Freezing limes and other citrus fruit is a great way to ensure you always have them on hand for recipes, baking, and adding to drinks.
If you’ve ever found yourself throwing out moldy, unused limes (or slices you’ve put in the refrigerator and long forgotten about) then you’re definitely not alone.
Instead, why not freeze your limes? Limes can be frozen whole or sliced, and you can freeze the zest, too. When properly preserved, limes can be frozen for up to 12 months and will still add that zesty kick to your recipes or alcoholic beverages.
Not sure where to start? Follow our handy guide to find out the best ways to freeze and defrost limes.
How to freeze limes
There are a few different ways to freeze limes, and which is best for you largely depends on what you intend to use them for.
Limes can be frozen whole, sliced, zested, or even juiced - so why not have a supply of each on hand for all of your citrus needs?
Freezing limes whole
Freezing limes whole is great because it’s super quick to do, but also because it’s especially convenient if you intend to use the zest later on. You won’t need to defrost them to grate them, simply retrieve them from the freezer and grate as usual.
Simply place your limes in a freezer bag or container.
Squeeze as much air out of the freezer bag as possible, as this will reduce the risk of freezer burn and will lock in freshness.
Make sure your bag/container is tightly sealed.
Now place the bag in the freezer and you’re good to go.
Freezing lime zest
If you’ll be using your limes for the zest, you can also save yourself time later on by grating the zest and then freezing it. To do this, simply place the zest in an air-tight bag and put it in the freezer.
However, you should be aware that frozen zest can dry out quickly and lose its flavor, so it’s fine if you’re going to use it within a couple of months, but it’s best to grate the zest fresh if you can.
Freezing lime slices
For garnishing meals or decorating drinks, lime slices or wedges are your best bet. When freezing slices, ensure the wedges are at least a quarter of an inch thick, as if they're too thin they might just break.
Once you’ve cut the limes into wedges, place them on a tray with the peel-side facing down to reduce the risk of them sticking to the tray.
Place the tray in the freezer until the lime slices are frozen solid.
Once frozen, you can remove the wedges from the freezer and place them in a freezer bag while squeezing out any excess air.
Ensure the bag is sealed securely and place it in the freezer.
Freezing lime juice
You can also freeze lime juice. To do this, simply pour the lime juice into an ice cube tray and allow the cubes to set. Once they’re frozen, you can place the cubes in a freezer bag to keep them fresher for longer.
Alternatively, you can pour the juice directly into a freezer bag.
How to defrost limes
If you have time, the best way to defrost limes is to put them in cold water. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
To avoid losing lime juice and the fruit becoming saturated with water, you can place the freezer bag in a bowl of cold water, rather than the fruit itself.
If you’re short on time, you can put the lime or lime slices in the microwave for a few seconds, and we emphasize seconds, as otherwise, your lime will cook.
There’s also the option of running the limes under warm water for several minutes, but both of these methods are likely to soften the fruit slightly.
Factors to consider before freezing limes
Think about what you’ll be using the limes for before you freeze them in a certain way.
For example, freezing limes whole is fine for zesting or juicing, but if you intend to cut the lime and use it for drinks, it’s best to do this before freezing, as a whole lime may become mushy after being in the freezer.
It’s worth considering when you’re going to be using the limes and getting them out an hour or so before to defrost.
While there are some quick ways to defrost limes, the best way is to leave them in cold water as this keeps them fresher and firmer than methods that use heat or warm water.
Provided you freeze your limes correctly, they should last for about 12 months if frozen whole or in slices.
On the other hand, thinner slices or the zest of the lime loses its flavor much quicker, so it’s best to use these up within two months of freezing.
Other citrus fruits
If you want to mix it up, you can freeze other citrus fruits such as lemon in exactly the same way as limes.
Both are great to have a frozen supply of so you can add a zesty kick to any drink, recipe, or salad.
Limes are a great citrus fruit to have on hand, whether it’s to add flavor to a meal or use in drinks while entertaining friends. The great thing about them is not just how easy they are to freeze, but the myriad of ways you can freeze them.
Freeze limes whole, sliced, juiced, or zested, and store them for up to a year in the freezer. Defrosting is also a breeze - simply leave your bag of limes to soak in cold water or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds if you’re short on time.
They take minutes to prepare and require minimal space in your freezer, so next time you’re worried about using up a bag of limes before they start to decay, why not freeze them instead? We promise you’ll never look back!