Can You Eat Lemons With Brown Spots?

Lemons are delicious and healthy fruits that can be enjoyed differently. However, sometimes you may find a lemon with brown spots on it.

lemon tree
Lemon tree. Credit: canva

Can you eat lemons with brown spots? Yes! As long as the spots aren’t infected and don’t penetrate the flesh of the lemons.

In this blog post, we will discuss what causes the brown spots on lemons and what conditions make them suitable or unsafe to eat. 

Can You Eat Lemons with Brown Spots?

Yes! As long as the spots aren’t infected and don’t penetrate the flesh of the brown lemons. 

The brown spots may be caused by citrus greening disease or citrus rust mites, which are harmless but unsightly.

It’s also possible that the spots were caused by an insect such as a mealybug.

Lemons with brown spots are still edible, but they must be vigorously scrubbed and washed thoroughly before consumption.

Sunburn can also cause lemons to develop brown spots. The fruit will usually recover if the sunburn is not too severe, but the lemon may lose its flavor.

However, if you notice that your lemon is mushy or has soft brown spots, you should throw it away. 

Is it safe to eat lemons with black spots?

The answer is likely a yes unless the dark spots penetrate the flesh. Brown flesh inside a lemon indicates a problem with the fruit. 

If you peel the fruit and the fruit seems fine, you can probably eat it. 

What happens if you eat rotten lemons?

Eating bad lemons could lead to stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue.

The symptoms usually appear within 24 hours of eating the contaminated product.

What Causes Brown Spots on Lemon?

The Most Common Causes for Lemon’s Brown Spots

fungus rust on lime
Fungus rust on lime. Credit: canva

Phytophthora fungus

Phytophthora fungus is one of the most common causes of brown spots on lemons.

The fungal diseases infect the lemon trees through the roots and spread to the fruit. The fungal infection can cause the lemon’s skin to turn brown, and eventually, the fruit will rot.

Citrus rust mites

Citrus rust mites are tiny pests that feed on the lemon’s skin. This feeding causes the skin to turn brown and can eventually lead to deformities in the fruit.

Moisten your thumb and rub it vigorously across the fruit several times to double-check. If the black spot does not come off, it is mites. Sooty mold will rub off if it does.

Citrus rust mites are so tiny they can barely be seen with the naked eye. The skin may be damaged, but the fruit will almost always mature properly, perhaps smaller, and the pulp and juice will still be good to eat.

Citrus greening disease, caused by Candidatus liberibacter bacteria. Credit: canva

Citrus greening disease

Lemon with brown spots can be caused by citrus greening disease.

It is caused by a bacterial pathogen called Candidatus Liberibacter spp., which was discovered in Florida in 2005.

The bacterium is spread through infected plant material, including seeds, lemon tree leaves, and fruits.

Symptoms include small brownish lesions on the citrus leaf, stem, or fruit surface. The fruit is still good to eat but is less sweet than usual.

Fruit production decreases dramatically.

mealybug on citrus tree
Mealybug on a citrus tree. Credit: canva


A mealybug infestation can result in the appearance of brown spots on the rinds of the fruit. These spots are usually found on the lower half of the fruit.

The sugary honeydew secreted by citrus mealybugs falls on the leaves and fruits below, resulting in the growth of sooty mold.

In addition to its unsightly appearance, sooty mold may degrade fruit quality.

Fruits with brown spots caused by mealybug are good to eat, but they require vigorous scrubbing and should be washed thoroughly before consumption.


Sunburn can also cause lemons to develop brown spots.

The fruit will usually recover if the sunburn is not too severe, but the lemon may lose its flavor.

How Long Can Lemons Last Before They Go Bad

Lemons have a very long shelf life if kept properly. Limes can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four weeks if stored in a plastic bag.

Their shelf life is reduced to around a week when kept at room temperature.

Lemons can be frozen whole, sliced before frozen or frozen in their juice. When frozen, a whole lemon will retain its flavor for approximately three to four months.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice will be kept for a few days in the refrigerator.

