How to Freeze Limes | The Best Way to Freeze Key Limes

Here are some tips on how to freeze limes to help preserve limes and make fresh citrus flavors available throughout the year.

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This post is all about how to freeze limes, including how to freeze key limes.

Early winter is citrus fruit season in many places, and it’s a good time to take advantage of buying and preserving fresh citrus to use during the year.

Although you can buy limes year round in many places, buying limes during the peak season can mean getting fresher, better tasting fruit. Sometimes you can even find in season fruit at lower prices.

Freezing limes can help preserve the flavor of limes that you purchase when they were in season. Freezing limes locks in the natural flavors of the fruit, allowing you to enjoy that fresh, seasonal taste even when limes are out of season.

Freezing limes, and other produce, can be a great way to extend the availability of seasonal produce and ensure you have flavorful limes for use in various recipes throughout the year.

The Different Kinds of Limes

There are three different types of limes that are commonly used in cooking around the world. Here are some descriptions of those limes and what they are used for.

Persian Limes

Persian limes, also known as Bearss limes and Tahiti limes, are among the most commonly found limes in U.S. supermarkets. Persian limes typically have a larger size, bright green color, and milder flavor than some other types of limes.

Persian limes are a versatile fruit with many uses. The fruit tends to be easy to squeeze with mildly acidic juice that is popular to use for making recipes that use limes, including homemade limeade and lime vinaigrette.

You can also use Persian lime juice to make marinade, add flavor to ceviche and guacamole.

Key Limes

Key limes, also known as Mexican limes or West Indian limes, are a smaller and rounder variety of limes compared to the more commonly found Persian limes.

The limes have a thin, smooth, greenish-yellow skin. Key limes are known for their distinct flavor—often described as more tart, aromatic, and complex than the larger Persian limes.

Key limes are commonly used to make desserts like key lime pie, as well as in beverages, dressings, and sauces. The small limes can also be used for adding a zesty kick to various dishes.

Makrut Limes

Makrut limes are known for their bumpy fruit and aromatic leaves. The fruit and leaves are often used to provide a citrusy, floral note in Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Thai and Indonesian cooking.

The leaves of makrut limes are especially known for having an intense citrus flavor. The leaves are often used to add flavor to curries, soups, and other dishes.

Makrut lime juice has a strong and distinctive flavor, so a little goes a long way when it comes to using the juice in recipes. More commonly, makrut lime leaves are used to flavor dishes. Carefully remove the tough stem or center rib from the lime leaves before using them.

Although makrut lime leaves are often used to impart flavor to dishes, the leaves themselves should not be eaten. Use makrut lime leaves sparingly, and remove the leaves before serving the dish.

The Benefits of Freezing Limes

Freezing limes can be beneficial for several reasons:

1—Freezing limes can help to extend their shelf life.

Freezing helps preserve limes, allowing you to keep them for an extended period without worrying about spoilage. Freezing helps to slow down enzymes and microbial processes that can cause the quality of limes to deteriorate.

2—It’s convenient.

Frozen limes are convenient for use in recipes, especially if you don’t need to use a whole lime at once. You can easily grab a few frozen lime slices or wedges as needed to use in recipes.

3—Frozen limes can be used for cooking and baking.

Frozen lime juice and lime zest can be used in cooking and baking. They work well in dishes that require lime juice or zest, like cakes, cookies, muffins, and pie.

Freezing limes is a practical way to reduce waste, maintain flavor, and have limes readily available for various recipes and purposes.

How to Freeze Limes

Here are some tips on how to freeze limes. Start with clean, fresh limes. You may want to use organic limes for zest.

To freeze lime slices or wedges:

1—Start with clean limes.

Wash the limes thoroughly to remove any dirt or residue from the fruit. Dry the limes with a clean towel.

2—Slice the limes.

Slice the limes into your desired shapes, whether it’s wedges, slices, or halves. If you want to collect lime zest, then zest or grate the limes prior to slicing them. Remove any and discard seeds from the limes before freezing.

3—Freeze the lime pieces.

Arrange the lime pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space between each lime piece.

Next, freeze the individual lime pieces to make them easier to handle. To do this, place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the lime pieces freeze individually for a few hours or until the lime pieces are solid.

4—Transfer the frozen lime pieces to a bag.

Once they are frozen, transfer the lime pieces into airtight freezer bags or containers. Label the bags or containers with the date and contents for easy tracking.

Store the frozen limes in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. To thaw the limes, place them in the refrigerator overnight.

To freeze lime juice:

Freezing lime juice is a simple process. Here are some tips on how to freeze lime juice. Start with clean, fresh limes.

1—Extract the lime juice.

Squeeze the limes to extract the juice. You can use a citrus juicer or simply squeeze the limes by hand. Strain the juice to remove the pulp and seeds.

2—Measure out lime juice portions .

Decide on the portion sizes that work best for your recipes—for example, if you typically use 2 tablespoons or ½ cup of lime juice to prepare recipes.

You can freeze lime juice in ice cube trays for small portions or use a larger container for bigger quantities. Use a measuring spoon to add lime juice to ice trays, or use a measuring cup to measure lime juice to add to containers.

3—Fill the containers or ice cube trays with lime juice.

