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How to Juice a Key Lime in 3 Easy Steps

how to make key lime juice

Key limes are often hard and rocky, which makes juicing them a whole lot of work. Oftentimes, many people complain how hard it is to get juice out of key limes but you can easily juice a key lime using different methods. In this article, we will look at three easy ways to juice a key lime. So, how do you squeeze juice from key lime?

You squeeze juice out of a key lime by first allowing it to ripen, then cutting it in halves or wedges and pressing them with your fingers, a fork or a juicer. How much juice you get depends a lot on the ripening stage and the squeezing technique.

Before we proceed, you must understand that juicing is harder when key limes are still very fresh and green as this makes the rind structure tough and non-flexible.

Fresh, dark green key limes, especially those commonly available at Grocery stores are not ripe. And because they’re not ripe, they are hard and Squeezing the juice will only be tougher.

It’s best to look for key limes that are slightly ripe and greenish-yellowish. I notice these have a smoother skin texture and of course, thinner rinds than their dark green counterparts.

However, if you can’t find any ripe key limes near you, it’s okay to get the dark green ones, and allow to ripen accordingly. Read further as we walk you through the step by step process to squeezing juice from key limes.

What Exactly would You Need to Juice a Key Lime? 

Tools you’ll need include:

  • A Good Knife
  • A chopping board or your kitchen countertop
  • A fork
  • A Juice Press or Juice Extractor (optional)

How to Juice a Key Lime in 3 Steps

  1. Prep the Key Lime for the Squeeze
  2. Cut the Key Lime
  3. Squeeze the Key Lime

Step 1 – Prep the Key Limes for Easier Juicing

I hardly get any juice out of key limes when green and rock hard, but after letting it sit for a few days when they begin to ripen, I’m surprised at how much juice I get from them – even more than regular limes. So, forgo any idea of key limes being difficult to juice, as how much juice you get out of them would depend on the technique applied. These are the four “softening” hacks to employ on making a key lime prepped for juicing.

  1. Allow to Ripen.
    When you buy them green and fresh, allow them to ripen before squeezing. What I usually do is to let the fresh limes sit for about 3 to 4 days when they begin to ripen and turn yellowish. When they ripen, they squeeze easily.
  2. Force-Ripen
    If you can’t wait 3 days to get them to ripen , you can do the following before juicing them. These hacks often employ the theory of “softening” the key lime fruit and prepping it for the squeeze. Place fresh green key limes alongside ripe fruits like mango, oranges or apples. The ethylene released by the fruits will cause rapid ripening of the limes, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Run Under Medium Hot Water
    Run under or soak in slightly hot water for 10 to 20 seconds. This should loosen up the rind structure a bit and prep it enough for juicing.
  1. Roll on a Surface
    Roll key lime with your palms pressing firmly on the counter top several times until you feel it’s a little softened. You can also do this with a spatula or knead. But be careful not to rip open the fruit as you do so.
    Once softened, you can then proceed to juice them.

Step 2 – Cut the Key Limes 

Step 3: Squeeze the Key Lime

So, how do you get juice out of key lime? There are several methods you can use to squeeze juice out of key limes. You can either use an electric juicer, a juice press, a rimmer or just doing it manually with your hands or with a fork. Below, we describe the two main methods you can use to get juice out of a key lime.

When I use all of these techniques, I typically get 3 to 4 times more juice than I normally would. So you can try these for yourself and let me know in the comment section if it works for you.

Method 1: How to Juice a Key Lime without a Juicer

There are some drawbacks to juicing a key lime with a juicer. Sometimes I recommend juicing manually, without a juicer as using one could make the key lime skin or inner whitish pulp leech into the juice and this makes it taste not so good.

You can juice a key lime without a juicer by placing a cut key lime between your index finger, your second finger and your thumb and then pressing firmly until the juice drips out. How much juice you get depends on how strong the squeeze is as well as ripening stage of the key lime. How to juice a key lime without juicer

Also, key lime juice made using juicers, especially electric juicers appear frothy, not something you’ll like for some recipes. Besides, key limes are very small when compared to regular limes, and so, this makes the fruit so difficult to sit and de-skin before placing in the juicer.

Again, depending on how much key limes you want to juice, it may just be a whole lot more complicated work to use a juicer as you’ll need to de-skin and possibly de-seed them first.

There are two ways to juice a key lime without using a juicer. They include:

  1. Using Your fingers (hands)
  2. Using a fork

 

Juicing a Key lime with Your fingers

You can juice a key lime without a juicer by placing a cut key lime between your index finger, your second finger and your thumb and then pressing firmly until the juice drips out.

How much juice you get depends on how strong the squeeze is as well as ripening stage of the key lime.

  1. Cut the key limes laterally into halves or quarters.
  2. Place each cut piece between your index finger, second finger, and thumb.
  3. Squeeze juice into a bowl until what’s left is mushy and there’s no juice left.
  4. Strain seeds using a mesh strainer
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or fill in juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and store up to 2 months

Juicing a Key lime with a fork

  1. Cut the key limes laterally into halves or quarters.
  2. Place each cut piece between your thumbnail and first finger, stick a fork to the middle of the lime and then squeeze into a bowl until what’s left is mushy and there’s no juice left.
  3. Strain seeds using a mesh strainer
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or fill in juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and store up to 2 months.

