One of the best ways to amp up a dish’s flavor? A touch of citrus juice. A lemon squeeze makes roasted veggies sing, enhances the flavor of a salmon fillet, and brings simple green tea to life. Bottled lemon juice is convenient, but real lemon juice provides a brighter, fresher, zestier flavor. And if you’re making lemonade from scratch or a mixing a bright citrusy cocktail, you’ll definitely want to skip the bottle and go for the fresh juice. Before you blow cash on a lemon juicer, here’s how to tackle this task by hand—without getting that stinging juice in your eyes.
This first step to juice your lemon may be unexpected: Roll the lemon back and forth on the kitchen counter, applying slight pressure downward with the palm of your hand. Giving the lemon a little pressure starts breaking down the cell walls inside the lemon, so all those little pockets of juice loosen up before you even cut into it. That means you’ll need to do a lot less squeezing when it comes to the actual lemon juicing step.
(Honestly? Even if you’re using a lemon juicer, you should start with that magic roll. You’ll get more juice from the lemon, and in less time.)
If you’re still working by hand, cut the lemon in half. Hold the lemon half upside down (with your hand below the lemon) while you squeeze, so your fingers catch the lemon juice as it falls. This way, you can sift out the seeds in your hand while the juice falls down to the bow! This little trick can help you add a quick lemon squeeze to a cup of tea or a glass of water with ease.