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Microwaving lemons and limes before squeezing


Fat Guy
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I was cooking with my friend Larry today and the recipe called for the juice of a couple of limes. I handed him the limes and, after washing them off, he threw them in the microwave for 20 seconds.

What? According to Larry, if you do that you get more juice. Could it be true? Am I the last person in the world to get the memo on this? Are you all going to post, oh, sure, I always do that before squeezing limes and lemons? Or is it a completely crazy, outlandish claim? Or something in between?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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i do roll or nuke. usually roll. but i do agree that i seem to get more juice that way. the cells seem to swell a bit, giving up their juicy goodness more readily.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Yes, I've been doing that for many years.

If I have a lot of limes or lemons that I'm not going to use right away, I freeze them.

When they thaw, the membranes inside break down and I get a lot of juice from them.

If I'm in a hurry, I thaw them in the microwave at low power.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Huh. I grew up on a citrus ranch and have never heard of this. I'll have to try it.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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I try to make it as complicated as possible and cut the 4 sides off, squeeze. cut the remaining center piece in half and squeeze. That usually gets it all, letting the knife do the work.

The real trick is getting good juicy citrus in the first place. So you don't have to do any voodoo to get juice.

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Robert Wolke wrote about this in What Einstein Told his Cook -- his conclusion was that if you have to squeeze your citrus fruit by hand, then the microwave plus rolling (in that order, I believe) helps in getting more juice out. But if you have a juicer, the mechanical pressure of the juicer will get as much juice out of the fruit without the microwaving or rolling.

Edit to correct the order Wolke specifies -- it's microwaving, then rolling that allows more juice to be extracted.

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Does this actually extract more juice than rolling? How does this work? I'd love to do a side-by-side comparison of the two techniques (but haven't got a microwave).

There's no comparison. Nuking the lemons and limes make them so juicy that it's actually difficult to cut into them without spilling teaspoonsfull of juice.

I actually roll and nuke. Force of habit. I don't really need to roll, but I do.

I make limoncello a lot, and always have tons of lemons with no peel left over. I toss them into the freezer. Then, when I need some juice, I throw one of my frozen "nudie" lemons into the microwave for 1 minute.

Plenty of juice.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Of course I prefer them dead ripe off the tree but I can attest that frozen ones are very juicy. When I have way too many I toss them whole into the freezer and they are, as others noted, so juicy as to be hard to handle. I squeeze by hand with a fork.

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Of course I prefer them dead ripe off the tree but I can attest that frozen ones are very juicy. When I have way too many I toss them whole into the freezer and they are, as others noted, so juicy as to be hard to handle. I squeeze by hand with a fork.

If I only need the juice from one lemon - or less, say a tablespoon or so, I use this thingy - and just screw it into the lemon (lime or juice-type orange) and extract the amount I need and set the lemon with the thingy in a custard cup and store in the fridge until I need more.

It also has the advantage of restraining most of the seeds.

HPIM4089.JPG

This is just about life size.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I wonder if any of these methods (rolling, nuking, freezing) affects the flavor, in particular freezing.

Those of you saying that you get more juice, how are you juicing? Squeezing by hand, clamp juicer, or reamer?

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I wonder if any of these methods (rolling, nuking, freezing) affects the flavor, in particular freezing.

Those of you saying that you get more juice, how are you juicing? Squeezing by hand, clamp juicer, or reamer?

All of the above.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I wonder if any of these methods (rolling, nuking, freezing) affects the flavor, in particular freezing.

Those of you saying that you get more juice, how are you juicing? Squeezing by hand, clamp juicer, or reamer?

i am very careful to nuke only for a few seconds. otherwise a bit of a cooked taste results.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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not easy to compare, but I can't imagine there's more juice coming out when using a press. (like a giant garlic press). There doesn't seem to be any juice left once I remove the halves from my press, certainly not enough to add an other step to the game, it's not like we're talking about something expensive here.

I do like those screw in juicer things though, I have to get one of those, even if they're not expensive (off my tree, so free) I hate throwing a half juiced lemon out.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

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  • 1 year later...

My hands are not what they used to be, so I always ask DH to juice the limes for me if he is nearby. And often we pop them into the microwave for a few seconds.

Yesterday he put the limes into the microwave...I didn't see what time he set it for and certainly didn't ask after. He took them out and cut into one lime and it sort of exploded sending juice straight into his eye. I had to help this temporarily blinded man to the sink to flush his eyes.

Quelle surprise!

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 2 years later...
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