This Hack For Juicing Lemons Proves How Much Juice You've Been Wasting

directly above shot of lemon squeezer on table
The Trick For Getting The Most Juice Out Of LemonsMerethe Svarstad Eeg / EyeEm - Getty Images

We’ve all been there: Desperately squeezing a lemon over a bowl in hopes that we’ll get anything out of it, even a drop. It's not exactly a fun time. We can all agree that the pre-squeezed stuff in the lemon-shaped bottle isn’t great—and is it even real juice? But it’s easy to get so fed up with dry citrus that we might actually consider buying it.

There are lots of hacks for juicing citrus floating around the internet. Microwave your lemons before juicing. Roll them against the countertop. Cut them top to bottom instead of around the equator. And my personal favorite: buy a citrus squeezer. But none of these tricks will coax juice from a lemon or lime that doesn’t have much juice to begin with. The best way to get more juice out of your citrus is to choose the correct fruit from the supermarket.

When we think of lemons, most of us picture the gorgeous, bright yellow ones with a thick, textured peel. These lemons may look great on Instagram, but they contain the least amount of juice. The best lemons for juicing are actually the ugliest. They are pale yellow in color with smooth, thin skin. They should feel slightly soft and—surprise—a bit juicy when you pick them up.

The same rule applies for limes: Pale green, thin-skinned limes will yield much more juice than their darker, bumpy-skinned siblings. And if you find one with balding brown patches on it, even better.

So, how do you make sure you’re getting the right kind of lemons when you go to the store? Well, start by actually going to the store. Grocery-delivery services are convenient, but there’s no way to ensure that whoever is packing your order will give you that imperfectly perfect citrus for juicing. (And if you’re thinking about putting it in the “notes” or “special request section,” forget about it.)

When you’re in the store, skip the prepackaged bags. You can’t possibly judge anything when it’s sealed inside those nets. Instead, handpick your citrus, one by one, from the bulk produce bin. Pick them up and run your fingertips over their skin. Give them a light squeeze to assess their juicy potential, then choose the best candidates.

When you get home, store your lemons in a dry zip-top bag in the fridge. They’ll keep much longer there than in that pretty bowl on your counter. Besides, if you bought the right ones, they’re not exactly beautiful specimens anyway, are they?

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