Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
If you’ve ever tried to squeeze a lemon by hand, you may be disappointed by the small amount of juice that comes out. If you’re trying to make lemonade or get a large amount of juice, your stack of used lemons may mount high before you’ve accumulated enough juice for your cooking project. Some people suggest rolling the lemon first on a hard surface to soften it for easier squeezing. This does tend to work better than simply cutting and squeezing the lemon, but is still fairly labor intensive.
Others recommend using a manual juicer, like those made for oranges. This may not be particularly practical. The size of such juicers tends not to be compatible to small lemons, and you’re still doing a lot of work pressing and twisting the lemon to extract its juice. Enter the lemon reamer, arguably one of the easiest tools to use in the kitchen, and certainly the most effective way to get the most juice from the lemon.
The lemon reamer looks like a manual juicer with a handle, instead of a sitting upright in a bowl that collects juice. Typical styles come in wood, plastic or various metals. A wooden reamer tends to be preferred over metal types because lemon juice can degrade some metals.
The average lemon reamer is quite simple to use. Cut lemons in half, (across their center, not length wise), and use the lemon reamer with a few twisting motions over a bowl to juice the lemon. If you’ve purchased lemons with seeds, you’ll want to try to remove these first, which may be kind of difficult. Alternately, run collected lemon juice through a strainer afterward to get out any seeds.
People who use lemon in recipes frequently swear by the excellent qualities of a lemon reamer. As kitchen tools go, not only is the lemon reamer effective, but it’s also very inexpensive. A simple wooden model costs between four to ten US Dollars (USD). You’ll pay a bit more if you want a fancy one. Some people prefer a reamer with a rubberized non-slip handle so they have a better grip for twisting into the lemon halves.
There are times when a reamer may not be the most practical tool, especially if you only need a tiny bit of juice. If you don’t want to juice a whole lemon, you can instead drill a small hole in the lemon, with a fork or knife, and squeeze the lemon in this manner. The lemon can then be wrapped and stored for later use, especially if you’d like to use the peel to flavor something else. Once you’ve use the lemon reamer on a lemon, unless you only ream one half, you’ve pretty much exhausted the possibilities of saving the lemon for later use.
On the other hand, if you’ve got plenty of lemons, and like the proverb, you’re going to make lemonade, the lemon reamer is least expensive and the most effective way to extract juice. It’s easy to use; even kids can have fun with them. It’s also inexpensive and won’t take up much space in your drawer of kitchen utensils.
As 'laluna' said, heating lemons in a microwave oven really does increase the amount of juice produced. I don't know what process is at work, but once heated, the lemon becomes very soft, and very juicy. So I suspect that heating bursts the cells of the lemon pulp, and releases the encapsulated juice. I've not done controlled tests, but it seems the hotter the lemon, the more juice that can extracted.
But be careful: If you heat a lemon too much, it may burst and spew lemon juice all over your microwave oven. Or worse yet, an over-heated lemon might NOT burst, but rather just sit quietly, waiting for you to 'pop' it. Once your knife pierces its skin
, it bursts and spews hot lemon juice all over YOU! (BTW: If this does happen, as with other mild burns you can lessen the damage by putting put ice on the burn immediately.)
Somebody should do an experiment to see if the increase in the amount of juice produced is indeed related to the amount of heat, and whether it's the heat, or the microwave energy that makes lemons more "juice-able".
For best results use lemons at room temperature, or even slightly warmed up in the microwave. Lemons will be much easier to squeeze and will yield most juice.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!