Best equipment for juicing many many lemons & limes?
June 22, 2013 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Say I wanted to make a huge amount of sour mix (you know, just theoretically). I would need large quantities of lemons and limes juiced. What's the best piece of equipment to do it quickly (and easily enough to not want to die afterwards)? High-quality hand press (or two)? Inexpensive lever-assisted press? Electric juicer? Budget: $100 max (pref under $50). Don't care about filtering all traces of pulp.
posted by supercres to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was given a CitriStar citrus juicer about 5 uears ago as a gift and it is incredibly easy and efficient. You will get every drop of juice out of your fruit and its a cinch to clean. I have a regular juicer too which doesn't work half as well.
posted by headnsouth at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would just buy high quality lemon and lime juice, as I personally doubt I could taste the difference in sour mix. I'm happy with the Santa Cruz juices, but there's probably something even better out there.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2013

Not to threadsit, but that is an excellent point, insectosaurus, and one that frequently goes through my head as I'm juicing citrus. I'll have to run the numbers to see how economical that is compared to the alternative.
posted by supercres at 1:28 PM on June 22, 2013

I have this juice press and love it. It's super easy to use and to clean.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:02 PM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I like the handheld juice press Wordwoman suggests, but when doing a large volume, I'd juice over a sieve as it doesn't prevent all the seeds from falling. Great little device though, and I love and use it more than I ever thought I would. I definitely wouldn't mind juicing a couple bags of lemons and limes with it.
posted by sunshinesky at 2:57 PM on June 22, 2013

We make a fair amount of fruit-infused liquors so i often end up with 3-10 lbs of lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines to juice immediately. The type of juicer headnsouth suggests takes about 10 minutes to do 3 lbs; my hand juicer takes 30-40 min and yields much less juice as well as lots of mess. I still use the hand juicer for a single drink's worth, but not for huge amounts. I can't recommend that specific brand, but any electric juicer with a spinny middle piece will make short work and is super easy to clean. My friend's has a small screen to help trap seeds, but a few get throgh, as well as pulp.
posted by holyrood at 3:35 PM on June 22, 2013

There really isn't anything to this besides using a knife to cut the lemons and limes in half and then squeezing. Sometimes you need to use electricity to make things. If you wanted to make hummus, I'd say get a food processor. If you wanted to make juice, I'd say get a juicer. This? Use a hand tool.

Something you plug in will cost more, be worse for the environment to manufacture, will take up more space, and will be harder to clean.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:36 PM on June 22, 2013

Also, you can't beat fresh citrus juice. I commend you for asking this question.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:38 PM on June 22, 2013

That's fine for insectosaurus but now that you've had this good idea to up your mixer standards, you should not be led astray. I made a middling amount (18 limes) of lime cordial the other week and it was totally worth the juicing time. The Braun Citromatic is iconic and it's unfussy and fast and clean, both as in easy to clean and as in streamlined and without a lot of fiddly bits. 'Harder to clean' is not the case.

I have read recommendations for hand-held presses over machines on the idea that you are less likely to start trying to juice the pith with a hand-held, though I have not had a problem with bitter tastes from my Citromatic.
posted by kmennie at 3:39 PM on June 22, 2013

I have found my hand juicer to be much faster than a machine. You don't get every last drop of juice, but with the hand juicer it takes about 2-3 seconds to squeeze out the juice per piece, vs. 10ish seconds per piece with the machine I have used (to be fair, it was an older electric juicer, but had the same concept as the photo's of the newer ones). If speed and ease is your concern, I'd go with a hand juicer. It also takes up much less space, and can be left out with some citrus on the back porch during the summer, to add some super fresh juice to your favorite summertime drinks.
posted by markblasco at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

markblasco absolutely.
posted by LonnieK at 4:24 PM on June 22, 2013

I've had good luck with the manual (lever) countertop presses - something like this which is slightly out of your price range, but it looks there are some cheaper options too. I like the small enameled presses for small amounts but you'd be pretty miserable trying to use them here.

One note that'll make things much easier for you: before slicing the lemons/limes, roll them under your hand on the countertop with a moderate amount of pressure. Pre-squeezing like this makes it much, much easier to get the juice out; you'll get a better yield and your hands/wrists will be happier for it.
posted by ethand at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had the good fortune to be on the receiving end of a couple of boxfuls of organic lemons from my Brother-In-Law's tree for a couple of years- until the tree died this past year (sniff). I just bought a cheapie electric juicer from the thrift store and that worked like a charm (and is still chugging along). I now have a couple of gallons of Limoncello aging in my basement.

Seconding rolling the lemons/limes around as ethand says - you can also nuke them briefly to the same effect.
posted by sarajane at 12:13 PM on June 24, 2013

I juice a lot of citrus. A LOT. I have used this Breville motorized juice press, the OXO GoodGrips citrus juicer, and something very similar to this handheld citrus press (the same one Wordwoman linked to above). For large quantities, I was surprised that the handheld press ended up being a lot faster, if a smidge less efficient (you don't get every last drop of juice out, and some occasionally squirts out the side), than the motorized Breville, and it has the added bonus of not taking up precious counter space or using up an outlet. The Breville now sits in the back of the cabinet, and I use the handheld press for all my mass-juicing needs. (And if I'm juicing something valuable like Meyer lemons or some rare quirky citrus I've picked up from the market, I'm just a little extra-careful to juice it over a large vessel so anything that squirts out the sides gets captured.)

The OXO is a bit more time-consuming to use and requires more/different physical effort, but I keep it because it's great for easily juicing and dispensing a smallish specific amount of juice for, say, cocktails or cooking.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:06 PM on June 25, 2013

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