Comments: Squeeze that Lemon


So, watcha going to do with all that lemon juice?

I had never even heard of the fork method. We have a small mechanical juicer that works great - cut the lemon in half, put half cut side down on the juicer, push down, the juicer rotates, out comes juice. Fun post, thanks Barrett!

Elise, glad you asked. I think you'll see a post involving a lemon and something interesting granita sometime in the next week or so...

I highly recommend the fork method if you've had a bad day. It's very good for working out one's agressions.

Another mechanically assisted trick I've seen is to use kitchen tongs as a sort of vise to squeeze each lemon half.

Pretty good statistics, but if you had measured the results for each lemon, we could have calculated (albeit with a rather wide margin of error since n=3) whether or not the results were statistically significant. If you really want me to geek out, we'll have to squeeze a minimum of 3*30=90 lemons (so as not to make assumptions about underlying distributions and take advantage of the central limit theorem). Do you have a recipe for bathtub granita?

Hi Barrett,
Thanks for the great lemon-squeezing breakdown. I've never heard of the fork method either, but I have to say, it does sound like an excellent stress-reliever. My question is about the seeds. Do they stay in the lemon when you use the fork to extract the juice? Or am I misunderstanding the meaning of "reemed out"?

Justin, if we squeezed 90 lemons, I'd be concerned about the validity of the results because of fatigue in the biological component (e.g. the squeezer/forker/dissembler). Perhaps a robo-squeezer is in order. As for bathtub granita - I think some lemon meringue pies might also be in order.

Jennifer - the seeds can be caught in the fingers if you run the juice down the forking hand (really, I didn't just swear there). Usually, you lose a few into the juice. All the methods let some seeds through. The colander is essential for perfectly clean juice.

I'm surprised no one's heard of the fork method before. It's one Emeril uses on his shows (or he did), though I didn't learn it from him.

I like the tong idea, but i use a spoon in half a lemon. I'd be interested to see if there is a differnece between that and the fork. Don't you get a lot of extra pulp with the fork too?

I have that lemon gadget. It works wonders. It even strains out the seeds.

It works well on limes, too.

Personally, I am a fan of the good old-fashioned wooden reamer. It doesn't filter out the seeds, but the nice sharp edges do a great job and extracting pulp and juice. Messy but fun and best of all dirt cheap!

Homemade creme de cassis has been the beverage of choice at my place for the last few weeks, so I'd have to recommend that those 90 lemons get zested and turned into a big batch of homemade limoncello.

Of course, then you'd need two other batches: one to quantify the effect that zesting before juicing had, and the other, conversely, to figure out what effect the juicing methods had on the zestability of the lemons.

(And while you have the services of a Colombian statistician for this effort, you might as well measure the axis lengths of each lemon and have Justin do a multivariate regression, since I'd wager the lemons juice differently depending on how spheroid/ovoid they are.)

I love science!

Ha! I thought about the spheriod aspect of it too (ratio of pulp to skin). Who made the creme de cassis you've been enjoying?

You might as well bring the variety of lemon into it as well. Certianly there are breeds of lemons that have thicker and tinner skins, and presumably those that have more or fewer seeds, both of which would affect the fruit/juce ratio.

But then, if this were completely scientific, we'd have robo-squeezers and breed idealized genetically identical lemons.

Barrett, now you're just being ridiculous.

I was thinking a centrifuge to separate the pure lemony essence from the water since, no doubt, the lemon juice would vary from lemon to lemon.

I'm also a fan of the wooden reamer. It works great and I think I bought mine for $2. Also it is easy to clean.

Good work, Barrett, but I think you missed the best juice extraction method of all. Have you tried the "Lucy" method- putting them into a large wooden vat and dancing on them?

We have the Braun electrical juicer. Granted, it is another small kitchen appliance that occupies precious counter space, but it really speeds up the process of juicing several lemons or oranges.

Were any small animals or children harmed during this experiment?

Micky - No, but we did start a new lemon-scented religion based on the phrase "Squeezes the Bejesus". Does that count?

I've been using the same citrus squeezer I bought in guadalajara 10 years ago. Have never tried another method, and I don't think I will. Excellent post!!

thanks for that research. I always wonder. I usually roll them before cutting them and squeeze. For as many lemons as I squeeze, I will most definitely hve to invest in a squeezer.

Great experiment in the name of research! I'll keep the results in mind for my next lemon cooking session!

Brett, what brand of hand-held juicer do you have that works so well? I've read that some are just too wimpy.

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