Post #501 Juicers

August 15, 2016 at 11:46 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I had a large moment of nostalgia over the weekend.  The little girls across the street had their dad set up a lemonade stand and they sat there in the shad most of the afternoon shouting “Lemonade!” at intervals.  Business wasn’t too good at first, but eventually picked up.  I walked across and bought three glasses for FiL, Partner/Spouse and I.  It was really good, very lemony and not too sweet.  I’m sure we have mom and dad to thank for that.  They were also selling handmade necklaces made out of hand painted metal washers, and seashells.  And yarn.

It set me to thinking about lemonade.  Well, not lemonade so much as making lemonade, because their lemonade was perfectly flavored.  It was tart to the point of almost puckering your mouth, but sweet enough that it could be drunk in big swallows.  And it was icy cold.  I grew up with lemonade.  It was part of the landscape.  We had huge tracts of land all around my home town devoted to citrus groves.

To make lemonade properly, you have to get the juice out of the lemon while leaving behind all the bitter parts like the peel, the pith, and the seeds.  It’s easy enough to do.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over a strainer then mash what’s in the strainer to get as much juice as possible.  Over the years, though, the “science” of juicing has taken some radical paths.

I think everyone in my town had one of these:

citrus juicer 1

You sliced the lemon in half, jammed the center of the fruit onto the point, grasped firmly and rotated the fruit until all the juice was extracted.  Everything was collected in the bowl of the juicer then poured into a strainer and into the pitcher where the other ingredients were added.  Of course, as a kid I was stupid and just poured everything into the pitcher, seeds and all.  Made for some very lumpy lemonade.  I’ve seen versions of this that were over a hundred years old.  I’ve seen them made of metal and plastic.  The basic design is always the same.

But it’s not the only way to extract juice from citrus.  Can you imagine a restaurant trying to make gallons of lemonade, or dozens of lemon pie using this over and over again?  There’s another option, and I usually see this at seaside, riverside, or lakeside boardwalks at lemonade stands.

citrus juicer 3

You can buy a home version of this, but they can be a little pricey.  The industrial versions are large, clunky looking things, but work like a charm.  Each half of the citrus fruit is place in the bowl one at a time, and the lever pulls down a hammer type of device that forces the fruit down.  All the juice is strained and collected in about ten seconds.  I don’t think I’d like this in my house.  Not only is space a consideration, I just don’t think I’d use it enough to make it worthwhile.  But it is much easier than the other one.

Back in the early 90’s my mother passed away from cancer.  During the early stages of the disease, she and dad were looking for ways to enhance her immune system to help her fight off the cancers.  They learned about juicing and its benefits and bought one.  It weighed about 30 pounds and could actually extract juice from a block of wood.

citrus juicer 6

This is similar to what they had, although somewhat smaller.  It uses a masticating process.  In the tube is a column set with teeth that shred the matter inserted into the hopper.  The shreds are then pressed for any juice and sluiced off into a collect while the shreds are dumped into a storage bin.  When it was apparent that juicing was not going to be the success they hoped for, they sent the juicer to me and my ex.  I think we used it a couple of times and I found some cool uses for the leftover sludge.  I’ve tried getting the smaller, home versions but don’t drink enough juice to justify having one around.  Even the attachment for our stand mixer wouldn’t get much use.

I remember a while back these things became popular.

citrus juicer 4

The concept is to insert this into the fruit, squeeze and drink directly from the fruit.  I can’t imagine why anyone would insert a metal device into any citrus fruit, particularly a lemon, because of the acid, but I have seen them in plastic and silicon.  I’ve never seen anyone actually using them.

And this one just seems silly from the get go.

citrus juicer 5

So what does all this lead to?  My favorite juice extractor for citrus fruits is this one.

citrus juicer 2

It’s called a reamer.  Get the one made of wood.  Plastic will break; metal will corrode.  You cut the fruit in half, insert the point into the center of the fruit, squeeze the fruit while twisting the reamer around, and a TON of juice will flow into the strainer and down into a bowl or other container.  If you do it right, there will be nothing left inside the fruit except the pith and the fibrous ribs.  This I use all the time.  And it’s easy to clean.  A quick rinse in cool water and it’s ready to go.

One more note about extracting juice.  Inside the citrus fruit, the juice is contained in segments which are made up of hundreds of smaller membrane “bubbles” containing the juice.  (These are my terms for all this.)  It’s breaking these bubbles that releases the juice.  To get the most juice, the fruit must be at its ripest.  But there are a couple of other things you can do to get more juice.  Microwaving the fruit for a few seconds causes the bubbles to burst internally releasing the juice before you cut it.  Just don’t microwave it for too long.  Another thing that breaks the membranes is rolling the fruit vigorously on a hard surface.  It also softens the outer skin/peel making the fruit easier to squeeze.

And now, my favorite recipe for (what else?) Lemonade!!

Freshest Homemade Lemonade:

  • 3/4 – 1  cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
  • 3 -4 cups cold water

Heat water and sugar together over low heat until sugar is dissolved completely.  Zest one lemon, slice another, juice all lemons until you have one cup (strained as described above.)  Remove sugar syrup some heat and add lemon juice and zest.  Pour into large pitched and add cold water to taste, minimum of three cups, but four if needed.  Add lemon slices and chill pitcher until ready to serve.  Good stuff!

Enjoy

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4 Comments

  1. I have issues using a reamer, as my hands quite often go weak on me. Whereas with a juicer I can use my body weight to get things going.

    • Oh, never thought of that aspect. Reamers are the perfect tool for me, perhaps not for others. Good point.

  2. Joe..it’s Darlene from Yuma. Wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading these posts. They are always entertaining and informative. I am not that great of a cook…. Can use all the help I can find. I especially like these simpler ones like this one showing how to make something as simple as lemonade come out so perfect ! It would surprise you how easily I can mess things up. ( I mean…I can screw up jello..not kidding !) Gonna try one of the meals soon. Anyway..thanks.

    • Hey Darlene! Good to hear from you and glad you enjoy my writing. I started the blog for people like you and me who aren’t gourmet cooks, just trying to do the best they can with what they have. If you ever have any questions about food or recipes or something, just hit me up. I’ll do what I can. Hugs!!


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