop for a week and up to about 2 weeks in a cold pantry. If you refrigerate them, the fruits should last about a month in good shape, and maybe even a couple of weeks more if you keep them in a sealed bag.

That means that whether you should refrigerate your limes or leave them on the counter in a fruit basket depends on when you’re using them. If you know you’ll use them soon, you can put them in that basket and call it a day. But if you need as much time as possible, refrigeration is the way to go.

One thing worth remembering is that lemons and limes often sit for a couple of days in the produce section in the grocery store before they get sold. So unless you know that what you’ve bought is fresh, be prepared that they might not keep good quality for the whole 4-week period.

(Pretty much the same can be said about the shelf life of oranges.)

If you need more time than the mentioned periods, consider freezing limes. Here’s my article on the topic: Can you freeze limes?

Sliced or Cut Limes

When it comes to cut or sliced limes, they only last 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Obviously, the better you take care of storing them, the longer they will retain freshness (more on that in the storage section).

Please note that limes won’t go bad right away after those few days, but will gradually dry out. And as you surely know, dried and withered limes are pretty much useless.

Lime halved
Lime halved

How to Tell If a Lime Is Bad?

Discard your lime if:

  • There’s visible mold. Limes typically go moldy after you cut them up, but if the rind is heavily bruised, it might grow mold too. If your notice any specs of mold, discard the fruit.
  • It’s super soft, shriveled, or slimy. Some softness is a good indicator that your lime is a bit on the older side, but that’s no reason to throw it out. But if the whole thing is super soft, shriveled, feels hollow, or the skin is wrinkly, it’s time for it to go.
  • Browned skin. If the peel has some large brown patches, chances are what you’ll see inside when you cut the fruit in half will be quite disappointing. Nevertheless, some browning here and there shouldn’t be a problem.
  • It’s cut and stored for more than 4 to 5 days. Cut limes, like all other cut fruit, don’t last that long, so if yours crosses that 4- or 5-day mark, it’s time to get rid of it.

The rind of a fresh lime is bright green and somewhat firm, so if the changes you see are quite significant, the lime might already be past its prime.

Given that the fruit isn’t dried out on the outside, cut it open and see what’s inside. If it was stored for a long time, the rind might look okay, but the flesh could be somewhat dry. If that’s the case, it’s up to you to choose if you want to use the fruit or not.

How to Store Limes

Main article: How to store limes?

To give yourself a head start, choose the best limes available. When buying limes at your local supermarket, always choose ones that are just ripened or at the peak of freshness.

They should be of uniform lime color and somewhat firm to the touch. Avoid limes with bruised or mushy parts as well as ones that are turning brown or have brown spots.

Once you get home with limes, it’s time to decide how you store them. If you expect to use all of them within a week, it’s okay to leave them on the countertop or keep them in the pantry. Just place them in the fruit basket, and you’re good to go.

Like with most fruits, such as pineapples, the fridge is the best place to store limes. If you want to keep things simple, you can just transfer the fruits into the vegetable drawer, or put them there in the plastic bag you brought them in.

If you want to store limes for even longer, put the limes in a freezer bag, squeeze as much air out and seal it tightly. The tight seal keeps the moisture in the limes, so they last even longer without drying out. The same trick works for lemons.

Related: How to store lemons?

Store lime halves upside down
Store lime halves upside down so that they don’t dry that fast.

When it comes to sliced or cut limes, you should keep them in the fridge, no questions asked. An airtight container or a freezer bag will make sure the fruit doesn’t dry out quickly.

When storing lime cuts or slices, try to set it up in a way the flesh of the fruit is pressed against the surface of the container or bag. This way it doesn’t have access to air, and that slows down drying out. Or use one of those silicone food savers.

If you’ve already juiced your limes, refrigerate the juice you extracted.

Related: How long does lime juice last?

Halved lime in a silicone food saver
Halved lime in a silicone food saver