In a recent post, Justin described a way of juicing citrus that gets a lot of juice by cutting the fruit up and then squeezing. We had an off-line discussion about whether his method or my usual method of sticking a fork in the side of a lemon and reeming it out was more efficient.
Recently, we've been using a new tool, a citrus press that "squeezes the bejesus" out of the citrus. So who's right? Only experimentation could determine.
I took a set of nine lemons, weighed them in sets of three and rearranged the lemons within the sets to get a similar weight of fruit in each group to test. Why not limes? Lemons were on sale and they're pretty similar to limes in any case. You can decide if the results are valid when generalized to all citrus.
Group One consisted of 14.5 oz. of lemon, pre-squeezing.
Group Two consisted of 14.4 oz. of lemon, pre-squeezing.
Group Three consisted of 14.6 oz. of lemon, pre-squeezing.
I then made up three cards and shuffled them as well as I could, dealing out the cards so each set got a different method of juice extraction. The results are shown below.
I then picked three similar bowls and weighed them to ensure similar weights and so we can adjust for the amount of juice correctly. Weight, rather than volume was used to measure the amount of juice produced, and the juice itself filtered through a colander to remove any seeds or unjuiced pulp that might have been extracted from the lemons and which might skew the results.
Technique 1 was Justin's dissembly method.
The lemons had the bottom trimmed, cut into three sections, plus a core section left behind, then all bits squeezed and juice extracted. I refer you again to Justin's post for a better description of this technique (plus a recipe for some yummy mojitos).
Technique 2 was the mechanically assisted squeeze method.
The lemons were cut in half, placed in the squeezer and squeezed. The squeezed half was then reversed so the inner section faced out and squeezed again.
Technique 3 was my usual fork method.
The lemons had a fork stuck into the side of the lemon, and then reemed out.
Each technique was used for three lemons.
A little math is applied and here are the final results:
Method 1 - Justin's Dissembly method. Produced 8.35 oz. juice from 14.5 oz. fruit
Method 2 - Mechanical squeeze method. Produced 9.60 oz juice from 14.4 oz. fruit
Method 3 - Barrett's fork method. Produced 7.85 oz juice from 14.6 oz fruit.
Dissembly: .576 oz juice/oz fruit
Squeeze: .667 oz juice/oz fruit
Fork: .538 oz juice/oz fruit
Conclusion - the mechanical squeeze method is by far best of these three, producing almost 20% more juice proportionally than my fork method, and 14% more than the dissembly method.
However, the mechanical squeeze method does require a specialized piece of equipment that not everyone has and of course, may yield less satisfactory results if you are not able to bring as much pressure to bear on the device. If you are stuck with a fork, a knife, and a bunch of citrus, Justin's method yields a better result than my fork method, though it takes a little longer than the fork technique.
Note - at no point were any of the lemons rolled, pre-bruised, microwaved, or had anything done to them that might skew the results. Perhaps in a future post, we'll examine the effects of microwave preparations versus rolling versus leaving the citrus to be squeezed unadulterated.
The other conclusion we can draw is that squeezing a bunch of lemons can lead to a really good smelling kitchen.