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Equipment & Gear

Metrokane Mighty OJ (Not recommended)

by Michael Chu
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Here in Austin, I'm finding myself craving fresh squeezed juices and homemade lemonade whenever I do yard work (which is every week). (I think the heat has something to do with it.) I went out looking for a good citrus juicer, but instead ended up with this disappointing Metrokane Mighty OJ.


When I started shopping for the citrus juicer this weekend, I decided that I wanted a citrus press. I have a wood reamer that works really well, but using a manual reamer on eight lemons (16 halves) every week sounds like a tiring affair. The rotating electric reamers (like the citrus attachment for the Kitchenaid mixer or a stand alone one) work really well, but they also tend to scrape some of the membrane and pith in with with juice adding a little bit of bitterness. Both the manual and the electric reamers require you to use a sieve if you don't want pulp.

A press uses pressure to squeeze the juice out of the citrus fruit and with the right gearing doesn't take that much effort to operate. Minimal pulp is generated and only the juice is captured. Unfortunately, while running my errands, I didn't seem to find one until hitting Bed, Bath & Beyond on my way home. They had one press - the Metrokane Mighty OJ. (Actually, they had another press... the kind with a reamer and a strainer hinged together. You squeeze them together and juice comes out - but that's more work than using a regular reamer since there's no gearing to help generate more pressure.)

The Metrokane Mighty OJ uses some gearing to generate forces of up to 800 pounds (so claims the box - mine didn't come with an instruction manual). The top of the device lowers as you pull the handle from behind the device to in front of the device (when the lever is horizontal, the top of the press impacts the reamer). The total motion is probably close to 210&176; and a little awkward to start since the handle is so far back and you have to lift it through the first half of it's travel. Even with medium sized lemons cut in half, there wasn't much clearance between the reamer and the press (I had to struggle with several halves when getting them into position), so for a few lemons I had to exert force upward before being able to push down.

The reamer and press did a pretty decent job extracting the juice from my lemons. I estimate 80% yield - I was able to get a little more juice out of each half using my wood reamer, but this juice was very pulpy and not really worth the extra effort.


The handle feels really cheap and flimsy. It's metal, but not solid. The lack of weight makes it feel like it's going to snap off while I'm pressing the fruit. Also, if it were a heavier handle, it might make the pressing easier.


The only part of the gearing system I could see was the rack that lifts the head. This part was quite wobbly and also felt pretty cheap. If it lifted higher, it would also help since I could barely get my half lemons under the head. (Large Valencia oranges would be impossible!) The rack's travel is a total of 2-1/4 in. (5.7 cm) with an effective clearance of a little less than 2 in. for the fruit.


I had several other problems with the Mighty OJ. The design allows the fruit to squirt everywhere as you apply pressure. You have to be very slow to avoid squirting. The base isn't heavy enough - it's not solid metal, but instead is hollow. The base also has black rubber pads that leave black marks on your counter that you have to clean off. The base is also so narrow none of the cups that I have unpacked will fit. In fact the reamer/funnel is so low that none of the cups I currently have will fit underneath! (We had to hold a bowl underneath with one person supporting the bowl, the other holding the device down and pulling the level.) The clearance is only about 4-1/2 inches (11.5 cm).

I'm going to return this one to Bed Bath & Beyond and see if I can find a better one.


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Written by Michael Chu
Published on May 25, 2009 at 01:11 AM
18 comments on Metrokane Mighty OJ (Not recommended):(Post a comment)

On May 25, 2009 at 01:51 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Juicer comparison
The Wall Street Journal published a juicer comparison earlier this month.

Putting the Squeeze on at Breakfast Time

They shared your low opinion of the Metrokane All-Chrome Mighty OJ, but they liked the higher-end Metrokane L-Press Citrus Juicer.


