Wednesday, August 11, 2010

100 Dollars to Juice Lemons?

Electric Citrus Reamers: Are They Worth It?

Ina Garten is one of those women I envy. She has an amazing job, a beautiful house with a kitchen that she loves, and most importantly of all for the purpose of this post, she has an electric citrus reamer.


Ina Garten; image not mine; from House Beautiful.

In an old episode of her Barefoot Contessa, she introduces her handy-dandy electric citrus reamer. It lives right on her counter top because she uses it so frequently. It's precisely the kind of tool or machine that would normally make me say, "Bah! What a waste of money! What? She can't use a hand-reamer?"

But that Ina! With her smile and those focused eyes peering up from beneath her swinging bangs, she turned me around.

Given the number of lemons and limes I go through in an average week, my large and decidedly un-dexterous hands are tired of squeezing, twisting, poking, ramming, jamming, kneading, and massaging the juice out of all that citrus. Two years ago, I got a little plastic reamer that sits in a little plastic cup, both of which I cracked almost immediately. Drippy as it may be, I continue to use it. Clearly, it's time to upgrade.

I started looking at the electric citrus juicers in stores, and the lowest models start at around $20. Those cheap ones are constructed entirely of plastic, and to my discerning eye, they look like they will crack if one exerts too much force, which let me tell you, I fully intend to do. I do not have a light touch.


All-plastic citrus juicers sell for $20-$25 in stores, but they don't seem very durable.

The next step up in models jumps right to the $80-$100 price point, and from there, they skyrocket to $125-$200! These are much sturdier looking machines, combining stainless steel and tougher plastics — but where are the $30 and $40 models?

To be fair, I've seen more models online at a range of prices, but not in stores. And just like buying shoes, I prefer to be able to touch and "try on" my cooking equipment before I buy it. So I'm really assessing what's available in stores, and more specifically, in New York City.


The Penguin Citrus Juicer, sold in Europe, costs around 56 euros, or 50GBP. I have not seen it in any stores in New York, but I do like its design!

There's also those "presses," which are typically used more for oranges and grapefruits, but perhaps they work for lemons and limes, too. I don't know.


Hand-press citrus juicers are used more for oranges and grapefruits. Will they work well with smaller citrus, like lemons, limes, and yuzu?

Does anyone have any advice? Who's got an electric citrus juicer that they love: what is it and how much did it cost? Or if you have a hand-crank press, does it work well with smaller citrus?

1 comment:

Darius Kazemi said...

The hand-crank press works perfectly fine with small citrus -- you can really crank it hard and it'll completely pulverize the poor thing 'til it's bone dry. It catches the seeds and the good ones come apart for cleaning.

The one minor issue with the hand crank press is that for small fruit it will tear up the rind into several pieces in the process of juicing, so I wouldn't use it if you needed the rind semi-whole for some reason.

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