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How To Tell If A Lemon Is Bad

When life gives you lemons… make lemonade! Just like the saying goes, use up those lemons before they go bad.

Lemons can last a while depending on how you store them but knowing how to tell if a lemon is bad is good to know so that you do not get sick.

You want to look for blemishes on the outside, white mold, mushy or shriveled are all indicators of a bad lemon.

bunch of lemons

Knowing how to tell if a lemon is bad is easy. If lemons have brown spots on them or feel mushy then they are bad. Or if they are oozing or growing white mold on them your lemons have gone bad.

Ways to tell if lemons are bad

There are so many different ways to use lemons. They are so versatile that they can be used in a savory dish, sweet treat, beverages and more.

If you went out and bought a whole bag of them you might be wondering how you will know when they have gone bad or spoiled. Here are a few easy tell tale signs that will tell you if they are indeed spoiled or not.

1. How the lemon looks

Look over your lemons when you buy them and before you use them. You want to make sure that they don’t have brown mushy spots, white mold on the rind or shriveled looking.

A fresh lemon should have a smooth shiny rind with a nice bright yellow color. Small blemishes are ok as long as they haven’t cut into the rind.

2. How it feels

If you notice that your lemon is mushy or has soft brown spots on it then you should throw them away. Typically lemons are heavier than they look for their size and have a smooth rind.

You want your lemons to be firm not soft when you are checking if your lemons are bad or not. This is a good way of checking lemons when you are buying them.

3. How the lemon smells

Before you cut into a lemon there shouldn’t be much of a smell if your lemons are fresh. If you smell a moldy or fermented smell then that is a great indicator that your lemons have gone bad.

Once you cut into them if you smell a more vinegary smell then you should throw them away.

How long lemons can last before they go bad

Room TemperatureRefrigerator
Fresh lemons1 month2 months
Cut lemons1-3 hours2-3 days
Fresh lemon juice1-3 hours2-3 days
Bottled lemon juice1 hour4-6 months

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