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How To Store Citrus Fruits

Ever wondered how to make your citrus last longer? I know, there’s nothing more disappointing than reaching for a zesty orange or a tangy lime, only to find it’s gone all soft and sad.

Well, today, we’re going to dive into the wonderful world of citrus, and I’m going to share all my secrets to keeping them fresher for longer.

Variety of citrus fruits o a white wash wood table.

Ways to store citrus fruit


Store citrus fruits in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Unwashed citrus fruits can be stored at room temperature for a few days. To prolong shelf life, store in a single layer in a sealed bag or container.


If you’re planning to use your citrus within a week, storing them on the countertop is your best bet. It’s convenient and keeps your fruits within easy reach.

Plus, citrus can add a pop of color to your kitchen! Just ensure that they’re not squished together too tightly; citrus fruits need a little breathing room.

The trick here is to let the air circulate freely around each fruit. This will keep your citrus in good shape, ready for your next zesty dish or refreshing drink.


If you’ve got a big bag of citrus, then the fridge is your friend. The chillier environment slows down the ripening process, giving your citrus a longer shelf life.

It also keeps them juicy and delicious! To maximize their freshness, store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge if you can.

This drawer is specially designed to control moisture levels, helping to keep your fruits happy and prolong their life.


For those who lack fridge space or prefer a different storage method, a ventilated basket or mesh bag can work wonders for your citrus fruits.

Storing citrus fruits in a cool, dark spot can prevent mold growth, extending their life significantly.

The basket or mesh bag allows for good airflow, which is key to maintaining citrus freshness.

How to store cut or zested citrus?

So, what happens when you’ve used half a lemon or zested a lime? Easy! Simply squeeze a bit of its own juice over the cut surface and wrap it tightly in cling wrap or place it in an airtight container.

Then, pop it into the fridge where it should stay fresh for about a week.

Types of citrus fruits

From tangy lemons to juicy grapefruits, there are so many types of citrus fruits to enjoy. Here are just a few of the most common ones you might come across:

  1. Oranges: Sweet and ideal for juicing or eating out of hand.
  2. Lemons: Sour and perfect for adding a zesty twist to your dishes and drinks.
  3. Limes: A bit more bitter than lemons but great for cooking and cocktails.
  4. Grapefruits: Can be sweet or sour and are delicious in salads or on their own.
  5. Tangerines: Smaller and sweeter than oranges, these are perfect for a quick snack.

What to consider when storing citrus fruits

When storing citrus, consider how soon you’ll use them and the temperature of your storage space. As we learned earlier, countertop storage is fine for short-term use, but for longer storage, the fridge is your friend.

Remember to always store your citrus in a well-ventilated area to prevent mold growth.

Ways to use up citrus

Got too much citrus on hand? No problem! Here are some great ways to use them up:

  1. Juicing: Freshly squeezed citrus juice is always a treat.
  2. Zesting: Zest adds a pop of flavor to baked goods and savory dishes.
  3. Preserving: Try your hand at making marmalade or preserved lemons.
  4. Freezing: Freeze juice or zest for later use.

How to know if citrus fruit is fresh

Picking fresh citrus fruits is a sensory experience. When you hold a piece of citrus fruit, it should feel firm and weighty, indicating a high juice content. For example, how can you tell if grapefruit is ripe?

Visually, fresh citrus will have a vibrant and even color, a real feast for the eyes! When you give it a gentle squeeze, the skin should bounce back, a sign of its freshness.

Steer clear from fruits that have any cuts, soft spots, or mold, as they’re likely past their prime. And remember, a citrus fruit’s skin should be aromatic, releasing a fresh, zesty scent when lightly scratched.

Here are fruit posts to help identify if your citrus fruits have gone bad:

Freezing citrus fruits

The great thing about citrus is its versatility, even when it comes to storage! Freezing citrus fruits is not only possible, but it’s also a great way to extend their shelf life and reduce waste.

For the best results, squeeze out the juice and freeze it in ice cube trays. These citrus cubes are perfect for adding a tangy twist to your drinks or dishes.

Once frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for more convenient storage. But don’t stop at the juice – the zest can be frozen too!

Simply grate the outer peel before freezing. Frozen zest is a fabulous flavor booster in your cooking or baking.

Benefits of storing citrus Ffruits

Storing your citrus fruits properly can save you money, reduce food waste, and ensure you always have a zesty treat on hand. Plus, properly stored citrus tends to retain more of its healthy vitamins and antioxidants.

How long do citrus fruits last?

The shelf life of citrus fruits can vary depending on the specific type of fruit and storage conditions.

At room temperature, citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges usually last about one week. If stored properly in the refrigerator, they can last up to two to three weeks.

However, always check your fruits for signs of spoilage like soft spots, discoloration, or an off smell. It’s important to remember that these timelines can vary based on the freshness of the fruit when you bought it.

Frequently asked questions about how to store citrus fruits

While it’s not common, you can freeze whole citrus fruits. However, they may become mushy once thawed due to their high water content. For a better outcome, consider freezing the juice or zest instead.

If you’ll consume your citrus fruits within a week, storing them on the countertop is fine. For longer storage, use the fridge, specifically the crisper drawer if possible, to maintain freshness for up to three weeks.

Fresh citrus fruit should be firm and have a vibrant color. If it has soft spots, an off smell, or shows signs of mold, it’s likely spoiled and should be discarded.


With these tips, you’ll be a citrus-storing pro in no time. Whether you’re a fan of oranges, lemons, or any other citrus fruit, proper storage is the key to enjoying your favorites for longer.

So, next time you find yourself with a bunch of limes or a bag of grapefruits, you’ll know just what to do.

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