This Hack Makes Juicing Lemons So Easy
Apparently, knowing how to juice a lemon is as simple as poking a hole in the fruit. But does this zesty hack actually work?
Lemons are one of those ingredients that we can’t live without. They’re an easy way to brighten up a heavy dish like stew, their juice is essential for salad dressings or marinades and we love the sweet-and-tangy vibe they bring to lemon desserts. The only problem with lemon juice is that extracting it is a little messy. Things can get sticky after you cut one in half, and any leftovers are likely to dry out in the fridge.
We know about an easier way to juice a lemon by tossing the whole thing into the food processor, but that method still requires knives and strainers. So when we saw Hoda Kotb try to show Jenna Bush Hager a viral TikTok hack on The Today Show that promises to juice a lemon with nothing more than a barbecue skewer, we were intrigued.
Does This Lemon Hack Work?
To our complete and total amazement, this hack works! Poking a tiny hole in a lemon resulted in a thin stream of lemon juice that was free from seeds. Our hands, cutting boards and knives were clean, and we didn’t need to use a citrus reamer or strainer. The best part: Because we only poked a tiny hole in the lemon, we were able to preserve the leftovers without them drying out. We stored the rest of the lemon in an airtight bag and popped it in the fridge for access to fresh lemon juice all week long.
Unfortunately, the hack didn’t work as well with grapefruits, oranges or limes. The grapefruits were too large to squeeze, the oranges too soft and the lime too dense. But the lemons were just right, making them the Goldilocks winner of this incredible hack.
How to Juice a Lemon Without Cutting It
- A lemon
- A clean skewer, knitting needle, chopstick or similar
Step 1: Roll the lemon
Roll the lemon on the counter or cutting board. You don’t need to use a ton of force here, just enough to loosen the membranes inside the lemon and release the juices.
Step 2: Poke a hole in the lemon
Using the skewer, poke the non-stem end of the lemon—the side that pops out a little bit. Push the skewer in at least an inch into the lemon. Be careful not to poke the skewer all the way through the lemon and poke your hand!
Step 3: Squeeze and be amazed
Turn the poked side of the lemon towards a bowl and squeeze to create a thin stream of lemon juice. Keep squeezing until you have enough juice.
You should get about two to three tablespoons of juice from a medium-sized lemon. Of course, a bigger lemon will yield more juice, and a smaller lemon, less.
Step 4: Store the leftover lemon
Place the lemon in an airtight bag and store it in the refrigerator if it still has juice to give. Pull it out and give it a squeeze the next time you need a little lemon juice.
Tips for Juicing Lemons
How do you choose the best lemons for juicing?
Getting the most juice from a lemon starts with picking the best lemons at the grocery store.
First, you’ll want to look for lemons that are bright yellow with no green spots. Then, you’ll test for firmness: Give them a (light) squeeze and there should be a little give. You don’t want the lemons to be hard!
Plus, by testing their firmness, you’ll also be able to get an idea of how thick the lemon’s skin is. Thinner skin is better for juicing, while thicker lemon skin is better for zesting.
After you’ve considered color and firmness, pick up a few lemons of comparable size. Pick the one that’s heaviest, because it’ll have the most juice.
Does microwaving a lemon make it easier to juice?
Microwaving fruit before juicing is just one of many microwave tricks that you should know. By tossing a whole lemon in the microwave for 10-20 seconds (depending on the size), you’re breaking down the membranes and causing the cells to burst, therefore producing more juice.
Even if you decide not to microwave your lemon, a room-temperature fruit will be easier to juice than a cold one—so pull your lemons out of the fridge a while before you plan to juice them.
Do you need to peel the lemon to juice it?
Thanks to this hack, no. When you poke the lemon with a chopstick or skewer, you’re eliminating the need to peel or cut it open, saving yourself time, effort and a mess.
What kinds of recipes are best for freshly squeezed lemon juice?
Freshly squeezed lemon juice is very important for lemon dessert recipes and homemade lemonade. When the lemon juice is the star of the recipe, it’s worth going the extra mile and squeezing your own fresh juice, as opposed to buying bottled lemon juice which can be bitter. If you don’t have lemons to squeeze, it’s a safer bet to use bottled lemon juice in savory citrus recipes, like lemon chicken with orzo or lemon scampi.