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May 18, 2010 01:48 PM

Squeezing key limes

To the person on this board that shared the secret to squeezing key limes: Thank you!! You are truly a cooking goddess!!!!

Made key lime pie last night. Worlds easiest dessert but a pain to squeeze all those little suckers.

The trick: cut them in 1/2 and put each half in a well cleaned garlic press - brilliant!!!

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  1. Ever try popping them in the microwave first?

    5 Replies
    1. re: porker

      You know I wondered if that would make them more juicy. But I was worried that it might also make them bitter. Does it really work?

      1. re: julesincoq

        Can't say for key limes 'cause I never had to squeeze any.
        But for regular limes, I cut 'em in half, place on a plate and blast them for 40-60 seconds (longer if I have more halves on the plate).
        I assume purists might have something to say about this, but I find the fruit gives up more juice much easier. Works with lemons too, but they're generally not so diffiucult to begin with.

        1. re: porker

          It is the white part of the lime that is bitter so I was thinking that if I cook the lime in its own skin then I would be cooking it in the bitter bit and I could be making the juice bitter. But then if you are only doing it for less than a minute it would made sense that you are not so much cooking it as softening it to make the juice come out more easily. I'm going to try that this weekend!

      2. re: porker

        I microwave lemons or limes on the Defrost setting for about 20 seconds to bring them up to room temperature when I've taken them from the refrigerator and need to squeeze them immediately. I'd be afraid to do it at full blast, though.

        1. re: masha

          The heat causes the loculi (juice-filled cells) to burst, releasing the juice and making the limes easier to squeeze. I either do the microwave technique or roll the limes around on the counter, until they're soft. I do this with lemons also. Cutting off the sides of the limes into three planked sections and cutting out a "core", rather than just cutting in half, allows you to get more juice as well, as it cuts through more section membranes. Squeeze the core, too.

      3. My key lime pie is even easier. I buy a bottle of Nellie and Joe's key lime juice.

        1 Reply
        1. tree-ripe key limes are not hard to squeeze. also, rolling any citrus fruit back and forth on the counter prior to squeezing makes it release more juice.

          10 Replies
          1. re: alkapal

            Or just pound with a rubber pallet a few times before cutting open and squeezing works like a charm as well.

            1. re: alkapal

              They're no fun when you have an entire bag of 'em to squeeze, however. I learned last Easter when my hand almost fell off. :)

              1. re: kattyeyes

                what did you need a whole bag for?

                1. re: alkapal

                  My guess is lots of mojitos! Just kidding, katty...

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    of course! what *was* i thinking?!
                    (i was saying to myself, no *pie* takes so much juice).

                    i have a new nickname for kattyeyes -- "the muddler"!

                    <"muddle me *this*, batman!>

                  2. re: alkapal

                    Key lime cheesecake. The recipe called for 2/3 cup...did it wear me out because I only had a lemon reamer to use at the time? I just remember my hand was killing me by the time I was done.

                    I like the "lots of mojitos" idea, though, I do confess. Maybe Johnny would like to be my "squeeze?" OK, I'll stop.

                    Your sista and buddy, the mad muddler!!! CHEERS!

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      mad muddler, the problem is that you're using the sorry key limes that are sent out of state (from florida or from elsewherei ). i wish that you could have good, fresh key limes from the sunshine state.

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          buy an electric juicer from a thrift store. oster. braun. krups. you can get good ones for under $5.

                          i love it in the winter, with all the citrus crops coming in. you can't beat fresh grapefruit juice!

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Great to know. I'll be on the lookout!

              2. Of course, there's always a lime squeezer. Mine is plain cast aluminum. I think I paid a buck or two for it, and it has lasted a couple of decades so far. It's by far the easiest way I've found to squeeze key limes.

                7 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  This is one of my favorite CH tips. I picked up an enameled one based on your input to a discussion about this topic last year. I use mine ALL THE TIME to make lemonade, mojitos...any time I need to squeeze fruit for juice...and I still thank you for it! :)

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Plus you can get color-coordinated squeezers, green for limes, which are smaller, I think, than the yellow, for lemons. I've seen orange ones, too!

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      Funny you bring this up. I have the lemon yellow one and use it for my limes, key and regular. I really wish I had the orange size because the lemons are often too big for the lemon squeezer. I need to graduate to orange. ;)

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        I have all 3 colored squeezers, and the orange one was not engineered properly and leaves behind a lot of juice. The lemon and lime ones are great. I bought a sack of 19 key limes this morning primarily for my cilantro corn tonight, and juicing them will be a whiz, including a couple for the cook's mojito. The key limes were $2.99 vs. $1.99/lb for skanky persian limes.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          I am green as a key lime with envy!

                    2. re: alanbarnes

                      Or use an electric juicer, my cheap oster works really well.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        I think I have the same juicer. I use it for regular limes, lemons, and oranges. But I find that the lime squeezer is more efficient for key limes.

                    3. I'm 62 and still have my mother's juicer:


                      Work great for all fruit juices.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: c oliver

                        Here in Phoenix we buy key limes by the bagful and our refrigerator is never without a supply. Mostly we use them in the world's best margaritas, but we use an antique juicer similar to the one pictured by c oliver (bought it at a yard sale, but sometimes they can be found online). We squeeze five or six cut halves at a time in this. If we just need the juice of one or two limes, we use the hand-held citrus juicer like the one pictured by alanbarnes. We would not dream of using bottled lime juice in its place. If we lived in an area where the key limes aren't available we would use something else. Incidentally, we've done side by side tastings of key limes and Persian and other limes commonly found in the markets and the key limes are by far the most flavorful.

                        1. re: kittyfood

                          I also have one of those vintage glass reamers that sits on the counter with a pour spout. We're going back to Rio in July and I plan to pick up one like Alan's. They cost about a buck there and aren't cutesy at all. Look like a tool, not a toy :)

                          1. re: kittyfood

                            Key limes year around in Phoenix? Where do they come from?