Why Everyone Needs a Lemon Squeezer

updated May 1, 2019
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If you already have a hand-held lemon squeezer, and I imagine that you likely do, congratulations: you are living your best life (at least, re: lemons). But if you have not yet surrendered to the marvel that is a hand-held lemon squeezer, I humbly suggest you are letting greatness escape your grasp.

My Lemon Squeezer: A Personal History

There was a time, not so long ago, when I did not have a hand-held lemon squeezer. I was young then, and foolish. Also, my food was missing an acidic tang, presumably from the absence of all the lemons I was not squeezing.

Now the hand-held lemon squeezer is a staple of my kitchen. It is not fair to say I use it to squeeze lemons daily, but that is only because I also use it for limes. (Technically, you can get a separate device for this, which is slightly smaller and often green; I advise against it. Let’s not get greedy.)

As a testament to my evangelism, last New Year’s, my boyfriend and I vowed never again to travel without a lemon squeezer, if the travel will involve cooking. Since then, we have not actually gone anywhere, so this vow has yet to be tested, but I am optimistic. Lemons are important, and we are people of our word.

The Wrong Kind of Lemon Squeezer

Growing up, my mother had the kind of lemon squeezer where you impale the lemon and sort of twist it until all the juice and pulp have run into the dainty glass dish below. These are very effective, I think, and also satisfying, in a visceral sort of way. It is in fact possible that in terms of sheer quantity of juice, this kind of lemon squeezer — let us call it is glorified reamer — is even more effective than the hand-held lever-based kind. I am not a scientist.

But with lemons, as with life, there is more to consider than efficiency. What of convenience, for example? What of pleasure?

The Right Kind of Lemon Squeezer

What you need is a hand-held squeezer, where you press the lemon between two metal pieces until it is thoroughly juiced.

If there is a single advantage to this kind of squeezer (there are many, but consider this a thought experiment), it is that unlike pretty much any other mode of lemon-squeezing, the lever-based hand press does not make your hands citrus-y. If you have cracked, dry skin and/or a delicate sensibility, this is very important. Lemon juice hurts, and will also make your hands smell vaguely lemon-y for the rest of the day. How you feel about this last point is a bit of a toss-up — lemon is a lovely scent, according to soap-makers — but I personally am against it.

The hand-held squeezer requires no technique and no instructions: cut the lemon and squeeze it directly into the receptacle of your choice. Because I am a risk-taker, I squeeze straight into the pan.

The squeezer gets more juice out of each lemon than I could possibly get with my own hands, which again, are very delicate. It even catches the seeds.

Truly, the hand-held lemon squeezer is a perfect invention. Levers are an excellent mechanism; sometimes, I wonder if we don’t take advantage of them enough.

If you have any concerns that you wouldn’t use a lemon squeezer enough to make it worth the very minimal investment, then I worry you are not using enough lemons. Lemons make almost everything taste better in the way salt makes everything taste better, and therefore you can and should be using your lemon squeezer all the time.

Buying Your Very Own Lemon Squeezer

Now that I’ve convinced you that you need a lemon squeezer of the hand-held variety, which one should you get, in particular? Personally, I am partial to yellow ones, since lemons are yellow, but I realize this suggests a general lack of imagination on my part. Here are four to choose from — two yellow, two that are not.

4 Lemon Squeezers to Try

Do you have a lemon squeezer? Do you like it? Do tell.