Look for a lime that:

  • Is firm and heavy in your hand for its size
  • Has a glossy, deep green skin with no yellow
  • Has no decay or mold
  • Isn’t hard or shriveled
  • Does not have a lot of brown

A lime that feels firm and heavy in your hand indicates that it probably has lots of juice. Yellow on the skin indicates that the lime may be overripe. Limes that are wrinkled, dull, or have hard spots may be overripe. A lime that is mostly brown may have “scald” and can taste bad.

As long as it doesn’t have mold, scald, or other evidence of spoilage, a lime does not need to perfectly meet all the criteria above to be edible or usable in a recipe. The closer it is to meeting these guidelines, however, the higher its quality should be.

After You Get Your Lime Home

An uncut lime should stay fresh for about one week at room temperature, and up to two weeks in a refrigerator. Store your limes out of the sunlight, as sunlight can change the color and alter the flavor. Cut lime pieces should be stored in the refrigerator.

The amount of juice you can get from a lime depends upon its size, age, and condition. For example, a hard and shriveled lime is probably old and won’t have a lot of juice. A lime that feels light in your hand will probably have less juice than one that feels heavy.

Most recipes that call for the “juice from one lime” are really calling for two tablespoons of lime juice, which should be the approximate yield for a lime that meets the criteria above

Freezing Limes

If you can’t use your limes right away, you can freeze the juice and/ or zest. Freeze lime juice in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to resealable freezer bags and return to the freezer. Freeze the zest in a piece of plastinc wrap or freezer bag from which all air has been removed. Use within three to four months for best quality.