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Mar 30, 2012 03:47 PM

Lemon pits... > why do they remain when lemons are about to be used/consumed?

Was watching Ina Garten today on her show where she was making a few dishes to be photographed. Bagels and cream cheese with smoked salmon on a white plate with accoutrements surrounding all.

My question is why on television do chefs or cooks in general have little concern about letting those seeds remain in the foods they're preparing? Ina had slices of lemons to go alongside of the smoked salmon all nicely sliced but all or most still containing the seeds. I've watched Jamie Oliver squeeze lemons over a food item as to add to the sauce I suppose all the while you can see the seeds going in the sauce and it's too late to retrieve them out, they're buried.
You get drinks from a bar, the lemon slice has seeds in it, my husband gets his margarita at our favorite Mexican restaurant and there are the lemon slices and the seeds.
Do you care about picking out your lemon seeds? Do you think people should have to have to pick them out themselves or do most not care that there are seeds that they could swallow? Let's consider teeth too. You could crack a tooth on a lemon pit, they're tough little buggers.

Is it laziness that they remain? Do food prep people not care? Are they not told to remove the seeds? Is it a 'slice and add to the plate' type thing without any concern for a potential problem?

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  1. Lemons sliced for drinks or garnishes are not that much of an issue, seedwise, as far as I am concerned. Many people never eat them, and if they squeeze some into their drink they can be avoided with the straw. De-seeding slices/wedges to be left whole is probably too time-consuming to be worthwhile in a professional kitchen. But when putting lemon juice in a sauce, there's no excuse for not juicing them in such a way as to strain out the seeds. Swallowing a pip isn't likely to harm you unless you have a pre-existing partial GI-tract obstruction. But you'd think restaurants would want to avoid liability for cracking a tooth on an undetectable pip.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Most of the cooking shows I watch go out of their way to show how to squeeze a lemon and retain the seeds.

      But for garnishes, too time consuming to remove. I used to bartend ages ago, and we never took the seeds out of lemons or oranges. It wasn't a problem with limes, and those are the ones that actually get squeezed into the drinks the most often.

      1. re: greygarious

        I'm into my oster juicer, where the seeds never make it into the receiving measuring cup.
        That's a for sure way to be seedless. And forgive me for saying not all straws are created equal. I've gotten a seed in my iced tea using the straw. Good thing was I felt it and spit it out but it shouldn't have been there. Watching RR an hour ago, she used her usual method of turning the lemon cut side up to sqeeze so seeds would have less chance of going in. I will say for IG, she does use an electric juicer same as I do for her fresh citrus juice, so no seeds.

        A couple of years ago, here in California at least, there was a tv reality show on with Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli where he created a cooking school. I think it took place around San Diego.
        He was so precise about his students doing things correctly in his eyes, but I was surprised that he wouldn't get upset with his students if during their final taste test, him being the tester, there were lemon seeds in their presentation.

        I love the word pip, greygarious.

      2. My first thought is; why is your husbands margarita coming with a lemon slice anyway? Shouldn't that be a LIME?

        I hate it when there are lemon pips in my food, and I use alot of lemons around here. Love, love lemon. I have a hand-held squeezer for a 1/2 lemon, which has a seed catcher on it. I use my old-fashioned glass citrus juicer which is a saucer shaped item with a striated cone in the center. I allways fish out the seeds before decanting juice for a recipe, etc.
        If I need sliced lemons for a dish or just a garnish, I make an effort to get meyer lemons, which have less seeds, or those small lemons, which also seem to have less seeds. If I found a bunch of pips in the slices, I would take the tip of a paring knife and try to remove at least most, unless the removal was destroying the slices shape and look, which can happen, then I sigh - and leave them be.

        1. Ugh - I absolutely HATE lemon seeds/pips in my food, & certainly do NOT expect to find them when I'm dining out. Definitely a sign of sloppy cooking.

          Biting down on one is bitter, unpleasant, & can completely ruin the flavor of an otherwise terrific dish or cocktail.