It is indisputable that fresh lemons and limes add an abundance of vibrant flavor to a dish, but unfortunately, these citrus fruits are not inexpensive. In order to ensure that you get every last drop of juice out of a lemon (or lime), I have compiled a list of some of the tips and tactics I use while juicing citrus fruits.
Choose Ripe Lemons
It’s possible that this stage is the easiest, but depending on the time of year and where you live, it could also be the most challenging. Checking the freshness of lemons before making a purchase is essential since unripe lemons that are extremely firm will not likely yield very much juice, no matter what.
Give the lemons a gentle twisting motion. When fully ripe and juicy, a lemon will have a little weighty feel and only very slightly yield when squeezed. If it has lost its firmness, it has most likely passed its prime. It is possible that a very light lemon will be dry or have a thick pith in addition to having less juice. Check that the peel has a great gloss and brilliant yellow color. The lemon should never have a wrinkled or drab appearance.
This part of the process is what I like to call the “pre-squeeze.” Before you cut into the lemon, you should roll it with some pressure on the tabletop first. This breaks apart some of the membranes in the lemon before cutting it, making the juice easier to extract and more accessible.
To begin, place the lemon in the microwave for twenty to thirty seconds before beginning to cut it open. This has the same effect as rolling the lemon in that it causes some of the membranes within to burst and release their juice. This is comparable to the impact that rolling the lemon has. In addition, a squeeze made from a warm lemon is much easier to perform than one made from a cold lemon.
I like to “ream” the inside of the lemon after first giving it a quick squeeze by hand and then slicing the lemon in half so that I can access both halves. Although there are implements specifically designed for this task, I have found that a large spoon serves the purpose just as well. Simply place the spoon in the middle of the lemon that has been cut in half and turn it. This compresses whatever membranes that might still be present, thereby releasing every last drop. And then, after reaming, give it one more good squeeze.
Freezing the lemons is yet another option to consider in the event that you have some lemons that are very dry. After being frozen, the lemon will be exceptionally soft and juicy since practically all of the membranes on the inside of the fruit will have been ruptured. It is a good idea to freeze any leftover lemons that you intend to use for zesting or juicing so that you may utilize them later.
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