Does Cutting a Lemon Lengthwise Really Give You More Juice?

published Feb 6, 2014
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(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

The Internet is full of so-called mind-blowing tips! Even we here at The Kitchn are not immune to the lure of the mind-blowing tip: we see them, we share them, and 95 percent of the time, we immediately forget about them. But how many of these “life-changing” tips actually work? Can they survive the leap from Pinterest board to real-life kitchen? I decided to find out by putting some of the web’s most intriguing, promising and potentially mind-blowing tips to the test, and I’ll be sharing the results with you every week.

Up first is a tip from Gourmet that we shared last year: cutting your lemons and limes lengthwise instead of crosswise will give you way more juice. Too good to be true? Armed with a couple lemons, a kitchen scale and a citrus reamer, I decided to find out.

The Original Tip

The original tip can be seen in the video above. In it, Ian Knauer demonstrates how cutting a lemon lengthwise — instead of the usual crosswise — results in about three times more juice. He doesn’t weigh or otherwise measure the two lemons he juices to compare their sizes before juicing and he uses a simple manual citrus juicer to extract the juice. He pours the resulting juice into a liquid measuring cup to approximately measure the amount of juice each lemon produces.

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

The Testing Method

Obviously, my home kitchen is not a laboratory or even a professional test kitchen, but I thought I could get a little more scientific in my testing of this tip. First, I weighed the lemons to find two lemons of approximately the same size. I cut the slightly heavier lemon crosswise, figuring that if this tip really worked, the amount of the juice from the lengthwise lemon would be so much more, it would overwhelm the two-gram difference in starting weight.

→ Lemon 1: 123 grams, cut crosswise
→ Lemon 2: 121 grams, cut lengthwise

Then I used a hand reamer to extract the juice from each lemon into separate measuring cups. I removed any seeds that ended up in the juice and weighed the juice each lemon produced.

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

The Results

As you can probably see just by looking at the amount of juice I got in the photo above, the difference was disappointingly small.

Lemon 1 (Cut crosswise): 43 grams of juice
Lemon 2 (Cut lengthwise): 46 grams of juice

Even adding back in the two-gram difference between the two lemons, that would only be five grams of extra juice from the lemon cut lengthwise. Five grams of lemon juice is about 5 milliliters, or about one US teaspoon. One extra teaspoon of lemon juice is nice to have, sure, but it isn’t blowing anybody’s mind.

Verdict: This is not a mind-blowing tip.

Final Notes

I did notice that the lemon halves cut lengthwise were a lot more flexible and easier to squeeze, so I could see how you might get more juice this way when squeezing your citrus with only your hands, without a reamer or citrus juicer. So if you find yourself having to make mojitos in an ill-equipped kitchen, remember this tip! Otherwise, just stick with cutting your citrus whichever direction you like.

(Image credit: Anjali Prasertong)

Do you have any tried-and-true tips for getting more juice from citrus? And are there any “mind-blowing” tips you want us to put to the test? Let us know in the comments!