A common and easy to find ingredient, limes are a staple in Asian cuisine, used in the cooking process as well as in food presentations as a garnish. Bursting with freshness, limes exert a tangy bite, a welcome addition to heavier dishes or hot soups. Limes are particularly prevalent in Southeast Asian cooking in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

A good lime should have a smooth texture, a uniformly vibrant green color and should be somewhat soft to the touch. Limes that don’t give way at all when squeezed will yield little to no juice. Many professional chefs have their own tricks when it comes to getting the most out of a lime.

As someone who tries very hard to stay away from unhealthy ingredients and techniques, I rarely use the method of sticking a lime in a microwave for a few seconds to soften it up. Unless I’m in a very high pressure situation cooking for large numbers of people at breakneck speed, I always opt for this natural method of getting the most out of a lime.

If you squeeze the lime and it feels pretty soft, then all you need to do is place the lime on a firm, flat surface and roll it around for a few seconds with the palm of your hand. This really helps loosen the juice to make sure you can extract every drop. If you squeeze the lime and it feels pretty hard then simply submerge it for a few minutes in a bowl of hot water. Remove the lime then and follow the step of rolling it for a few seconds on a firm surface to loosen up the juices.