Which Squeezing Method Gets You The Most Lemon Juice?

Which Squeezing Method Gets You the Most Lemon Juice?

From flavoring water to grilling fish or making a lightly-dressed green salad, there are a multitude of kitchen situations that call for fresh-squeezed lemon juice. But is there a "best" way to get juice out of a lemon?

Photo by Bobbi Bowers.

There are countless different methods that various cooking experts insist is the very best way to juice a lemon. One is to roll the lemon first on a counter. Or you can microwave the lemon first. Some say you should cut the lemon into multiple pieces. You can even use a tool for the job, like a hand-held citrus press. But what really works best? To find out if there was a definitive answer, we put five of the most popular methods to the test.

The Test

I decided to compare six of the most popular methods I've been told about over the years. They are as follows:

  1. Control: Your standard, no-frills lemon squeeze. I cut a lemon in half, width-wise, and squeezed by hand.
  2. Rolling the lemon: Using both hands, I rolled a lemon on a countertop for 45 seconds, then cut the lemon in half, width-wise, and squeezed by hand.
  3. Microwaving the lemon: I microwaved the lemon for 25 seconds on high, then cut the lemon in half, width-wise, and squeezed by hand.
  4. Multiple cuts: I followed the advice of food writer Patricia Wells. I stood up a lemon and cut it vertically into three sections, leaving the center piece as a triangular wedge; after that, I squeezed the three sections by hand.
  5. Using a hand-held citrus press: I cut a lemon in half, width-wise, then inserted it, cut side first, into a citrus press and squeezed.
Which Squeezing Method Gets You the Most Lemon Juice?

I purchased lemons of the same brand and variety (Sunkist) from the same store, and spent what might've been a suspicious amount of time in the grocery aisle selecting lemons of similar size, weight, and firmness.

After juicing each fruit, I compared each lemon's juice yield by weight in grams, using a scale, rather than by measuring liquid volume in milliliters or teaspoons, in an effort to have more accurate metrics. For each lemon juiced, I tried to put forth the same amount of effort (meaning I tried to squeeze each lemon as hard as possible).

The Results

Here are, in order to lowest-yielding to highest-yielding, the recordings for each method. The control came in last place, producing the least amount of juice, while the hand-held juicer produced the most:

  1. Control: 35.4 grams
  2. Multiple cuts: 38.27 grams
  3. Microwaving the lemon: 38.27 grams
  4. Rolling the lemon: 38.98 grams
  5. Using a hand-held juicer: 55.28 grams
Which Squeezing Method Gets You the Most Lemon Juice?

As you can see, with a yield of 35.4 grams, the control method -- the standard squeeze -- was a real lemon (insert rimshot here). Every trick we tried had a leg up on it, so there's pretty much no reason why you should be juicing a lemon that way ever again.

The method that really knocked it out of the park, though, was using a hand-held citrus press, which produced 55.28 grams of juice. Not only did it yield more than 55 per cent more juice than the basic squeeze, it also prevented seeds from falling into the juice and pulp from getting all over my hands.

My lemon squeezer has seemingly lasted forever (I've had it for close to a decade and counting). So if you don't have one and you use lemons with any frequency, whether it's for seafood, desserts, or lots of lemon drops, it's time to invest in a lemon squeezer. Trust us: it's worth its weight in gold.


Comments

    i do the rolling method because we dont own a juicer of any description. i rate it pretty highly.

      Microwave, roll then hand held juicer. I usually skip the microwave step though.

    What's an ounce? Didn't we stop using them in the 70's???

      Well it's an American article by an American writer soooo...

      And yes, the AU editor could have converted but seeing as it's a comparison between measures to see which one is highest the actual unit used shouldn't make a difference. The results of the article are clear (Juicer>Hand squeeze) regardless.

        It's lazy journalism. Tick and flick. It's a wonder there's not a bot/algorithm developed to do all the hard conversion thinking for them...
        How would I know if the 0.575 ounces is worth it? Oh wait... I'll convert it... 17ml!!! Get out of here - how have I lived this long without a hand held juicer!!!

        Last edited 28/07/15 12:25 pm

          Ok, so what actual benefit do Australian readers get from seeing 1.25 ounces represented as 35.43 grams? There's lazy and then there's time economy. If there's no benefit (e.g. improvements to clarity or understanding) then it's a waste of time which could be spent editing articles that actually need it.

          I'm not saying that articles shouldn't be converted, just that this one doesn't seem to need it in my mind.

            My point exactly. The fact that you confused an ounce referred to as a measure of mass rather than volume is proof. Maybe that's what happened to the Astronauts on Challenger... "Ohhh... you meant a VOLUMETRIC ounce... I'll get my coat..."

              After juicing each fruit, I compared each lemon’s juice yield by weight in ounces

                Still backs my point. I'm just a dumb aussie who stopped reading when the word ounce appeared and then made that same fatal mistake that Challenger engineer did. Wonder if he was an aussie too...

                  Yeah, now you're just reaching to justify your inability to see that the units have nothing to do with understanding the article. (Seriously. Units have nothing to do with being able to see that 1.25 is less than 1.95)

                  Challenger broke up due to O-rings that were outside tolerance for the low temperatures at the time of launch. Mars Climate Orbiter failed due to Metric and Imperial unit assumptions, with no loss of life.

                Reeeeaaalllllyyyy (in my best Get Smart impersonation).

                Still lazy arse (or ass if you're a yank) journalism...

                BTW, the Challenger thing... totally with you there... but thanks anyway.

                Last edited 28/07/15 1:29 pm

      I'll wear this one. Our US feed editor usually takes the time to convert all weights and measurements to the Australian equivalent but she is currently on holiday. The article has now been updated.

        Here are, in order to lowest-yielding to highest-yielding, the recordings for each method. The control came in last place, producing the least amount of juice, while the hand-held juicer produced the most:

        Control: 42.52 grams
        Multiple cuts: 38.27 grams
        Microwaving the lemon: 38.27 grams
        Rolling the lemon: 38.98 grams
        Using a hand-held juicer: 55.28 grams

        Please fix the error. Control can't come last and have the 2bnd highest amount of juice produced.

          This lemon post is the bane of my life. I'm off to make some lemonade.

    Pfft amateurs.
    Get the maximun juice yield. Use a steamroller

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