Preserving Citrus: Mastering the Art of Freezing Lemons

Can you freeze lemons? – The best way

Lemons are a versatile citrus fruit that can be used in a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory. However, lemons have a short shelf life and can go bad quickly, especially if left at room temperature. Freezing lemons is a great way to extend their shelf life and ensure that you always have this useful fruit on hand. In this article, we will explore the best methods for freezing lemons at different stages, including whole lemons, lemon slices, and lemon juice.

Why Freeze Lemons?

Lemons are not only delicious, but also packed with nutrients and minerals. They are known for their high vitamin C content and contain beneficial compounds such as limonoids, which act as antioxidants. By freezing lemons, you can preserve their nutritional value and have a convenient source of nutrients at your fingertips.

Preparing Lemons for Freezing

Before freezing lemons, it is important to prepare them properly to ensure optimal texture and potency. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Wash your hands: Start by washing your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water. Clean hands are essential when handling food to prevent the transfer of bacteria and toxins.
  2. Scrub the lemons: Use a brush, such as a toothbrush or vegetable brush, to scrub the lemons and remove any dirt or chemicals from the surface. Be sure to use the brush only for scrubbing food.
  3. Soak lemons in a vinegar solution (optional): To remove any pesticide residue, make a solution of 10% vinegar and 90% water. Soak the lemons in this solution for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wash the lemons: Rinse the lemons under cold running water, thoroughly washing every inch of the fruit.
  5. Dry the lemons: Use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to wipe off any water from the surface of the lemons. It is important to freeze dry lemons to prevent them from becoming wet and mushy when frozen.

The best ways to freeze lemons

There are several ways to freeze lemons, depending on whether you want to freeze them whole, in slices, or for juice. Here’s how to freeze lemons using each method:

Freezing Whole Lemons

  1. Scrub, soak, wash and dry the lemons according to the preparation steps above.
  2. Place 2-3 whole lemons per freezer bag. Label the bags with the freezer date.
  3. Seal bags tightly, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Place the bags in the freezer, making sure they are flat for easy stacking and storage.

Freezing lemon slices

  1. Cut lemons into slices or wedges, depending on your preference and use.
  2. Pre-freeze the lemon slices by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours until firm.
  3. Check that the lemon slices are frozen solid and do not release any juice when squeezed.
  4. Transfer the pre-frozen lemon slices to a freezer-safe bag, making sure they do not stick together.
  5. Seal the bag tightly, removing any excess air, and label with the best before date.

Freezing Lemon Juice

  1. Clean, scrub and wash lemons before slicing and juicing.
  2. Juice the lemons using a lemon juicer or by quartering and squeezing. Remove any seeds.
  3. Divide the lemon juice into 1-cup servings to keep track of your consumption and for accurate measurements in recipes.
  4. Pour the measured lemon juice into ice cube trays, noting the number of cubes per cup.
  5. Place the trays in the freezer and allow the lemon juice to completely freeze for about 2 hours.
  6. Remove the lemon juice ice cubes from the trays and transfer to a freezer-safe bag.
  7. Seal the bag tightly, removing excess air, and label with the freezing date.

Using frozen lemons

When you’re ready to use frozen lemons, here are some tips for each method:

  • Whole lemons: Thaw lemons in the refrigerator overnight or on the countertop for a few hours. Once thawed, they may be a little softer than fresh lemons, but can still be used in recipes that require juicing or zesting.
  • Lemon slices: Remove the desired number of slices from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for a few minutes. They can be used as a garnish for drinks or added to dishes while cooking.
  • Lemon Juice: Remove the desired number of lemon juice ice cubes from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The thawed lemon juice cubes can be used in recipes that call for fresh lemon juice.


Freezing lemons is a convenient way to extend their shelf life and have this versatile citrus fruit on hand at all times. Whether you choose to freeze whole lemons, lemon slices, or lemon juice, proper preparation and storage are key to maintaining their quality. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively freeze lemons and enjoy their tangy flavor and nutritional benefits in a variety of dishes and beverages.


Can you freeze lemons?

Yes, lemons can be frozen to extend their shelf life and preserve their nutritional value.

What is the best way to freeze lemons?

There are several ways to freeze lemons, depending on your preference. You can freeze them whole, sliced, or as juice, depending on how you plan to use them later.

Can frozen lemons be used to make juice?

Yes, you can use frozen lemons for juicing. Simply thaw the lemons in the refrigerator or at room temperature and they can be juiced just like fresh lemons.

How long will frozen lemons keep?

When properly stored in a freezer-safe bag or container, frozen lemons can be stored for up to 3-4 months without significant loss of quality or flavor.

Can I freeze lemon peel?

Yes, you can freeze lemon peel. Peel the lemons before freezing, then place the zest in an airtight container or freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for several months and used in recipes as needed.

Do frozen lemons lose any of their nutritional value?

Freezing lemons helps preserve their nutritional value, including vitamin C and other beneficial compounds. While there may be a slight decrease in freshness compared to fresh lemons, the overall nutritional content remains relatively unchanged.