While people do not need to refrigerate citrus fruits, doing so can help the fruit last a little longer than usual. Many citrus fruits, however, may become less juicy when stored in the refrigerator. Fruit stored in the refrigerator also may get some minor blemishes on the rind and it is more susceptible to mold. To avoid these problems, it is important to refrigerate citrus fruits properly.
Normally, citrus fruit can be stored at room temperature or in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry. This type of fruit will typically last up to a week when stored this way. To prolong this time, you can refrigerate your citrus fruit.
If you refrigerate citrus fruits, they will generally last much longer than if they were sitting out. Typically, fruit kept this way will last a few weeks longer. In some cases, it may even last a couple of months longer. This option is best if you have a large quantity of fruit that will not be eaten within a week after acquiring it.
Although they will usually last longer, you may run into a few problems when you refrigerate citrus fruits. If you prefer juicy fruit, you should not refrigerate citrus fruit, since colder citrus fruit often contains less juice. For this reason, experts recommend you allow the fruit to warm up to room temperature before making fresh-squeezed citrus juice, like orange juice or lemonade. This can be done by removing the fruit from the refrigerator several hours before juicing it.
Small blemishes may also appear on the fruit peels, or rinds, if you refrigerate citrus fruits. These discolored spots are usually harmless and will not influence the taste of the fruit. If they are troubling, however, these spots can be removed prior to consumption.
Mold is another common problem associated with refrigerating this type of fruit. When you refrigerate citrus fruit, it tends to become moldy quickly. This can spread very quickly from one piece of fruit to another, so any fruit stored in the refrigerator should be examined daily. This mold usually occurs when the fruit has not been stored properly.
Citrus fruit should never be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or plastic bag. Instead, to promote air circulation and prevent mold, it should be kept in a mesh bag when kept in the refrigerator. Additionally, you should refrain from washing the fruit before storing it, since any excess moisture can also make the fruit more susceptible to mold.