This Restaurant Trick Will Forever Change the Way You Juice a Lemon

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Lemons on a plate with lemon juice in a measuring cup
Credit: Kitchn

Picture this: You’re in the middle of cooking and just about to squeeze a healthy squirt of lemon juice into your pasta al limone, or perhaps into the curd for some lemon bars, and you realize your juicer is in the sink (or even worse, locked in a running dishwasher.) Maybe you don’t even have a stand mixer on hand. What to do?

In the past I might have advocated for squeezing it with your hands, or even owning two juicers, for just such an emergency. But that was before I came across this little trick on Instagram. Juicing a lemon with tongs. I had to know if this actually works as well as it appears to. Here’s how it went. 

How to Juice a Lemon with Tongs

  1. Place a lemon half between the arms of the tongs. To get the best squeeze, arrange the lemon in between the two arms of the tongs, about halfway between the hinge and the end you would typically use to grab food.
  2. Squeeze! Hold the tongs in two hands, one toward the hinge end and one close to (or directly on, depending on the length of your tongs) the “grabber” end. Face the cut side of the lemon toward a small bowl and squeeze. You may have to turn the lemon a few times and press it again to ensure you’ve gotten as much juice out as possible. Voilà! A well-juiced lemon.

My Honest Review

Hail to the grandmas! Here at Kitchn we love a good grandma trick and this is no exception. This is so easy I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself. Juicing citrus without a juicer is really just about squeezing it very hard — which is why your hands aren’t really an ideal tool for this particular task. Tongs have the advantage of creating leverage to allow you to really press the heck out of the lemon. On top of that, the tongs I have in my kitchen are made of metal and have a small ridge on the inside of each arm. These ridges pressed on either side of the lemon, helping to hold it in place while squeezing (yet another advantage over my hands.)

I may not have multiple juicers in my kitchen, but I do have a few different sets of tongs. In a pinch, it’s highly likely that at least one is in a usable state. I’ll never have to attempt to inefficiently mash the juice out of a lemon with my hands ever again.

Tips for Juicing a Lemon with Tongs

  • Strain the seeds. One small disadvantage to this method is that there were seeds in the lemon juice, which isn’t surprising considering there’s no way to catch them. If you don’t want to have to strain your juice or pick seeds out of it, set a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl before juicing.
  • Keep the lemon close to the bowl. This method can be a bit messy if you’re not careful, shooting lemon juice all over your counter. Hold the lemon close to the bowl to avoid splatter.
  • Skip oranges. This method works great for lemons and limes, but oranges are too large to fit between the arms of most tongs.

This article originally published on The Kitchn. See it there: This Restaurant Trick Will Forever Change the Way You Juice a Lemon