To light your next bonfire, just reach in your fridge...

Did you know that you can light a fire with a lemon?

It turns out, the jalapeño of the citrus world can operate like a battery, with enough energy to for a whole campfire. Next time you're in need of a good blaze — out in the woods or just standing at your own backyard grill, impress your friends and family with this trick. Be aware that it depends a bit on the lemon as well as how quickly your materials oxidize during use. But some lemony batteries last all day.

Take care only to set your fire outside in a safe space, or in a fireplace with an open flue. 

You'll need:

  • a lemon
  • 6 copper or brass push pins (alternatively copper nails)
  • 6 zinc nails
  • wire, insulated wire
  • steel wool
  • some tinder (e.g. toilet paper)

1. First soften the lemon by rolling it between your hands. This way you can drive the nails through the skin more easily.


2. Press the pins into the lemon. The distance between each pin should be about half an inch. 


3. Press the zinc nails into the lemon in a row across from the push pins, to make two parallel rows.


4. Now take some wire and connect the first pin with the second zinc nail. Then the second pin with the third zinc nail and so on and so forth.


5. For the last step, connect an insulated piece of wire with the first zinc nail and a second piece of insulated wire with the last push pin. The zinc nail (top row, all the way to the right) is the minus pole; the push pin (bottom row, all the way to the left) is the plus pole.


This lemon is now a small battery, producing about 0.9 volts of electricity. That's enough to make a fire.

6. Now to test if it really works: place the steel wool on dry ground and put dry tinder on it. In our example, we used a little bit of toilet paper as tinder.


7. Touch the steel wool using the insulated wires from both the plus and minus poles. The wool will begin to glow red and the tinder will catch fire.



Make sure you have cleared the area of flammable material and read up on fire safety. Safety always comes first, especially with a trick like this one that can get quickly out of control if you're not very careful.

If you use two lemon batteries at once, you can even power a small LED light or alarm clock.

Check out the video tutorial here:

Such a cool trick, both practical and surprising. It can be a really fun way to entertain guests at a party or birthday since few people know about it! Who would've though a lemon could start a fire? 


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