The #1 Way To Prevent Lemons From Molding Too Quickly

A food expert shares one easy trick to prevent your lemons from molding too quickly. Hint: Don't leave them on your kitchen counter. Do this instead.

The #1 Way To Prevent Lemons From Molding Too Quickly
Lemons on a white plate
Simply Recipes / Adobe

One thing you’ll almost always find in my kitchen is a big bowl of lemons. With infinite culinary uses, from a wedge in my morning tea to a squeeze on my favorite salmon recipe, nothing brings that acidic zing quite like a fresh lemon.

There's only one problem: As chic as lemons look in a pretty bowl on the counter, I often discover that they go soft or sometimes even (gasp!) moldy at the bottom of the pile. Is there a better way to store my beloved citrus? I turned to the experts to up my lemon storage skills.

Where Is the Best Place To Store a Lemon?

According to Vanessa King, MS, RDN, CNSC, NBC-HWC, if you want your lemons to last as long as possible, keep them in the crisper in your fridge; even better, in a sealed bag in the crisper. There, they’ll last three weeks to one month. Cut lemons should also be kept in the fridge, and will also last longer if stored in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. 

Also, be sure you’re storing your lemons away from any other fruits that are currently ripening. “Produce that gives off ethylene gas, for example, apples, melons, and bananas, will speed up the ripening of other nearby produce, like lemons, that are sensitive to ethylene," warns King.

Not ready to give up your bowl of lemons as decor? If you’d like to store the citrus at room temperature, be sure to store them away from sunlight. Again, be sure not to store them around other ripening fruits, and they can last up to two weeks on your counter.

Lemon Curd Recipe lemons in a bowl
Alison Conklin

Can You Freeze Lemons?

Kept whole or cut in slices, lemons can keep up to four months in the freezer. King also suggests freezing lemon juice in ice cube trays for up to four months. Conveniently you can pop a cube out for your next lemon vinaigrette!

Even lemon zest can be kept frozen for up to three months. Be sure to keep it in an airtight resealable bag or freezer-safe container.

How To Select the Freshest Lemons at the Store

For the freshest, longest-lasting fruit, King suggests picking lemons that are a vibrant yellow and firm to the touch. Look out for lemons displayed on refrigerated shelving. They’ll last longer in your kitchen than the ones that are displayed at room temperature at the grocery store.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake - whole cheese cake with lemon curd on top and someone is about to take a slice out of it
Cindy Rahe

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make...