Step 1: Choose wisely.
Before we take a closer look at the lemon wedge, it's worth mentioning that the type of lemon you buy will affect how much liquid you get out of it. According to Harold McGee's book, On Food and Cooking, most lemons (the traditional ones you see in supermarkets are Eurekas or Lisbons) are "cured" for better shelf life, meaning they are picked green and held in controlled conditions for several weeks. Their skins yellow, thin and develop a waxy surface and the juice vesicles (the membranes that hold the fruit) enlarge. Meyer lemons have all these attributes—and though they are smaller in size, they have an even thinner skin and are less acidic than the regular varieties. They produce more juice per lemon, not to mention a sweet and delicious thyme flavor.

Step 2: Prep your lemon (really!)
Many fruits have a brighter, richer taste at room temperature, and lemons are no exception. But just because these citrus fruits can stay out (and look stunning in a bowl on your table) doesn't mean they should, so store them in the refrigerator. Take a lemon out about an hour before you plan to cut it, so it can warm to room temperature and the membranes inside can loosen up, making it easier to squeeze. Don't have an hour? Zap the lemon in the microwave for 10 seconds or dunk it into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Then roll it around on the countertop, applying light pressure with the palm of your hand to help literally get the juices flowing.

Step 3: Go horizontal, instead of vertical.
While you might usually take your knife and start cutting from stem end to bottom tip for wedges, this new technique is a bit counterintuitive but works like a charm. First, slice off the ends of the lemon, removing both the stem end and the bottom tip. Next, halve the lemon lengthwise, as you normally would. Then, cut it into wedges; you should be able to get three to four wedges from each half. Finally, lay each wedge flat on its side and cut cleanly across the top, removing the top layer, along with any membrane or seeds. Then it's ready, aim, squeeze. Without those pesky ends interfering with the juice flow, that sweet-tart nectar will go straight down instead of squirting onto someone else's plate (or—ow!—into their eye).


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