Easy ways to freeze limes for later

Fresh limes and lime leaves

Do you have a lime tree producing so many limes you don’t know what to do with them all? Or have you bought a bulk bag from the store and don’t want them to go to waste? You’ll be happy to know that yes, you can freeze fresh limes. Make sure none of your fresh citrus goes to waste with these easy freezing tips.

fresh lime on tree

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Which types of limes to freeze

You can freeze most varieties of lime (and other types of citrus fruits like lemons too). It really comes down to what you want to use the limes for in the future.

If you grow and use Tahitian limes (Persian limes) or key limes (Mexican or West Indian limes) in your cooking, then these are perfect to freeze for their juice.

Kaffir limes are more bitter and therefore not as popular for juice. However, kaffir lime leaves and zest – often used in cooking and curries – freeze well.

Can you freeze whole limes?

Yes, you can freeze whole limes! Be aware that they will soften after freezing, so will be suitable for recipes that don’t need firm, fresh fruit.

Choose whole limes without any cuts or soft spots in the skin. Make sure that you wash the limes first and pat dry. If they are store bought, it’s important to wash well to remove any waxy coating.

Place your limes in a freezer safe bag and squeeze out any air before sealing tight. Label the bag with the date so you can keep track of when to use your frozen limes.

Limes in green and blue bowl with lime slices on tray ready to freeze

Freeze limes in slices or wedges

Do you love slice of lime in your water or refreshing drinks? Freezing slices of lime is a great way to go. You’ll always have slices of lime to add to your drinks, and the bonus is you don’t need to thaw them first. Add a frozen slice to your drink and it will also cool it just like ice.

Don’t just slice your limes and place straight into a bag. They’ll stick together and be too difficult to separate if you just want to use one or two.

To freeze lime slices, cut your slices with a sharp knife and place on a baking sheet lined with non stick baking paper or silicon to prevent sticking. Place the tray in the freezer for a few hours to freeze the lime slices. Once firmly frozen, carefully remove and place into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Again, label and date your bag or container so you know when to use the slices by.

If you prefer lime wedges, these can be frozen in the same way. Slice and pre-freeze on a tray before removing into a freezer safe bag or container.

Easy way to freeze lime juice

Freezing just the lime juice is my favourite way to save limes for later.

You can use any type of citrus juicer for this, but if doing a large batch of limes I’d recommend one that strains the seeds and pulp and collects the clear juice. You can read more about juicers in my post about choosing the best citrus juicer for home cooks.

Simply juice your limes and then pour the juice in to a clean ice cube tray. Depending on the size of your ice cubes, one tablespoon of lime juice per cube works well. This also makes it easier to defrost just as much juice as you need for all your favourite recipes.

Place the ice cube tray into the freezer for at least 3 hours until the juice is frozen. Then empty the lime juice cubes into an airtight freezer bag or container. Don’t forget to label and date.

Next time you are cooking and need some fresh lime juice, you can just grab as many cubes (conveniently pre-measured into tablespoons) as you need!

bowl of limes, lime juicer, juice in ice cube tray and chopping board

Can you freeze lime zest?

If you have frozen whole limes, you can still use these for zest. In fact, it can be easier to grate or zest a lime when it is frozen.

What about lime that has already been zested? Yes, you can can also freeze the zest. Make sure to pat dry to remove excess moisture before freezing in an airtight freezer bag for up to 6 months.

I personally find that frozen lime skin and zest dries and tends to lose flavour after the 3 month mark. So it’s better to use it sooner rather than later.

Remember that if you are zesting store bought limes, it’s a good idea to remove any citrus fruit wax first.

How to freeze kaffir lime leaves

Kaffir lime leaves freeze very well. It’s a great way to ensure you always have a store of leaves on hand for all your delicious curries.

Select good leaves without blemishes, wash and pay dry to remove excess moisture. (This is important so they don’t stick together). Then pop your leaves in to an airtight freezer bag or container. Zip lock bags work well. Make sure you label and date your container.

How long do frozen limes last in the freezer?

You may have heard that frozen limes can keep for up to 12 months. However, I think that is really too long. The skin/rind will start to dry out once frozen. It’s really better to use frozen limes within 3-6 months.

Frozen slices and wedges are best used with 6 months too, and frozen zest should be used even sooner if possible.

Frozen Kaffir lime leaves and frozen line juice do keep well and can be kept for up to 12 months.

Defrosting limes

The best way to thaw frozen limes is by leaving them in the fridge overnight to thaw slowly. If you do need your lime in a hurry, you can carefully thaw in the microwave using the ‘defrost’ function. It’s best to stop the microwave and check every 30 seconds or so to make sure you don’t overheat or cook your lime.

Slices and wedges can be defrosted the same way (or used still frozen in drinks if you prefer).

Zest and leaves can be used frozen or thawed either in the fridge or at room temperature. Lime juice can be thawed the same way or defrosted by a short burst using your microwave defrost function.

Make sure you use your thawed limes soon after defrosting. They will last around 1-3 days in the fridge if you need, but are best used straight away.

More about limes

There are lots of ways to enjoy fresh limes. Why not make a small batch of lime marmalade? Or use lime juice in our citrus fruit salad with vanilla cardamom syrup.

If you grow your own limes, read about some common problems including citrus gall wasp and citrus leaf miner.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any of our tips for growing and cooking with limes.

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