Handheld Lemon Juicers Work Better With One Extra Step

A handheld lemon juicer is an essential tool for any home cook's kitchen. The utilitarian device is a basic lever, designed for one thing and one thing only: squeezing the juice from lemons ... which it does remarkably well. The simple and single-purpose gadget does not require much instruction, and its method of use is pretty intuitive: You slice a lemon, put one half of the lemon into the side with the round opening, bring the two handles together, and squeeze. Sure enough, that will get the job done, but there is one extra step you can take to make your lemon press work so much better. After you slice a lemon in half but before putting it in the juicer, slice the opposite end of the lemon off as well. It's super easy and makes a world of difference.

This extra slice method makes the process of lemon squeezing not only easier but also less messy. Cutting that piece off the end removes some of the tough peel and pith which can make squeezing a juice press difficult for all but very strong hands, and it creates more give in the lemon. With double the openings for the sour liquid to flow from, you will be able to extract the maximum amount of lemon juice. The open-ended lemon is also less likely to squirt up and out around the inner sides of the juicer this way, sparing your countertops, clothes, and eyes from getting inadvertently splashed with citric acid.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy

Now, you wouldn't think such a practical trick for juicing lemons would drum up much controversy, but as TikTok user @boomtisca found out, people are extremely passionate about the supposedly right and wrong way to squeeze a lemon. In her lemon juicing hack video, boomtisca holds up a handheld lemon juicer and says that if you already use one, she can almost guarantee that you're not using it right. She explains that after cutting a lemon in half, there's one more step β€” you should also cut the other end off, "to where the juice has a way to escape." She then demonstrates by placing one lemon half into the receiving end of the press, small side down, and giving it a good squeeze. Indeed, the lemon produces an impressive amount of juice, and when she removes the lemon and shows the inside to the camera, you can see that it's been almost completely hollowed out.


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♬ Heaven's Only Wishful – MorMor

If you happened to notice that mention of placing the lemon in the juicer small side down and were instantly appalled by the idea, you are not alone. Some commenters on TikTok were outraged by boomtisca's suggestion that putting the lemon's flat side up in a squeezer is the correct way to use it. Her video was really about the extra step of cutting off the bottom slice for better flow, but it spurred an all-out debate over the correct direction a lemon half should be facing when it gets squeezed.

Good to the last drop no matter how you slice it

Despite the heated opinions over the way to use a handheld lemon squeezer, most people commenting agreed that the additional second cut-off of the bottom of the fruit is brilliant, regardless of which direction you juice it. Digging through the comments also revealed more benefits of cutting the extra slice along with squeezing lemons round side down. Aside from purportedly getting you more juice, perhaps the best thing about this method is that it's easier on the hands. For those with joint issues, or people like bakers and bartenders who regularly squeeze a lot of lemons, removing the hard end means that less force is needed to leverage the juicer, and the wider side positioned upwards gives the device more surface area to apply pressure.

The debate was somewhat settled after a poll was taken on Buzzfeed – where, after further arguments from all sides of the lemon squeezing spectrum were aired, the website asked whether lemons should be squeezed flat side up with a piece cut off the bottom or not. The result? Flat side up with an extra slice off the end won the popular vote. Ultimately, whichever way you slice it, an extra cut off the bottom of a lemon before popping it in your juicer is an effortless way to get the most juice out of any lemon. If you don't have a lemon juicer, don't worry. A simple skewer can make juicing a lemon easier too.