The Pegu Blog Answers the Questions You Didn’...

The Pegu Blog Answers the Questions You Didn’t Ask #2: Lime Juice

From time to time, I look through my logs to see what kind of search terms people are putting into Google or Yahoo that end up bringing them here. The two that seem to be a running theme are inquiries about Tony Sinclair, and a burning desire to find out how much juice there is in a lime.
I’ve touched on this before, but for those who come here looking for just this info, here it is. I’ll start with an uncharacteristically brief version, then proceed in my usual maundering style for the long form.

How Much Juice Will I Get From One Lime?
One Ounce.
There. How’s that?

Fortunately, that is not remotely all the story, or I’d have a real short post!
Why do you need to know how much juice is in one lime? Do you have a recipe that calls for the juice of one lime?, or do you need 1 oz. lime juice? Is it for a cocktail, a cake, or perhaps a sauce?
If you are making food, first ask ourself one question: Am I baking, or am I cooking? Food Genius, Alton Brown says over and over on his show, and in his book I’m Just Here for More Food that cooking is an art, but baking is chemistry. When cooking a sauce, or entrée, or some such, feel free to go all Benihana and madly squeeze the requisite lime halves right in and be about your business. You folks are done with this post. One lime = one ounce juice. Go about your business. For bakers, you just can’t count on it: Measure your squeezings!
What about cocktails? Art or science? Art. But be reasonably precise anyway. Precision is important in cocktails. The amounts are small, so variations of even a small amount will result in large flavor changes.
What causes variations in how much juice you get? Well, size for one. Even thought current commercially available limes are pretty uniform in size, they are not clones. And if you slip up and get stuck with a bag of Key Limes, then all bets are off. But don’t get stuck with them unless you really want them. The flavor is very different.
More important than size, which effects a few limes, is squeezing method, which effects every lime you squeeze. I don’t like power juicers, so I won’t address them here. That leaves me with three basic methods.
The first method is called the Mark I Hand. Cut your lime in half, position over the vessel, and squeeze the dickens out of it. With an average sized lime, this will probably get you:

  • Much less than an ounce of juice.
  • Cramps

I don’t recommend it.
The second method is to use a reamer. You cut your lime in half, jam the pointy end of the reamer into it, then squeeze and turn the lime and the reamer. When you are done, you will have:

  • Less severe cramps.
  • Somewhere between one half and one ounce of juice. With very little idea where you are in between.
  • A sticky mess in your hands, and on the counter around whatever you were squeezing the juice into.

I still recommend this over the hand. You can get a lot more juice out of your lime, especially with practice.
The third method, and my favorite, is to use a hand juicer, like the OXO Citrus Press. You put each lime half in the squeezer, and give it several good squeezes. By your second or third try, you will end up with:

  • Relatively little mess.
  • Clean hands.
  • On the close order of one ounce of lime juice per lime squeezed!

Obviously, this is how I recommend you juice limes. It is even easy enough to get me to more often than not these days put up with the inventory issue of keeping limes on hand. These days I actually squeeze my own for Pegus and other cocktails more than using bottled lime juice.


  1. Marleigh

    8 May

    The citrus squeezer is my bartending saviour. Greatest invention ever. Possibly.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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