Secret #9: Giving Citrus a Roll

Okay, it’s Day 9 of our 20-Day/20-Part series of blog posts titled “Tips, Tricks, and Secrets of Professional Chefs”. Last post, we talked about our 5 Tips for Perfect Pasta!

CitrusToday’s post is short, sweet (and a little sticky…) it’s Secret #9: Giving Citrus a Roll.

Whenever possible, when preparing a recipe that calls for lemon, lime, or orange juice, I try to go with fresh-squeezed. It tastes so much better!

Like many folks, I inherited one of those round “citrus juicers” from my mother’s kitchen, but here’s a trick Dad taught me, for getting the most out of my favorite fruits.

Before you halve your orange, lemon, or lime, place it on a flat surface, and roll it back and forth with the heel of your hand, exerting firm, constant, downward pressure. You want to press hard enough that you can feel the fruit give a little under your hand, but not too hard…or you’ll end up with a pulpy mess, and juice all over your kitchen!

Juicing a lemon

After a few rolls, you should be able to feel the fruit softening, as the pulp inside is crushed (which releases the juice). Now, place the fruit on a small plate or bowl to catch the extra juice, and slice it in half, across the middle, with a very sharp knife.


At this point, you can either use your citrus juicer, a press, or (what most chefs do) squeeze the fruit with one hand, and allow the juice to run through the fingers of the other (to catch any seeds or pulp) and into a bowl. Rotate the fruit 1/4 turn clockwise in your hand with each squeeze.

Straining Lemon Juice

By rolling the fruit first, you’ll get a lot more juice, for a lot less effort.

This is also a great job to assign to any junior kitchen assistants! Try it with one of my favorite summer drinks, Brazilian Limeade.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog and free newsletter for updates, and come back tomorrow for Secret #10: Mise en Place!


-Chef Perry


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3 thoughts on “Secret #9: Giving Citrus a Roll

  1. I have to say I was hoping for a little more information here so I have a couple questions.

    How do you store your citrus? (I heard they maintain their water content best whe stored in ziploc bags in the fridge.)

    Is there anything besides weight that determines the quality of the fruit? Is there a squeeze test of some sort? I remember buying oranges once that weight wise were perfect but were so green I could not peel them. =-(

    Is there a good way to quickly warm up cold citrus so it will juice easier…cold citrus seems to be harder to juice.

    Thanks =-)

  2. Well, Patty…none of those things were really the point of the post, lol. It was about how to roll citrus to make it easier to juice, and I think I covered that pretty well.

    I’ll look into your additional questions and come back with some answers, asap.

    -Chef Perry

  3. Pingback: Secret #10: Mise en Place |

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