Whenever you cook with lemons and limes, you won’t be able to ignore the vibrant flavor they bring to the dish. However, they can be very expensive.

In order to make sure that you get every last drop of juice out of a lemon (or lime), I have gathered a few tips and tricks that I use to juice a lemon (or lime).

1. Ripe Lemons Are Best

There is no doubt that this step might seem the most obvious, but depending on the season or where you are, it can also be the most challenging.

If you buy unripe, rock-hard lemons, you are not likely to get much juice out of them, no matter what you do, so make sure to check for ripeness before you purchase them.

Lightly squeeze the lemons after they have been cut up. There will be a bit of a weight to a ripe, juicy lemon and a slight give when you squeeze it.

There is a good chance it’s past its prime if it’s too soft. Lemons that are very light in color or have a thick pith and have less juice than lemons that are heavier in color.

An excellent peel should have a nice sheen and be bright yellow in color. It is important to make sure that the lemon does not look dull or wrinkled at any time.

A hand squeezing a lemon

2. Roll It Up

Roll the lemon on the countertop with pressure before cutting into it. To do this, I refer to it as the “pre-squeeze.”

Pre-squeezing loosens the juice by crushing the membranes even before you cut the lemon.
A lemon being rolled on a countertop

3. You Can Microwave It

It is suggested that you microwave the lemon for 20-30 seconds (again, before you cut it open) so that it becomes soft.

Basically, this has the same effect as rolling the lemon in that some of the membranes inside of the lemon burst and the juice inside is released.

There is also the advantage of squeezing a warm lemon easier than a cold lemon, since a warm lemon has a much softer texture.
A lemon being reamed with a spoon

4. Ream It Out

Once I have cut the lemon in half and have squeezed it by hand for the initial squeeze, I like to do what I like to call a “reaming” of the lemon.

It is true that there are special tools available for this purpose, but I find that an ordinary large spoon works just as well for this purpose.

The very easy way to do this is to insert the spoon into the center of the halved lemon and twist it. It is during this process that any remaining membranes are crushed and every last drop of liquid is released.

Once the reaming has been done, do one more squeeze after the reaming has been completed.
Freezer Bag Full of Fresh Lemons

5. Freeze It

In case you do get some lemons that are really dry, you can freeze them.

The freezing process breaks most of the internal membranes, leaving the lemon much softer and juicier after the lemon has been thawed.

It is a great idea to freeze lemons that you plan to zest and juice. You can find a full tutorial on how to freeze citrus here.

Here Are Some Recipes for Fresh Lemons

The following are some awesome recipes you can make with all that fresh juice you’ve squeezed out of lemons now that you’re a pro at squeezing them: