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Juicers (Manual)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009 | Tags: ,

An extremely versatile ingredient, lemon juice enhances fish, poultry and veggie recipes, balances salad dressing and marinades, adds zing to desserts, and tang to beverages and cocktails. Extracting the juice, however, is one of the more tedious kitchen tasks. We set out to find a juicer to make this job a little easier.

The Basics

There are four main styles of manual juicer:

  • The reamer:

    • A simple, pestle-like, handheld tool usually made of wood or stainless steel.

    • The long narrow shape allows you to get into every crevice of the fruit.

    • It does, however, require a lot of elbow grease.

    • Its handle can also double as a muddler for drinks that require muddled juices, like mojitos.

    • The disadvantage of this style is that it is hard to keep the seeds from falling into your juice.

    • Wooden ones tend to work better than stainless steel, which aren’t as good at tearing the fruit membranes to extract the juice.

  • The handheld squeezer:

    • Typically made of cast aluminum, enameled cast aluminum, or plastic.

    • Are designed as two parts and meant to give you more leverage as you squeeze out the fruit. They’re also designed to hang onto the seeds.

    • You can buy this style in different sizes to accommodate everything from grapefruits to limes, but a mid-size one should handle most jobs.

    • We like the idea of enamelled aluminum squeezers best since it’s more durable than plastic, and won’t react with the acidic juices like plain aluminum will.

    • Look for models with handles that feel comfortable when you give them a firm squeeze. Make sure no edges dig into your hand.

  • The countertop juicer:

    • Usually made of glass, stainless steel or plastic.

    • Tend to be designed as a bowl with a raised centre reamer or separate reamer piece that fits onto the bowl.

    • Look for a model with measurements on the bowl so you know how much juice you’ve got, and a spout for easy pouring.

    • A non-slip grip on the bottom of the bowl prevents sliding. You can also find models with a pulp strainer if you prefer less pulp. Some models allow you to adjust the amount of pulp. Others come with two reamers so you can use them with large and small fruits.

  • The corkscrew juicer:

    • Screws into your fruit, breaking interior cell walls in its way in. You don’t need to cut the fruit at all for this one.

    • This style keeps pulp and seeds from falling into your juice.

    • Corkscrew juicers are typically made of stainless steel, which is durable and no-reactive to the acidic juice.

    • Some manufacturers say that you can store a partially-squeezed fruit in the fridge for squeezing at another time, but the flavour and nutritional content will deteriorate over time so it’s best to use freshly-squeezed whenever possible.

  • There are also commercial and heavy-duty models available if you’re serious about making a lot of juice. Models available include:

    • A heavy-duty press, which incorporates a big lever to give you more powerful leverage when pressing the fruit.

    • Electric models are also available to do all the work for you.

    • Both of these types are bigger than manual types, so they take up more counterspace, cost more, and are harder to clean. They do, however, get more juice out of your fruit and do it faster than manual models.

  • Whatever you buy, if you like convenience, look for models that are dishwasher safe. (Wooden tools shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher!)

Other Considerations

  • Some juicing tips to get the most out of your fruit:

    • Store lemons and other citrus fruit in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks

    • Before juicing, allow the fruit to come to room temperature.

    • If your recipe also calls for zest, make sure to zest it before you juice it. It’s much easier!

    • Store cut, unsqueezed citrus fruit halves tightly wrapped in the fridge, and use within a few days. The same advice goes for zested fruits.

TEST CRITERIA

We tested the four styles of juicers at an A&K lemonade stand to see if one stood out from the rest.

  • Fox Runreamer style, wood, 6.25” long: $3.99
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Norpro Deluxe Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer, corkscrew style, 3” long: $8.50
..
  • Amco Lemon Squeezerhandheld squeezer, enameled aluminum, handheld squeezer style, 8 3/4” long: $11.99
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • OXO Good Grips Plastic Citrus Juicer,countertop model with juice catcher, 7”: $14.99
.. Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars.)

Juicing Test

  • The reamer (Fox Run) was the least favourite since it was quite messy to use and the seeds got into the juice.

  • The corkscrew style (Norpro) juicer worked better than we thought but it didn’t deliver as much juice as the others, which means there’s a lot of waste. It also hurts your hands a bit after using it on a few lemons.

  • The countertop model (OXO Good Grips) was easy to use, caught the seeds in a strainer, and had measurements on the bowl so we knew exactly how much juice we had. Unfortunately, it takes up a bit more space than the other models we tested, and has the most parts to it.

  • The handheld squeezer (Amco) also did a good job for lemons and limes but it wouldn’t be as versatile for use on larger fruits.

OUR TOP PICK

Even though the Oxo Good Grips Citrus Juicer cost the most and was bigger than the rest, there was no question that it did the best job out of the bunch and makes juicing a lot easier.

 

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