How to juice a lemon? There are many food hacks out there for doing so, such as microwaving the fruit or freezing it. What works best? Find out in this video!
Life is often about asking yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze. In the case of lemons, yes! But the question is, what is the best way to get the most juice out of a lemon?
Many blogs cover this but rarely give you a definitive answer. They will mention different methods to try before juicing, like freezing the lemons or microwaving them. Or a few different knife tricks you can try. Everything from cutting off the sides of the lemon to violating it with a skewer. But they rarely tell you the best way.
Look, I don’t need some backwards Yoda-like riddle. I just need my juice, bitches!
I recently covered this with the best way to cut a lemon for juicing. That post was about getting the most juice in that instant and if you didn’t have a microwave or time to freeze it. I weighed the lemons before and weighed the resulting juice. The final result surprised me. More on that later.
This time we are going to test out the methods for preparing the lemons before juicing them too. But before we do…
California produces 80 percent of all the fresh citrus marketed in the United States. (about 50% overall, much of the rest of the country grows citrus for juice). CA grows over 92% of the lemons available in the U.S.
How to Buy Lemons
One way you will get the most juice out of a lemon is to buy the best lemon you can buy. This isn’t very complicated—just a few things to pay attention to.
- Choose firm lemons.
- They should give a little when squeezed. (this means less pith, more juice)
- Choose lemons that are heavy for their size.
- The skin should be bright yellow. No green!
- The skin should be taught, not wrinkled.
How to Juice Lemons
There are a few options for prepping the lemon before you cut into it. We are going to test them all out. Before I started, I weighed out the lemons and chose lemons of equal size. Each lemon weighed about 6.5 ounces, give or take.
We are going to test out the following methods:
- Freezer Method
- Microwave Method
- Rolling Pin Method
- Combo Method (All 3 Above)
After I test out these methods for extracting the most juice from the lemons, I am then going to use the winner from my post on How to Cut Lemon for Juicing. In that experiment, I tested out 5 methods, and the clear winner was the “sliced in three” method.
- Sliced in Three Method
- Lemon Wedges Method
- Squared/Peeled Method
- Poked with Knife Method
- Poked with Skewer Method
This method surprised me mostly because I did not know you could freeze whole citrus. I figured they would explode like a soda bottle. But nope. You can hella freeze your citrus.
When you freeze them, the juice does expand and ultimately breaks down the cell walls within the lemon. Then when the lemon thaws, it is softer and thus yields more juice.
But you have to thaw them before juicing. So this method definitely takes the most time.
Now the microwave method. Unlike the frozen method, if you do this too long, your lemons might explode. It brings me back to blowing up marshmallows in the microwave as a kid. Ah, good times…unless you were my mom who ended up cleaning it up.
Similar to the frozen method, a warmer lemon is softer and easier to work with. As a result, the lemon will yield more juice because it’s not fighting back.
You can even microwave the frozen lemons to thaw them out. I did not do that for this method and saved that for the combo method below.
Place the fresh lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm the fruit. If you need to microwave it longer than that, I suggest doing it in 5-second batches.
Rolling Pin Method
Don’t worry; no actual rolling pins are used in this method. It just describes the action. I mean, you COULD use a rolling pin, but chances are you would crush the fruit, and juice would squirt everywhere unless you’re Gallagher, no need for that.
Place the lemon on the counter and press it with the palm of your hand; roll it back and forth as you apply pressure. This is also to weaken the membranes inside to yield more juice.
Combo Method (All 3 Above)
Lastly, let’s try all three! We are going to take a frozen lemon and thaw it. Then roll it back and forth, further loosening the inside cells, and then microwave it.
Is it overkill? Or just enough kill?
The Winner is…
For each method, I captured the juice in an individual bowl. When all methods had been tested, I weighed them all out, just as I weighed the lemons to start. I have to admit…I love stuff like this.
And the winner is…no one, really. The results are below.
- Control lemon – 5.7 ounces
- Freezer Method – 5.9 ounces
- Microwave Method – 5.8 ounces
- Rolling Pin Method – 6.2 ounces
- Combo Method (All 3 Above) – 6.3 ounces
Yes, some of the methods gave a bit more than others and more than the control, but not a significant amount. That is, I ran this test a few times, and the winners varied each time. In comparison, the winner of How to Cut Lemon for Juicing gave up a whole ounce more than the others.
However, I would say there are some winnings. The freezer method made the lemons the easiest to work with. Once thawed, the lemons were soft and rubbery. Pressing the juice from them was the easiest.
Freezing would be my choice for juicing a large batch of lemons.