Method 2: How to Juice a Key lime Using a Juicer

While it’s tedious juicing a key lime without a juicer, I often recommend to juice your key lime with a juicer if you are preparing a large batch of key lime juice. Oftentimes, it becomes inconvenient juicing a whole bag of key limes if you want to do so manually.

To juice a key lime using a juicer;

  1. Peel or De-skin key limes (optional)
  2. Cut key limes into lateral halves
  3. Place the cut key limes onto the juicer and pulse ( for electric juicers) or press and squeeze firmly (for manual juice press or rimmers).
  4. Collect juice in a Mason Jar, cover tightly and store for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

The first and the third step above would depend on the type of juicer you use. While an electric juicer may need you to de-skin or de-seed, a juice press may need some but of manual effort by pressing and squeezing. how to juice a key lime with juicer

A citrus juicer with key lime

How much juice you get would depend on the type of juicer and ripening stage of the key lime. Electric juicers may give more juice, but you’ll have to contend with it been frothy with some traces of the inner whitish pulp.

There are different types of juicers you can use but depending on the brand and quality, there are some that may need you to de-skin and de-seed while some others have this added functionality.

It’s easier to use a juicer or juice squeezer for this but remember, there’s a drawback doing this as explained earlier. However, a juicer makes it much more convenient especially if you’re juicing a whole lot of key limes. Juicers come in various types including electric and manual juicers.

There are 3 ways you can juice a key lime using a juicer. These methods you employ will depend on the type of citrus juicer. They are;

  1. Using an electric citrus juicer
  2. Using a manual Juice Press
  3. Using a Rimmer

To squeeze juice out of key limes with an electric juicer:

  1. Peel or De-skin key limes (optional)
  2. Cut key limes into chunks or slices
  3. Place the cut key limes onto the juicer and pulse.
  4. Collect juice in a Mason Jar, cover tightly and store for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, you can fill juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and store up to 2 months.

Juicing a Key lime with a Juice Press:

  1. Cut the key limes laterally into halves only.
  2. Place each cut half piece between inside a juice press. Most juice presses come with a seed strainer. Simply press over a bowl.
  3. Repeat until all is done.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or fill in juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and store up to 2 months

Juicing a Key lime with a Citrus Rimmer:

  1. Cut the key limes laterally into halves.
  2. Place each cut piece on the tile of a rimmer and rim through the key lime.
  3. Squeeze as you rim over a bowl or jar
  4. Strain seeds using a mesh strainer
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or fill in juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and store up to 2 months

How to Preserve Key Lime Juice

Fresh key limes typically tend to go bad after one week, so, it’s a worry never to always finish a bag within a few days. While this is often the case, it’s safe to prep and freeze them for longer and for more lasting use.

You can preserve key lime juice in two ways:

  1. for shorter storage, store in Collect juice in a Mason Jar, cover tightly and store for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  2. For longer storage, fill in key lime juice into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and store up to 2 months

How much juice should you expect from one key lime?

While the amount of juice you’ll get from one key lime would vary a lot from technique and method employed, its safe to expect certain quantity for your use.

Typically, you should expect to get 6ml of juice per key lime when juiced. But this can vary between 4ml and 7ml as it depends a lot on ripening phase and squeezing technique.

Does key lime juice expire?

Ever wondered how long a homemade key lime juice typically keep for or how long before they go bad?

Key lime juice typically lasts 4 days when refrigerated. After then, they tend to go rancid and you shouldn’t use them. Store bought bottled key lime juice can last between one and two weeks after opening depending on brand.

Can I freeze Key Lime Juice?

Fresh key limes typically tend to go bad after one week, so, it’s a worry never to always finish a bag within a few days. While this is often the case, it’s safe to prep and freeze them for longer and for more lasting use.

You can freeze key lime juice for up to 2 months and use them when needed. Pour the juice in ice trays, freeze and transfer to filter bags when frozen. Freezing will not ruin the structure neither will it make it lose its nutrients.

It will retain its nutrients, while making it conveniently available for use anything you want. Besides, it helps on cutting wastage wen you buy bags of key limes from the grocery store. Since they often come discounted in those green mesh bags, so you end up cutting down on cost while having your own convenience.

Can I freeze key lime fruit?

Key limes are rare in many places, so it’s only a wise thing to order a batch and store them especially if you don’t want to juice them for storage immediately.

You can freeze whole or cut key lime fruits for up to 2 months and use or juice them when needed. However, if you must freeze them whole, ensure you freeze and only thaw once. Do not thaw and refreeze as this can make it become all soft and mushy.

Also, if you live in a city where they are hard to find, you can make a batch of key lime juice, fill them up in ice trays and then freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.

Final notes:

Key limes are not as hard to juice as many people would think. Successful juicing depends a lot on the ripening (maturity) of the key limes as well as the prepping and juicing technique employed. When preparing to juice a key lime, ensure it is ripe and ready to be juiced, cut it up laterally and squeeze out the juice using any convenient methods or tools as needed for you.

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