How Long Can a Lemon Be Safe in Water?

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Use lemon slices to make lemon-infused water.
Use lemon slices to make lemon-infused water. (Image: Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Lemon and water is a natural pairing that makes water all the more delicious. This lightly flavored beverage is simple to create and can easily and safely be made in advance and stored in your refrigerator to have on hand. Store your lemon-infused water in a pitcher and enjoy the refreshing beverage whenever you want it.

Lemon Water Storage Basics

To get the longest storage time out of lemon and water, refrigerate it. When kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, lemon-infused water is safely stored for up to three days. Always use proper hygiene when making lemon water to prevent cross contamination, including washing your hands and using clean utensils. Cut lemons into slices or wedges and gently squeeze them before adding to a pitcher. Fill the pitcher with cool tap or filtered water, cover and refrigerate until ready for use.

Cleaning the Lemons

Lemons are typically coated with a thin layer of food-safe wax and other preservatives to help prevent the growth of mold and fungus during storage. Because of this, it is important you thoroughly clean a lemon before adding it to water or use organic lemons when using them to infuse water. Use a produce brush to thoroughly scrub the lemon under running water to remove its wax or pour just-boiled water over a lemon before scrubbing to more easily remove the film covering it. You can also peel the lemon.

Refilling Lemon Water

Because sliced lemons will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator, you can refill your water pitcher during this time period to make more lemon water. While the subsequent refills will not be as flavorful as the original, allowing the water to steep for longer will create a similar effect. Add more lemon slices to boost the flavor, but make sure you replace all the lemon slices and start again once three days from the original infusion have passed.

Lemon Water Tips

Store lemon-infused water in a tightly sealed glass or plastic jug, water bottle or other storage container with a lid. Allow lemon and water to sit, refrigerated, for at least two hours before serving for the most flavor. When making lemon-infused water, avoid using any lemons that are discolored, have soft spots or other indications of spoilage, as this can create off-tasting lemon water that will not last as long when stored refrigerated.

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