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6 Tips to Squeezing the Most Juice Out of Your Lemons or Limes

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"How to juice lemons without a juicer" is a common thought we have now that we're in the thick of summer and cooling drinks are an absolute necessity. There's nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold glass of lemonade or your favorite sour cocktail on a hot day — and you can still enjoy one even without a juicer. Here's how to save your summer (not to mention your hands!) by learning how to juice lemons and limes without a juicer.

How to Get More Juice Out of Lemons and Limes

Before the squeezing starts, there are a few steps to take to ensure you're getting the most juice out of your energy-boosting citrus. The key here is to warm up your lemons and limes, as this will make the membranes softer and easier to squeeze. Here are seven ways to ensure you get every last drop of juice from your citrus.

For the sake of clarity, we've used lemons in the examples below. However, the following tips also work well with limes. 

  1. Leave your lemons out until they reach room temperature. This softens the pulp, making it easier to squeeze.
  2. Warm your lemons in a pot of water.  Another way to soften your lemons and limes is to heat them up on your stove. But make sure the water isn't too hot: You should be able to feel the heat coming off the pot, but the water shouldn't be boiling. Let the lemons sit anywhere between 30 seconds and a few minutes, or until the skin is warm to the touch.
  3. Massage the lemon by rolling it on a hard surface. Apply a decent amount of force, but don't press hard enough to cause the lemon peel to break. 
  4. Heat your lemon in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. It's up to you whether you want to slice your lemon before zapping it. By exposing the membranes, you'll soften the lemon even more, but the microwave may also absorb more moisture this way. Pro Tip: Freeze your lemons before microwaving them. Extreme cold will cause the liquid inside the citrus to freeze and expand, causing the membrane to weaken or even break. 
  5. Cut your lemon lengthwise rather than widthwise. Most of us chop lemons without even thinking — but that sacrifices precious juices. By cutting your lemons lengthwise, you expose more of the pulp's surface area, increasing the amount of liquid you can juice.
  6. Stab your lemon with a fork before squeezing. Once you've cut your lemon in half, prod it with the tines of a fork. Continue poking and squeezing until no more juice comes out of your lemon.

How to Juice Lemons and Limes Without a Juicer

Now that your citrus is prepped and primed for juicing, we'll get down to the nitty gritty. To juice your lemons with ease, you're going to need a stand mixer. If you don't already have one, we recommend the KitchenAid Pro 450 Series ($254.80, Amazon). Ready to begin? Here's how to juice lemons and limes without a juicer.

  1. Quarter your citrus and toss it in the mixing bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic and turn your mixer on low. If you're having a hard time fitting the arm of the mixer through a hole you've cut in the plastic, you can opt for a splatter guard ($6.97, Amazon) instead. 
  3. Let the mixer do its thing until your lemons and limes look totally juiced. 
  4. Pour the mixture into a sieve or strainer to remove the seeds and pulp. 
  5. Refrigerate the strained liquid and use when needed.

If you're planning a party over the weekend, you can save yourself some time and whip this up during the week. If you're wondering how long does lemon juice last in the refirgerator, the good news is that it's fine to use for two to three days after juicing. To make lemon juice last longer, store it in an airtight container with at least 1/2 inch of headspace and freeze. Frozen lemon juice should last roughly three to four months. 

So now that you have more lemon juice than you know what to do with, it's time to pull out those shakers. You deserve a refreshing summer cocktail! 

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