On May 25, 2009 at 02:01 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Citrus presses suck
They look oh-so-pretty, but they provide inferior yield (and, as you noted, splattery performance) than a proper juicer with the spinning thingy that will really punish the pulp and extract a better yield from the fruit like this one:

http://juicerreviews.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/best-citrus-juicer.jpg

(sorry for the "thingy", english is my second language so I don't know a proper word for it ;)


On May 25, 2009 at 06:10 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Citrus presses suck
Anonymous wrote:
They look oh-so-pretty, but they provide inferior yield (and, as you noted, splattery performance) than a proper juicer with the spinning thingy that will really punish the pulp and extract a better yield from the fruit like this one[...]

My problem with the electric rotating reamers is that they "punish" the pulp too much. It does get nearly perfect yield, but the pulp and membrane taint the flavor of the juice.


On May 25, 2009 at 10:53 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Any suggestions on a good, cheap, juicer? I'd like to start squeezing my own juice from time to time. The juicer referenced in the WSJ article posted earlier does do as well as they claim, judging from the reviews on Amazon.


On May 25, 2009 at 10:54 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Grrrr.... from my post above, that should read "does NOT do"!


On May 25, 2009 at 11:17 PM, Michael Chu said...
Yeah, it looks like the Metrokane L-Press got a lot of poor reviews on Amazon.com.

I might try the Metrokane Citrus Power Professional Juicer next.


On May 26, 2009 at 02:38 PM, cbellamy (guest) said...
I've tried both the electric juicers and the manual presses, but the Oxo Good Grips Citrus Juicer is my favorite. It has large and small interchangeable reamers (for limes vs. oranges), and a very nice built-in strainer. The way the plastic reamers are made, with alternating open segments, does just about a perfect job of juicing. I use mine for lemons, limes, oranges and even grapefruit with equal success. At about $14, you can't beat the price either.


On May 26, 2009 at 05:13 PM, joehacker (guest) said...
Subject: Juicer
I press more limes than anything and have tried most popular brands of citrus juice presses. Hands-down, the Hamilton Beach 932 is the best. It's heavy, commercial grade and will last forever. I've tried all the Metrocane juicers. Their commercial model is good, but I have not found that all of the consumer models to be between poor and worthless. The L-Press, for example, will look good on your bar but doesn't have enough spine to press the fruit: pressing the handle flexes the base instead of pressing the fruit. The Hamilton Beach will cost you, but it works, and works, and works.

Cheers!


On May 26, 2009 at 09:58 PM, tdierks (guest) said...
Subject: Best juicer
You want one of these: Amco Vintage Citrus Squeezer. I have an old juicer of similar design, and it's the best juicer I've ever used. Highly recommended (although I can't vouch for this specific product, the design it is copying is excellent, and it looks well-made; it appears that Williams-Sonoma used to sell this model).

I had, at one point, owned a juicer similar to the one you don't care for. This one is way better.


On May 29, 2009 at 08:16 PM, gigelus2k3 (guest) said...
After breaking the n-th electric juicer, I bought this Metrokane juicer with the expectation that a mechanical press will be sturdier and longer lasting than the electrical thingies. The results were very disappointing: low yield and shoddy mechanics, the handle felt like one press away from breaking. I returned the item. Since then, I'm using with good results a Braun MPZ22 juicer.

However, after reading Michael's review, I looked online for mechanical presses or squeezers and saw something weird mentioned about some of them: the juicer works by pushing the citrus half inside-out, i.e. placing the fruit with the skin down. Who knows, maybe the results would be better even for this Metrokane....


On June 03, 2009 at 06:01 PM, Kim (guest) said...
I really love our Orangex juicer. We got it about 7 years ago as a wedding present. This is the current offering from W-S:
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cw391/index.cfm?pkey=xsrd0m1|16|||0|||||||juicer&cm_src=SCH

It's a similar design but really heavy-duty. You can really hurt yourself with that thing. All the parts come apart and are easy to clean. I love fresh OJ and during the OJ season we treat ourselves to it.


On June 06, 2009 at 11:13 PM, HeavyG (guest) said...
Subject: Juicer
OrangeX Pro!!

I've used one of these for a few years and love it. It has a lever action - no cheesey rack and pinion or other gearing type arrangement.

