We've seen all sorts of tips for getting the most juice from citrus. Everything from the way it's sliced, to rolling it on the counter, and now, even heating it in the microwave. So what does heat have to do with the juice in a lemon? And can a few seconds in the microwave really help you to get more juice out of this citrus?
The Original Tip
While the refrigerator is the best place to store citrus when you'll have it for more than a few days, it might not the best environment when you plan on juicing it. The cool environment in the refrigerator causes the juice-holding membranes in lemons and other citrus to firm up, which ultimately limits their juice-producing potential.
However, there are various tips floating around the Internet that indicate warming lemons for 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave before juicing will produce more juice. Warming the fruit works to soften the chilled, firm membranes, allowing the juice to flow more freely.
The Testing Method
To test this tip I juiced three batches of lemons, all approximately equal in size and weight.
I started by juicing two lemons which had been stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. They were cool and firm, as you would expect with citrus pulled straight from the fridge.
I removed two more lemons from the crisper, and heated the whole lemons in the microwave on high power for 10 seconds. I then cut them in half and juiced both lemons.
Finally, I pulled two more lemons from the crisper, and heated the whole lemons in the microwave on high power for 20 seconds. I then cut them in half and juiced both lemons.
The results were even better than I expected. The lemons juiced straight from the refrigerator produced just under 2/3 cup of juice. The lemons that were microwaved for 10 seconds no longer felt cool to the touch, but they didn't quite feel warm either. These lemons showed a very small improvement, producing exactly 2/3 cup of juice.
Microwaving the lemons for 20 seconds left them feeling just a little bit warm and softer than the lemons that were pulled straight from the refrigerator. These lemons produced 3/4 cup of juice — considerably more than the previous to batches.
Verdict: This is a mind-blowing tip!
This small step is definitely worthwhile if you're planning to juice lemons, or any other type of citrus, with 20 seconds on high being the best place to start.