Lemons are delicious and surprisingly good at cleaning, but if you buy more than you can use in one recipe — or one cleaning session — you'll want to preserve them properly to keep them nice and juicy. Even though they're high in citric acid, a natural preservative and bacteria-killer, they'll go bad just like the rest of your fruit.
Most people store lemons on the countertop, but, depending on the temperature of your home, they might dry out and start to discolor after only a week. Fortunately, you can extend your lemons' shelf life by keeping them cool and damp.
America's Test Kitchen tried out various ways to store whole lemons, including inside and outside of the refrigerator and with and without water, and discovered that the best way to keep whole lemons fresh for longer is to store them in the fridge, inside a zip-top bag, with no water in it. That will keep the moisture in there three to four times longer than it would on the countertop!
But what if you've already use part of the lemon, say, to clean the inside of your microwave? Or to dress a salad? Once you've cut your lemon into wedges, that pulp can lose moisture — meaning the useful, citric-acid filled juice — in just a few hours, so you want to seal them up as best as possible.
If you're planning to use the wedges in the next couple of days, wrap each wedge individually with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the pulp and squeezing out as much air as possible as you go. Toss them into a zip-top bag and place them inside your veggie drawer.
If you don't expect to use your lemon wedges within a few days, you'll want to freeze them. As before, wrap each wedge individually with plastic wrap, then place them inside a zip-top bag inside the freezer.
If you'd prefer not to use plastic wrap, you can seal your lemon wedges with water instead: Place one wedge into each cup of a muffin tin, cover with water, and stick in the freezer. When it's time to use a lemon wedge, pop it out and defrost it with lukewarm water. Then clean away!