Culinistas's Kitchen

How to cut a lemon – the right way!

by The Culinistas

When life gives you lemons… know how to cut them up. We squeeze them for our dressings, julienne the rinds for our salads, and slice them for our spritzers. While you might be tempted to just chop them halfway, think again! We are here to teach you the most effective and beautiful ways to cut our favorite citrus. 

Wedges

Perfect for squeezing over salads, your favorite grain bowl or massaging into kale.

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Start by cutting 0.5-1” off the top and tail of the lemon. The fruit should now be in the shape of a barrel placed on its side. Stand the lemon up and slice into quarters. Take each quarter one at a time and hold it upright along the skin side. Slice down through the pith (the stringy, more sponge-like section at the center of a whole lemon), remove and discard the pith and seeds. Finally, lay each quarter on its side and cut it in half, to create 8 complete lemon wedges.

Lemon juice

The base of all our favorite vinaigrettes!

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Using a room temperature lemon, roll the lemon on your cutting board to get the juices flowing. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise instead of widthwise to expose more of the interior of the fruit, which will make it much easier to extract more juice. Use a fork to loosen up the interior membranes of the lemon to get as much juice as possible! You’re ready to start squeezing. 

Lemon slices

Ideal for fanning over fish before slow roasting, or garnishing our Lemon Thyme Shrimp

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On a flat cutting board, lay your lemon lengthwise and tuck your fingertips under your knuckles like a bear claw pastry. Using a sharp knife, pull back on the blade with a gentle downward single motion to create thin slices. Avoid a sawing motion, that will create a hacksaw like slice and will be less uniform. The more gentle and controlled you are, the more beautiful and uniform your slices will be!

Supremes (pith-free segments)

The elegant and impressive cut that works on any citrus

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This seems like an intense cut but it elevates any dish! Start by trimming the top and the tail of your lemon and stand it up on the base (like a barrel). Using your paring knife, follow the curve of lemon and remove the peel and pith (the bitter white bit of the peel). Make sure to trim your lemon of any excess peel and pith before you start supreming. Hold the naked lemon in your hand over a bowl to catch the supremes and excess juice. Locate the white/cloudy membrane that holds together the lemon segments; using your paring knife, carefully run the blade along the outside on the lemon segment that is attached to the membrane. Repeat on the other side so the supreme slice is released and falls into your bowl. Repeat until all segments are free, and touch up any pieces that may still have membrane attached. 

A special thanks to Nadia Agsen for the beautiful photograph.