Kickstarting a juicing hobby is exciting – not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing something good for your health, but you’re also set to experiment with endless juice combinations and flavors.
One of the most common fruits used to add a depth of flavor to juices is lemon juice. But lemons have a much thicker, tougher skin than other fruits, and this may leave you wondering whether it’s okay to put the whole fruit, peel and all, in your juicer.
I’m here to tell you that the answer is no: you’ll be better off peeling your lemons before juicing.
Well – technically, the juicing police won’t hunt you down if you do put your lemons in the juicer with their peels on, but there are some disadvantages to adding the peel that may make you think twice before doing it.
In this article, I’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of peeling a lemon before you juice it. I’ve also shared a quick guide on how to prepare lemons for juicing, in case that’s new to you, and looked at the best type of juicer for lemons with their skins intact.
🧐 What Are the Disadvantages of Removing Lemon Peels Before I Juice Them?
I know – I said that you should remove lemon peels before juicing. But it’s worth looking at both sides of the story. The biggest drawbacks of removing lemon peels are as follows:
You’re Losing Nutrients
Like many fruit skins, lemon skin is packed with nutrients. In fact, lemon rinds contain the highest concentration of nutrients in the whole fruit.
The vitamin C, antioxidants and antibacterial compounds in lemon skin make it effective in fighting bacterial infections, and even in reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Vitamin C is particularly important, and can boost the immune system, support the cells in growth and repair, and lower blood pressure.
It’s Messier And Takes Longer
Though it won’t add hours to the juicing process, there’s no denying that juicing will take longer if you peel your lemons.
To peel your lemons, you’ll need to either use your fingers, which is messy, or a paring knife, which has an element of danger. If you’re making a huge batch of lemon juice, you’ll have to go through more than 10 lemons – and if you peel every single one, you could add up to 10 minutes of extra time to the process.
❔ What Are the Advantages of Removing the Peel Before I Juice Lemons?
Removing the peel from your lemons has the following benefits:
You’re Protected From Pesticides
Drinking the juice of peeled lemons is much safer, as you’ll have removed any potential pesticides that the skin may contain. Pesticides can cause serious human health risks, including certain types of cancer.
Thankfully, the outer skin of lemons protects the fruit inside, which means that you’re unlikely to consume pesticides in your lemon juice if you remove the skin.
It’s Kinder To Your Stomach
Another advantage of peeling your lemons is that you can avoid digestive issues. The skins of lemons contain a very high vitamin C content that can be difficult for the stomach to digest if you’re not used to it.
Even if you decide to keep the rind in place, I advise removing at least half the lemon peel to begin with, which will give you an idea of how your stomach reacts to the additional vitamins and flavonoids in the skin.
It’ll Taste Nicer
Most people agree that lemon juice recipes have a nicer taste when the lemon skins have been removed. Both lemon skin and pulp give lemons a bitter taste that many people find unpleasant. Removing the skin will decrease the amount of pulp in your juice, too.
Your Juice Extractor Will Thank You
Finally, your juicing machine will be better protected if you remove the skin from your lemon fruit before juicing. Juice extractors are expensive, especially the electric models, and preparing your fruit to make it easier to process will help ensure that your machine has a long lifespan.
🤔 Does Removing The Skin Change The Taste?
You might be worried that removing the skin of the lemon will have an effect on the flavor of your juice. Perhaps it won’t be as sweet without juice from the peel?
In fact, lemon peel isn’t sweet – it’s bitter. For most people, removing the skin from lemons gives their fresh juices a better taste. This one is your choice, though. If you enjoy the taste of lemon rind, then you may decide to keep it on.
As I mentioned in an earlier point, lemon skin is very nutritious. You don’t have to add it to your juices, though – you can grate or zest the skin and add it to baked goods, salads, sauces or smoothies instead.
📋 How to Prepare Lemons for Juicing
There are only four simple steps to preparing lemons for juicing:
1. Wash The Lemons
Before doing anything, even if you plan to peel your lemons, wash them. Simply hold under running water and wash with your other hand or a soft-bristled brush.
2. Peel The Lemons
If you decide to remove the skin before you extract the juice from your lemons, now is the time to peel them. I’ve shared my tips on how to peel lemons later in this guide if you’re looking for the fastest and easiest method.
3. Cut The Lemons
Depending on the juicing machine you’re using, you’ll most likely need to cut your lemons into smaller segments after peeling. Most juicer models are best equipped for juicing small amounts of fruits and vegetables at a time. Cutting your lemons will also make it easier to fit them down your juicer’s feed chute.
Even if you’re hand-juicing, cutting the lemons into smaller slices is a good idea. Juicing citrus by hand is easier when you slice your fruits into quarters, rather than halves.
4. Juice The Lemons
Finally, add your lemons to your juicing machine and wait for it to extract the juice. (Alternatively, if you’re hand juicing, get squeezing!). There are plenty of fruits and vegetables you can combine with lemons, including mango, other citrus fruit, ginger, berries, apricot, and even banana.
It’s important to drink your fresh juice as soon after making it as possible, while it still contains the most health-beneficial vitamins and antioxidants.
⭐ Importance of Washing Lemons
Lemons, like most non-organic fruits and vegetables you’ll find in grocery stores in the US, are sprayed with chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides during farming. These chemicals help protect crops from diseases and pests, but, like the majority of chemicals out there, they’re not intended for human consumption.
Washing your lemons will remove pesticides that may be embedded into the skin. It’s worth using a brush that’s designed for cleaning fruits and vegetables, or at least a toothbrush, as this will help scrape away some of the more deeply engrained pesticides.
I would even recommend washing your lemons if they’re organic, as the running water will remove any caked-on dirt and bacteria. Your lemons might not have been washed thoroughly before you bought them, so it’s worth doing the job yourself as a precautionary measure.
Don’t wash your lemons until you’re ready to juice them. That way, you know you’re also removing any particles that may have found their way onto your lemons during storage.
📌 How to Peel Lemons
You can peel lemons with your fingers, but it’s very difficult. Lemons have thicker skin than other citrus fruits, like oranges, and you’ll struggle to break into the rind, especially if you don’t have long fingernails.
The best lemon peeling method is to use a small paring knife. Begin by cutting off the top and the bottom of the lemon, then cut and rotate the lemon, removing the peel from top to bottom.
You could also chop off the top and base of the lemon, then stand it up straight on your cutting board and use your paring knife to cut downwards, peeling the skin in sections.
A simpler method, if you plan to zest the peel, is to grate or zest the peel while it’s still on the lemon. You can then trim off any remaining skin and rind with a paring knife.
💭 Which Type of Juicer is Best for Lemons With the Peel Intact?
If you plan to juice peel-less lemons, the obvious choice is a citrus juicer. However, this juicing method can produce a lot of wet pulp, which you might not enjoy in your lemon juice. Citrus juicing machines are also, as the name suggests, limited to citrus fruits, so they’re not ideal for people who are looking to make a fresh juice concoction out of a variety of fruits and veggies.
Most importantly, citrus juicers are no good if you’re looking to juice lemons with the peel intact, as they’re not capable of processing the peels.
To get the highest yield from lemons with peels, you need a masticating juicer, or a slow juicer. This type of juicer does a more thorough job at juicing, meaning you’ll get all the juice that’s available in your lemons – even the juice from the peel, which you’d never squeeze out by hand. Only the pulp will get left behind.
While masticating juicers are more expensive and slower to produce a result than centrifugal juicers, they’re worth the higher price tag and extra wait. They produce less waste, which means you can buy less produce for the same amount of juice, and they have enough power behind them to process citrus peels without a problem.