Limes are always useful to have around. Perhaps you want to make a key lime pie or maybe you are having people over for drinks. A slice of lime complements a gin and tonic or maybe you want to make a soft drink out of your limes.
Yes, you can usually buy limes all year round but do you want to keep going to the grocery store just to buy a couple of limes? There might even be a sale on and you could get limes at half the price. So, what is the solution? That’s easy, freeze the limes for future use. However, you need to freeze them in the right way otherwise the flavor may be compromised. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze them and also how to defrost them.
Limes keep well in the freezer and when they are defrosted, they are just as fresh as when you put them in the freezer. Of course, if they have already started to deteriorate before you put them in the freezer, they are not going to become fresh again.
When you buy limes, you can expect to keep them for between one and two months in the fridge. However, if you freeze them, they can last for six months or even longer.
A Guide to Freezing Limes
You can freeze limes whole, in wedges or slices, as zest, or as juice.
- Freezing whole limes: Wash the fruit first and dry thoroughly. Then put them in a resealable plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. If you don’t, freezer burn could occur and your limes will dry out. It is a good idea to put a label on the bag saying when it was frozen. It’s easy to forget when you freeze items especially if you freeze a lot of things. Freezing whole limes can, however, make the limes a bit mushy so they are best used for cooking purposes rather than as an addition to a drink. You could also use them to make lime juice.
- Freezing lime wedges or slices: The best way to freeze slices or wedges is to flash-freeze them before you put them in the freezer. Put the lime slices into a bowl and place them in a bigger bowl filled with ice. If you have access to dry ice you can use this as an alternative. After 30 minutes, transfer the slices into a resealable plastic bag, mark the date, and then put in the freezer.
- Freezing lime zest: This is easy. Get a small freezer bag and put in the lime zest. Squeeze out as much air as you can to prevent freezer burn. As usual, mark the date frozen on the bag. If you have a vacuum sealer, seal the bag with this. It will take all the air out of the bag and this will mean that the flavor of your limes will be the same when they are defrosted.
- Freezing lime juice: Perhaps you have squeezed your limes and have more juice than you need. Don’t worry. You can freeze the juice (see also Can You Freeze Orange Juice?) you don’t want to use right away. The best thing to do is to freeze it in an ice cube tray. Each section of the tray should hold at least a tablespoon of lime juice. When you have done this, put the ice cube tray in the freezer. It is easy to just take out a cube at a time when you need it. An alternative is to put the frozen lime juice ice cubes into a resealable plastic bag. In a way, this is better as you can put the date frozen on the bag.
Defrosting Frozen Limes
When it comes to defrosting limes, it doesn’t take too long, certainly not as long as some food which can take 24 hours to defrost in the fridge. As with freezing, defrosting is done according to what you have frozen. These are our instructions.
- Defrosting whole limes: This is easy. All you have to do is put the limes into a bowl of cold water. Leave them in there for about 15 minutes and they should be ready to use. As we have said, they are best used in cooking or juiced.
- Defrosting lime wedges or slices: Take the freezer bag out of the freezer and put it into a bowl of cold water for between 10 and 20 minutes. You can feel it from time to time to see if they have defrosted. You can then use them in drinks, but it’s not advisable to keep them for too long as slices won’t keep their freshness for more than a couple of days.
- Defrosting lime zest and lime juice
All you have to do is take the lime zest out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Leave it there for two to three hours and it will be ready to use. However, if you are using it in a hot dish, you can just add it to the dish without defrosting. It would make a great addition to a Thai curry dish (see also How To Freeze Lemongrass)
The same goes for defrosting lime juice. You can either put the cubes in your fridge or you can directly add them to your hot dish.
Lime is better than most citrus fruits to store in the freezer so why not give it a go? If you have bought too many limes it is good to know that you can freeze the excess and not to have to worry about not having them when a recipe calls for a lime.