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.}?>
Equipment & Gear
Metrokane Mighty OJ (Not recommended)
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