Commercially bottled lemon juice, on the other hand, can be kept for months in the refrigerator. They include preserving chemicals that will last several months if unopened.

How to Tell if Lemon is Bad?

Lemons can last a while if kept properly. However, it’s essential to understand how to tell whether lemon has gone bad so that you don’t become ill.

Here are a few telltale signs that determine whether they’re genuinely spoilt.

The looks

When shopping for lemons, look at them carefully before taking possession of them.

You want to ensure they aren’t spotted with brown mushy spots, have white mold on the rind, or are shriveled. Moldy lemons are not suitable to eat.

However, if the lemon has taken on a bright green color (almost like a lime), this is likely because of temperature changes, not as a sign of the lemon gone bad. 

A new lemon should have smooth skin glossy rind with a lovely bright yellow color. Minor flaws in the skin are acceptable as long as they don’t cut into it.

The feels

If you find that your lemon is mushy or has a soft brown spot, it’s time to toss it out. Lemons are usually heavier than they appear and have a smooth rind.

When you see whether or not your lemons are bad, you need them to be firm, not soft. This is an excellent method of determining if your lemons are good.

The smells

If your lemons are fresh, you shouldn’t notice any odor before cutting into one. Your lemons are likely rancid if you detect a moldy or fermented odor.

They should be discarded if you detect a more pungent vinegary odor after cutting into them.

Lemon. Credit: canva

What Can You Use Lemon with Brown Spots for?

You can use fresh lemons and those that may have just started going bad for many household-cleaning.

  • Lemons are a natural disinfectant and can clean surfaces, refresh laundry, or remove stains.
  • To use lemon for cleaning, cut the lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut side. Rub the lemon on the surface you wish to clean, and then rinse with water.
  • Add half a lemon juice to a load of whites in the washing machine for laundry.
  • For stains, rub the juice of a lemon on the stain and then wash as usual.
  • Lemons can also be used to freshen up your garbage disposal. Cut a lemon in half and run it through the disposal. Doing this once a week will help keep your disposal smelling fresh.

What is a Lemon?

It is oval and has yellow skin covered in tiny bumps. The inside of the lemon is filled with juicy, acidic flesh and seeds.

Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants, making them a healthy choice for your diet. They can be enjoyed fresh, juiced, or used in cooking.

Benefits of lemon

It has a high concentration of vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system.

Lemons are also high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. All of these nutrients are important for keeping your body healthy.

The acidic nature of lemons makes them beneficial for treating various health conditions. They can be used to help with indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.

Lemons are also thought to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This means that they can help fight against infections.

What are the side effects of lemon?

The possible adverse effects of lemon differ based on how much you consume. Lemons are acidic and can induce gastric issues if you eat too many.

Lemon juice can irritate the skin if applied topically. It’s best to avoid getting lemon in your eyes since this might cause discomfort.

How to use lemons

lemon pepper chicken
Lemon pepper chicken ingredients. Credit: canva

Use the skin for zesting:

Be careful not to remove any white pith beneath the zest, as this can make your dish bitter.

Use lemon for cooking.

You can use whole lemons in cooking. Or you can chop the lemon slices and add them to dishes like salads, pasta, rice, and vegetables.

Save the lemon juice for lemon water.

Lemon water is a great way to start your day. Not only does this help to hydrate you, but fresh lemon juice can also help boost your metabolism.

Use lemon juice to combat age spots.

Lemon juice can be a natural remedy for age spots and clearing away dead skin cells. The citric acid and vitamin C in lemon make it the perfect natural bleaching agent. 

Apply the lemon juice to the affected area with a cotton ball and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse it with cold water and repeat this process daily until the age spots fade.

Some people also say you can treat skin discoloration and acne with lemon.

Make a DIY cleaner with lemon juice.

Lemon juice can also be used to make a DIY cleaner. Combine the juice of half a lemon with one cup of water and use it to clean your kitchen counters, stovetop, or any otherIt’sface that needs a little TLC.

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