Many recipes call for lemon or lime juice, used in glazes icings and creams. Also lemon juice and lime can be used in savory dishes, for instance in a chicken casserole or in delicious shrimp recipes or other fish or shellfish. Many people buy pre-bottled concentrate, which is convenient but unfortunately does not taste as good and is not as healthy as the real thing.
A small citrus juicer is all you need to make lemon and lime juice on demand, quickly and easily. These little units are just hand held presses usually, which work by placing a half of citrus fruit in between two sieves, and pulling two handles together that then crush the fruit.
If you have ever tried squeezing out lemons by hand, you know how hard it can be to get much juice out. A citrus juicer manages to extract nearly every last drop, thanks to the great leverage you get with the handle design. It is similar to a nut cracker – even persons with smaller hands, and even children can quickly juice several fruits with ease with a small citrus juicer like the model pictured below.
Unlike a large electric juicer machine which takes up a lot of space, citrus juicers are really compact gadgets that should not cost more than $20-$30 for a high quality model that will last virtually forever. Stainless steel juicers in particular are a lifetime companion, they are strong and totally resistant to corrosion.
Using a hand held citrus juicer is very easy. Cut the lemon or lime in half, and place onto the point of the sieve, and slowly but firmly close the handles together. Obviously you need to do this over a cup or preferably a bowl, to catch the juice.
Always take time to clean the device well after every use. This will ensure the acidic juice does not leave stains, and that no bacteria can grow while it sits in your kitchen drawer. Warm soapy water cleans quite easily, or if your press is made of stainless steel or aluminum you can just put it in the dish washer.
There are other types of citrus juicer too, the most basic being what is often called a “reamer”. This is a pointed cone with sharp edges or ribs, which can be pushed by hand into a half of lemon or lime, then twisted back and forth. They also come as cup assemblies that catch the juice for you, and can be a very cheap and simple way to juice. Just beware if you don’t have strong hands, or suffer from joint pain – this is not a good idea! Alternatively these “reamers” also come in electric variants – a small motor twists a cone for you, so you just push the lemon against it. However, there is no great advantage – it still requires you to physically hold the fruit, plus it requires an extra power point.
Making fresh juice is a great way to boost your vitamin C intake, especially if you have children. Home made lemonade make a great drink in summer while being healthy and cheap.