Pour the lime juice into clean, airtight food storage containers or ice cube trays. Leave a bit of space at the top of the containers for the lime to expand as it freezes.

4—Cover and seal the containers .

Seal the containers or cover the ice cube trays with plastic wrap. Make sure the containers are airtight to help prevent freezer burn.

5—Label the containers.

Label the containers with the date, type, and quantity of lime juice. This helps you keep track of freshness and portion sizes.

6—Freeze the lime juice.

Place the containers or ice cube trays in the freezer. Allow the lime juice to freeze completely. To thaw lime juice, place the container in the refrigerator overnight.

7—Transfer the frozen lime juice to bags. (Optional)

Once the lime juice is frozen, you can transfer the lime juice cubes or container contents to a freezer bag for more efficient storage. This may help to free up space in your freezer, and make it convenient to keep lime juice to use in recipes.

Store the frozen lime juice in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. To thaw the lime juice, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, depending on the size of the cubes.

Frozen lime juice can be conveniently used in cooking, baking, and beverages whenever needed. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before incorporating it into your recipes.

—Notes on Storing Makrut Lime Leaves—

In some instances, you may have makrut lime leaves that you want to use as a seasoning in recipes.

Fresh makrut lime leaves can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Wash and dry the leaves before placing them in an airtight container to refrigerate.

Makrut lime leaves may be frozen, but the process of freezing can make the leaves brittle. Thaw the leaves before using them in recipes.

Makrut leaves are often dried for storage. If using dried Makrut lime leaves, then place the leaves in an airtight container to store. Label the container with the contents and place it in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cabinet.

— —

Freezing limes makes it possible to have convenient frozen limes or lime juice ready to use in beverages or recipes.

Here are a few more tips for freezing limes:

  • Use airtight containers or freezer bags to store frozen limes and lime juice. This can help to prevent freezer burn and maintain the quality of the limes.
  • Clearly label the containers and bags with contents and the date of freezing. This helps you keep track of how long the limes have been in the freezer.
  • Freeze individual lime pieces on a baking sheet before transferring them to containers. This prevents the lime pieces from sticking together, making it easier to grab the quantity of limes that you need.
  • If you enjoy using lime zest in your recipes—like cakes, pies, and breads, consider zesting the limes before slicing and freezing them. Freeze the lime zest separately in a sealed container.
  • Frozen limes are excellent for cooking, baking, and adding a burst of citrus flavor to various dishes. Thaw lime juice in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Once the lime juice is thawed, use it immediately in recipes for best results.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your frozen limes maintain their quality and are ready for use in a variety of recipes, from drinks to pies.

How to Freeze Key Limes

You can freeze key limes much like you would freeze regular limes, which is great when you want to preserve key lime juice and zest to use for making key lime pie and other recipes.

To help preserve key limes, follow the same steps that you would for freezing other types of limes: wash the key limes, slice them into your preferred shapes or juice the limes, remove any seeds, and then freeze the individual pieces on a baking sheet before transferring them to airtight freezer bags or containers, or place the lime juice in an airtight container to preserve.

Freezing key limes can be a convenient way to preserve their unique flavor for use in recipes, beverages, or desserts, especially when they are out of season.

To freeze key limes specifically for later use in making key lime pie, follow these steps:

1—Remove zest and juice the limes.

Remove the lime zest from the key limes, if desired, and store the zest in a freezer bag or airtight container. Next, juice the key limes to remove the juice for freezing. Extract the juice using a citrus juicer or by hand. Remove and discard any seeds from the juice.

2—Divide the key lime juice into portions.

Measure the key lime juice into the types of portions that you would typically use for a key lime pie recipe. This makes it easier when you’re ready to make the pie.

Typical portions may include common recipe ingredients measurements like 2 tablespoons, ¼ cup, or ½ cup of lime juice. Smaller portions can be frozen in ice cube trays.

3—Freeze the zest and lime juice.

Pour the measured key lime juice into ice cube trays or small, portioned containers. This allows you to freeze individual servings. Place the key lime zest into bags to freeze.

Tip: If using ice cube trays to freeze lime juice, cover the trays with plastic wrap or place the entire ice cube tray into a sealed plastic bag to prevent freezer odors from affecting the lime juice flavor.

4—Label the bags and containers.

Label the containers or trays with the contents, date, and the amount of juice in each compartment, container, or bag.

When you’re ready to make key lime pie, you can easily grab the frozen key lime juice cubes or portions, ensuring the freshest flavor possible for making a dessert using frozen key lime juice and zest. Allow the key lime juice thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Similar to other types of limes, freezing key lime juice can alter the texture, resulting in a slightly different taste due to the breakdown of cell structures in the lime juice. However, freezing key lime juice can still be a good way to have the lime juice to use for baking once key limes are out of season.

For best results, thaw the frozen key lime juice in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before using. Once it’s thawed, use the thawed key lime juice promptly to make pie or other key lime recipes.

This post was all about how to freeze limes, including tips on how to freeze key limes.

  • Featured title photo by Lisa Fotios / Pexels, with additional photo(s) by Amy Lynn Grover / Unsplash, Lucie Liz / Pexels, and Jessica Teixeira / Unsplash
  • Photos and images are for illustration purposes only.

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