Tips, tricks, and tools of the trade: Kitchen Hacks is a series of posts aimed at giving your culinary skills a little more swagger. These are the trade secrets and flashes of kitchen brilliance picked up along a life behind the line.
Look at you: you graduated, packed up, kissed mom and dad goodbye and shipped off to NYC, California, Kalamazoo, wherever! You’ve got your first apartment and hopefully a job and maybe a goldfish that you’re really confident will live more than 2 weeks… You can do it all! You’ve invited your friends over for margaritas to celebrate, of course.
Except… except, between you and your roommate you’ve only got a handful of utensils and kitchen tools (your 20s! So fun!); but there’s a mountain of limes on the table and, you wanted to be able to hold that drink after you finished squeezing all of them, didn’t you?
If you don’t have a citrus reamer or juicer handy this situation is bound to put you off fresh lime or lemon or any citrus juice for a while, which might mean no fresh margaritas for a while, which is terrible. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And no, you’re not allowed to use the bottled juice. Repeat: you are NOT allowed to use the bottled juice.
Ok so how do we do this? Chances are, you probably own tongs. Too fancy? You hopefully own one spoon. If you’ve got either of those things, then we’re in business.
Also helpful to have is a bowl for the juice and a strainer to catch the seeds – just remember to juice the fruit into a separate bowl if you don’t have a strainer, so you don’t get seeds in whatever you’re making and have to fish about for them after:
Cut the lemon/lime/orange/grapefruit in half. Hold the tongs together; over a bowl, press the ends down hard into the center of the fruit, twisting and rotating the tongs to scrape around the sides, while also squeezing down on the fruit with your hands. Make sure you hold the tongs slightly angled up; because if you don’t, that juice is going to go all over the floor. You can do the same thing with a spoon – just stick the bowl-end into the pulp and start twisting like the cocktail-starved fiend you are.
Making a slice through the pulp before you start can make this even easier. I’ve also heard that microwaving the lemon or lime can make juicing easier, but hot juice isn’t something I really want in a margarita. Or ever.
Have a hack you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments!