Kitchn Love Letters

The Old-Fashioned Tool That Makes Juicing a Ton of Citrus Easy-Peasy

published Mar 29, 2021
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Preparing fresh squeezed orange juice on a Sunday morning for breakfast.
Credit: Getty Images | Guillermo Murcia

The first time I saw an old-fashioned, lever-operated juicer, I almost snorted with derision.

“You really should get one of these,’’ said my mother, the owner of said juicer.

“Thanks, but no thanks,’’ I replied. I didn’t need a juicer taking up what little countertop space I had — and I already had a reamer!

In response, my mom sliced a big pomegranate in half and placed half in the juicer. It barely fit under the juicer’s dome. “What are you doing?” I asked. She smiled, lowered the lever and the pomegranate arils burst open, releasing their red juice.

“Cheers,’’ she said, handing me the cup. My mom knew she made her point. Because if you’ve spent any of your valuable time trying to press and pry the juice out of a pomegranate, only to end up clawing away at the arils with a fork, you get it, too.

But did I really need one of these citrus juicers? I still wasn’t convinced. And then, sometime later, a friend gave me a bottle of quality, small-batch bourbon. After the satisfaction of just pouring it over ice wore off, I had about half a bottle left. What I needed was a bourbon cocktail, which is how I found the Kentucky Mule. To make a Kentucky Mule, you need bourbon, ginger ale, and lime juice. And if you are making a batch (which I was), you need a lot of lime juice. Using my little citrus reamer for this task got old quick — and I practically bruised my knuckles trying to juice all those limes.

Credit: Amy Graves
My juicer at work.

Which is how I broke down and ordered the Gourmia Large Citrus Juicer, a cast iron and stainless steel behemoth that, yes, lives on my countertop. At 14 pounds it jolly well has to,  but it has more than earned its place. It does have a fun, retro look — and no citrus stands a chance with this thing.

The key to this juicer’s success is leverage. A cup at the top, which looks like a bell, is attached to a lever arm. As you pull the handle, the lever lowers the cup until it form-fits over half of an orange, pomegranate, or whatever’s on the strainer. This creates a vise that forces juice through the strainer and funnel and into your waiting glass — with little arm work required.

Outside of just juice or cocktails, this juicer has endless culinary possibilities. Guacamole, for instance, needs lime juice. And what about Key lime pie? Before I got my lever-arm juicer, making Key lime pie with fresh Key limes was out of the question. All those tiny limes! If I used my hand-held reamer, I’d give up — and be no closer to pie. The lever-arm juicer works with any size of citrus, and cleaning up is easy, as the funnel and strainer are removable.

Sure, there are other juicing methods, such as microwaving (hot juice? Bleh!) and electric machines (too loud!). But, to me, for about $60 and a foot of counter space, this old-fashioned juicer is well worth the cost.

Do you have a favorite citrus juicer? Tell us about it in the comments!