It’s no secret that fresh squeezed lemon juice beats the bottled variety any day. But the convenience of the bottle is tempting, and then there’s the matter of how much juice you need, versus how much you actually get. I know I’ve spent way too much time cutting and squeezing lemons, only to get a tablespoon (or two, at most) from each piece of fruit.

But there are a few tricks to ensure that you get every last drop out of your lemons (and limes too):

juicing and zesting citrus

1. Pick the best fruit. For citrus this means a fruit that is heavy for its size, with a shiny, smooth skin (and no green tinge). You want the skin to be thin, not thick – which you can determine by gently squeezing the fruit. If it yields to a little pressure, it’s a keeper. See the lemon in the above photo, top left? Not a keeper.

2. Warm it up. Room temperature citrus will yield more juice than a lemon that’s right out of the fridge. I never seem to remember to do this but I learned a shortcut years ago – the microwave. Simply microwave the whole fruit for 15- 20 seconds – this will warm it up perfectly.

3. Roll with it. Using the palm of your hand, roll the fruit back and forth a few times on your counter or cutting board. This breaks the membranes in the fruit so that it releases the most juice.

4. Squeeze it! The method is up to you. I like my simple hand-held juicer but you can use whatever tool you like. I’ve read that you can get more juice if you slice the fruit lengthwise as opposed to crosswise, but I have yet to try this (Update: I tried it! It works!). Let me know if you do!**

juicing and zesting citrus

5. Don’t forget the zest! Before you cut your fruit, zest it with your grater or microplane. Freeze the zest in a single layer and store in a ziploc bag. You don’t need to thaw it first, and trust me – you’ll be so happy you took the extra step.

juicing and zesting citrus

Now go make something citrus-y! Need some inspiration? How about a lovely lemon pound cake? Or some zesty hummus? Or this easy lunch?

And here’s a tune to juice by….

Any lemon-y tips you’d like to share? Post them in the comments!

**ย Note: I’m so embarrassed! My lovely reader Marissa directed me to a video (see the link in the comments, below) that explains why, when using a hand-held juicer, you should put your fruit in cut side DOWN. Which makes perfect sense now that I think about it. Thank you Marissa!


  1. Elizabeth Leach on April 10, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I love lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper as salad dressing. Add a little feta cheese or goat cheese and it’s really yummy.

    • sherisilver on April 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

      I JUST had that last night – delish! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Jennifer Cullen on April 10, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I love the idea of freezing the zest! Thanks Sheri. And now I’m craving a lemony salad dressing for my lunch.

    • sherisilver on April 10, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Me too…xo

  3. allison carmen on April 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Sheri, I never knew I should warm it up first. Great tip. What can I do with my frozen zest? I would love some ideas!

    • sherisilver on April 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Thanks Allison! I have a bunch of “zesty” recipes – just go to the top search window and type in “zest” – you’ll see all the recipes right there. Let me know what you make! xo

  4. Marissa Pocius on April 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Sheri, if you are squeezing/pressing your lemons/limes with cut side up (as shown in your photo) you are not getting all the juice out of the fruit. Try placing cut side down in the citrus press. See this…

    • sherisilver on April 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      OMG! How have I been doing this wrong all this time?? Thank you so much for sharing this (I also love her tip for slicing the tip off for greater leverage)!! ๐Ÿ™‚