How to Cut and Juice a Lime

June 22, 2010

How frustrating it can be to juice a lime! Limes are arranged a bit differently than lemons, so that standard cut-in-half-and-squeeze method produces pretty unsatisfying results. Add that frustration to a recipe calling for half a cup of lime juice and, well…  many of us give up and reach for the ReaLime.  And that is so NOT OK in my books. We need fresh (fresh!) lime juice for vibrant zing in salsa, Thai dipping sauce, Vietnamese noodle salad!  So here I give you a trick that will help you squeeze limes with a minimum of effort, and a maximum of juice.

Most of my cooking class students are already privy to my lime-juicing trick, but I know that they sometimes forget, and new people want to know this, too.  The method I am about to show you is a variation on the bartending cut, meaning that  the lime peices, when squeezed, will pour juice downward into the proper receptacle, rather than sideways. This also a very handy trick for you Corona-lovers out there. So here it is.

1. Start with a lime, a paring knife, and a small bowl or ramekin.

2.a) Make the first cut, which should be lengthwise, rather than crosswise, and just to the side of the stem.

 2.b) The cut piece should look like this.

3. Rotate the lime one quarter-turn and make the second cut, which should be the same as the first: lengthwise and to the side of the stem.

4. Repeat step 3 twice more.

5. You will end up with a rectangular core and 4 oval-ish pieces of lime.

6. Now juice one of the cut pieces of lime (not the core) by squeezing over the bowl with your fingers, like you see above. Because of the clever way you have cut the lime, the juice will go down into the bowl, rather than sideways.

7. Repeat this squeezing with the remaining pieces of lime (still not the core, though!)

8. Now to the core. Hold the core over your bowl or ramekin, with a green end in each hand. Twist it like you are wringing water out of wet clothing. Twist and wring. See?

9. And there you have it! About 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and a minimum of hand-soreness or mess. A juicier lime will yield even more juice.

P.S. I first learned how to do this while working at ReBar. Though we did not use this method in our juice bar, the illustrations of how to properly cut a lime were stamped on the sides of the giant 50 lb boxes of limes we brought in for the bar. I think lime companies should put little stickies on each lime illustrating this. That would be a good thing.

Comments (37)

  1. I learned this juicing method in one of Heidi’s East Indian Food classes, and it IS amazing and simple… and then time went by and I completely forgot how to do it, though I did remember Heidi had shown us. I even went to Google to try to find these instructions and couldn’t find any help. I am so glad you have started a blog, and written about this!

  2. Heidi, I’ve been dazzling people with this trick ever since I learned it one of your classes. It’s very good for my image as a budding home chef :) Thank you!

  3. Pure genius. Although I may have to adjust my recipes that call for juice of one lime – I think some of them don’t know this tip :)

  4. Thanks so much for the tips and photos — I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before and I just SO many limes! Will definitely use use your method next time :)

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