How to Peel a Lemon

By Zora Hughes

Peeling a lemon isn't complicated, but how you do it determines what you can use the lemon peel for. Peeling the lemon in sections, from one end to the other, is simple and fast. You can use the sections for candied lemon peels, dry them for fragrant sachets or toss them in your garbage disposal as a natural deodorizer. Spiral peeling on the other hand, takes a bit more technique, but leaves you with a spiraled lemon peel you can use for garnishing drinks.

Peeling lemon
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Simmer lemon peels in water to give your kitchen a pleasant scent.

Section Peeling

Step 1

Slice off the two pointed ends of the lemon with a sharp chef's knife, so both ends are flat. Stand the lemon upright on one end.

Step 2

Position a paring knife on a top edge of the lemon, wedging it between the lemon flesh and the white pith and peel.

Step 3

Slice down the lemon until you reach the bottom, following the natural curve of the fruit and removing a section of peel. The sections you cut away can be any size, depending on your knife and how you plan to use the peels afterwards. Repeat all around the lemon until you have removed all of the peel.

Step 4

Cut away any remaining white pith with the paring knife.

Spiral Peeling

Step 1

Cut off both ends of the lemon with a sharp chef's knife.

Step 2

Hold the lemon in your non-dominant hand. Position the paring knife at the top end of the lemon, so it is parallel to the lemon.

Step 3

Cut away the peel carefully in a continuous spiral motion, from the top of the lemon to the bottom, rotating the lemon toward the knife as you go. Don't stop to cut off the spiraling peel until you have peeled the entire lemon, resulting in a long spiral you can use as a cocktail garnish.