globs forming in refrigerated fresh lime juice

Asked January 8, 2021, 1:16 PM EST

I have had a bottle of fresh lime juice in the refrigerator for a few months now. I noticed it has formed globs at the bottom of the bottle. Here are my questions:
1 - are those zoogleal masses?
2 - is the liquid still safe to use?

Thank you!
Karin K. Lightner

Polk County Oregon

1 Response

Hi Karin,

Thanks for the question. It is hard to know what the globs are in your lime juice without seeing them. Lime juice has a very low pH (around 2.0-2.5), so it is very unlikely spoil, but some molds can grow in juice (you would likely see these at the surface of the juice, not at the bottom). If you see visible mold growth, I would throw it out, it would taste terrible.

Citrus juices, like lime juice, are know for their "cloud" or haziness (you can't see through them). The "cloud" is not stable and these small pieces can "fall" out of solution - especially in juice that has not be heat treated (pasteurized). You mentioned that your juice was "fresh", so if this means that it was not heat treated, then it is very likely that enzymes in the juice destabilized the "cloud" and you are seeing this at the bottom of your juice (and the top liquid would be much clearer). The loss of "cloud" can also happen with heat treated juices, but it is less common. There is no safety issue with this, but the loss in texture and flavor of your juice will be noticeable.

Hope this helps. Thanks for using Ask an Expert.