Very solid and very heavy.


On August 30, 2009 at 03:46 PM, jallaway (guest) said...
Subject: Juicer
That juicer isn't the best choice for ALL oranges; but for some it works really well.
We have several citrus trees and one of them produces medium sized juice oranges. The Metrokane can extract just about all the juice from them. On the othe hand, it does a very poor job on our navel oranges. Those work better with an electric juicer.
If you just want a couple of small glasses of juice, this model is the quickest and the easiest to clean (if you can muscle down that lever of course)


On November 20, 2009 at 03:58 AM, CrankyOtter (guest) said...
Subject: Ditto the not recommended
I own this juicer. The flimsiness thing hasn't bothered me at all, mine seems mostly sturdy. While I like the Jetson's styling, and the fact that it was a third the price of the next similar non-reaming juicer, I agree that it's a dud. Pretty and cheap does not make up for the annoyances. I made a fair amount of orange and lemon juices this summer (I'm in SoCal - when I can raid my friends yards, it's free!) and while it does provide juice which is mostly seed free, it becomes less fun with every use.

- The inability to squeeze even medium large oranges into the cavity is a problem.
- The squirting out the sides is a problem. (It also means that everything including the gearing must be completely hosed down with every use. If I just want a quick glass of juice with an orange or two, 2/3 of the prep time is cleaning up.)
- The low, narrow space for a collection vessel is challenging, but I blow glass and have some runty old glasses that fit pretty well. Trying to use a commerical beverage container was unsuccessful if I wanted to collect more than one orange's worth of juice. standard mugs don't fit.
- Also, sometimes the juice just runs up over the side of the funnel base instead of draining.
- I had to take out my fruit, fold it in half, then re-press it to get a reasonable yield. This is annoying but workable.
- Did I mention how sticky the entire tool and working area get? I'll say it again because it's pretty bad.

It's hard to think of a product designed to do one thing only that fails on so many levels. Yes, you can get juice out of it but there must be a better, cleaner, faster way that doesn't get in its own way. The only trick is that it's not cheaper and there's only so much money I want to spend on my free orange juice.

I've since bought the hand squeeze lemon and lime inverters and use those more often. They're easier to clean. I don't think that's the best solution for the oranges though, so I'm going to check out the links.


On March 09, 2010 at 07:13 AM, RubyR (guest) said...
Subject: Metrokane
Ahhh! But this baby is my favorite! I also bought the larger one, but found it unwieldy and hard to store. The baby one is perfect all around ...
BUT ... you have to utilize a couple of hints that the company doesn't tell you about. Call them Old Cooks hints if you will (bcuz I am old, LOL).
# 1 - Zest the skin. (Dry it then store - waste nothing, I say)
# 2 - Microwave the lemons first ( 1/2 min per lemon )
# 3 - Roll them on the counter (releases more juice)
Now juice them. They just ooze juice with very little pressure.

If you don't want to zest them ... then at least use those lemon peels
to make Preserved Lemons ! !

If you don't want to make Preserved Lemons or zest ... cut them into thin long slices and freeze the lot of them ... and use as needed for MARTINI's ! (heart-be-still)

RubyR


On November 02, 2010 at 01:16 AM, karen (guest) said...
Subject: my fav juicer
although i own a plug in spinning reamer i still prefer my IKEA hand reamer, it just is such a nice fit to my hand and it takes less time to do it by hand than to haul out the power one and then wash it and put it away. my hand reamer i just throw it in the dishwasher and im done


On November 12, 2010 at 01:50 AM, mcnee (guest) said...
Subject: Juicer
If you really want a decent juicer of this style, you'll need to hit a restaurant/food service supply place.

I worked in a place for over 6 years where we did fresh squeezed lemonade, also doing them for festivals. There were days I squeezed over 1000 lemons.

They're typically around $150-200, a chunk of change, but if you're serious about lemon/lime/orange juicing, they're great.


On August 02, 2013 at 03:27 AM, steven e (guest) said...
Subject: thanks
thanks for the review. Spared me the disappointment!

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