One thing Canadian seasons can promise is that when our berries and tender fruit are readily available, citrus is not. If you’ve picked up limes lately you’ve probably noticed that they’re starting to get small, hard and dry. Since it isn’t citrus season in the south, where the majority of our citrus comes from, the pickings are getting slim. But for late spring and summer, in honour of all your lime needs (hello mojitos!), here are a few tips to get every last drop of juice out of those limes.
1. Use a reamer or juicer.
Using a sharp hand reamer or juicer is the easiest and most efficient way to get the juice from your limes. Note: If you’re working with a wooden reamer and it’s dull, replace it. You need sharp edges to break the membranes and release the juices.
2. Soften the skin.
Rolling and pressing your limes on a hard counter prior to slicing can soften the flesh and make it easier to release the juices when you squeeze your limes.
3. Put them in the microwave.
Heating your limes in the microwave on high for 15 seconds works to soften the rind and flesh, making them softer and easier to squeeze. (This is a good idea if you are working with cold limes.)
4. Jab and poke the dry ones.
If your lime is very dry, use a fork to poke the flesh once the lime is cut in half. Then proceed with a reamer or juicer.
5. When all else fails, zest!
When the juice just isn’t there, improvise. Use a Microplane and add some lime zest to the recipe. Zest won’t add the acidity of lime juice, but it will add the lime flavour. Note: Zest can be bitter so use sparingly.
6. Stop storing limes on the counter.
There’s nothing prettier than a bowl of citrus on the kitchen counter, but it’s the worst way to store citrus. Limes left out at room temperature will gradually lose their moisture and their rinds will become hard. To preserve the juice the limes do have, place them in a plastic bag, loosely, and store in the crisper.
Watch: How to make a spicy mojito
Originally published May 2014. Updated January 2021.