Ask any chef, there’s nothing like having the right tool for the right job. Sometimes, it’s a big tool and a big job, like a sous vide machine and cooking the perfect steak. But, more often than not, it’s the smaller tasks around the kitchen that have to go smoothly, especially for the private chef who may be working in an open kitchen, in full view of his or her clients. Like squeezing limes lemons and oranges, getting the most juice out of the fruit can be a challenge. And of course, with American (or in the case of at least on tool here, Mexican) ingenuity there are many choices, tools made to step up to the challenge. But, are the newest gadgets always the best? This is what we wanted to test out, and here are the results:
Pressed Glass Juice Squeezer– Sur la Table call this “favorite tool of generations of cooks”. Some versions even have a catch-and-pour cup upon which the actual juicer sits, which really is convenient. Our test showed that the pressed glass juice left a fair amount of juice still in the fruit, and had the disadvantage of not letting any pulp come through. While this may be desirable for some recipes or the preference of some, it’s nice to have the option to have some pulp, at the very least it lets people know that you really are using fresh-squeezed juice; it also adds flavor and texture to whatever you are making.
Mexican (Hinged) Lime Squeezer– called Exprimador de Limon in Spanish, TV Mexican Chef and Pati Jinich says, “If you were to ask me what cooking tool I could not live without, I would tell you it’s my Mexican-style lime squeezer”. With our propensity to create more versions of everything, there are now two styles and two sizes available in this country. In Mexico, where the tool originated, there is only the galvanized version. Here there are Mexican lime squeezers with and enamel finish, commonly found in bright lime green or yellow, as well as a smaller size which is perfect for the smaller Mexican limes, and the regular size which is good for limes or lemons. Unfortunately the enamel finish has the effect of being a bit slippery (if eye-catching in a store) which has the effect of interfering with squeezing that last bit of goodness out of the fruit. It also has the disadvantage that the hinges become looser with some continued use causing it to apply less pressure on the fruit thus squeezing out less juice. The galvanized version functions really well and is a great option especially the smaller Mexican limes.
Wooden Citrus Reamer – this tool is really simple and works really well. It gets almost every last bit of juice out of your lime or lemon, especially if you roll your citrus gently on the counter first, applying pressure with the palm of your hand. It does have the disadvantage that with continued use the tip becomes a little blunted. But for $4.95 it’s certainly not a problem to replace it once every couple of years. There’s also a plastic version that we did not test, but we suspect that the slipperiness of the plastic will be less effective on the food then the roughness of the wood, the same effect as enamel finish. http://www.kitchendance.com/citrusreamer.html
Fork and hand– Certainly the least expensive, the handiest, and surprisingly one of the very best ways to get juice out of a lime or lemon or a blood orange (see recipe below) is by just grabbing have a fork, place you halved lime or lemon in your hand and twisting the fork while squeezing the fruit until you get all the goodness out!
Blood Orange Sesame Vinaigrette recipe from Private Chefs of the SF Bay
In a blender, combine the juice of one blood orange with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 clove of garlic. Add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, plus salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Toast 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds on the comal, being careful to watch them as they burn quickly. As soon as they start to dance around and pop, immediately take them off the comal and allow them to cool a bit, then mix them into your finished dressing.