Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, my mom made sure we began every day with orange juice. She wanted to do everything in her power to provide us with as many healthful meals and drinks as possible. Since she didnt have the time to hand squeeze the oranges she bought at the local fruit stand, she opted for the frozen concentrate.
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When my children were little, I followed Moms example and served frozen concentrate every morning with their breakfast. As soon as the orange juice became available in containers, I knew it would not only be a time saving method of serving this delicious juice but it would also save room in the refrigerator.
Heres where I get confused. Im not sure here, if Im taking a step backwards or leaping ahead.
While I enjoyed all the new lotsa pulp juices, I never once, considered squeezing fresh fruit to get that all-enjoyable fresh-squeezed taste. But heres what happened and please dont laugh! (at least, not too loud)
My husband and I have a very good friend who lives on the same street as a man who owns a few orange and grapefruit trees. Gary called us and said his neighbor was now picking the ripened fruit and wanted to know if his friends would like to have some.
Ah! Fresh fruit. Hey, why not? How long could it take to eat 10 maybe 15 grapefruits and oranges. I could always slice them and freeze them or find my little hand juicer and freeze the juice. I told Gary, Sure, Id love some!
GARY BROUGHT OVER 300 (YES THATS RIGHT I SAID 300) GRAPEFRUITS!
What in heavens name was I going to do with 300 grapefruits? I certainly wasnt going to squeeze them all with my little hand-operated juicer. I mean, this thing was a mound of ripples that you placed under the half sliced fruit that, then, required you to twist the fruit back and forth. No way was I going to do that to all that fruit. So, I did the next best thing. I went to WalMart to buy a juicer!
Walking down the small appliance aisle, I realized there were more juicers than I had fingers on both hands. How do pick one? Okay, lets start with what I didnt want. I didnt want to pay a lot since this extravaganza of a grapefruit windfall would only happen once a year (thank God for that!!).
I also didnt want one that looked too complicated for the same reason.
What I chose was the Black & Decker Citrusmate CJ525 Juicer.
Why this particular model?
Lets see what it does for me! First of all, its small enough to sit on my counter without taking up lots of room.
It has a cord storage area directly on the underside of the bottom of the unit.
What this cord storage area does, is not only store the cord when not in use but lets you use only as much cord as you need from unit to electrical outlet. What a safety feature!
The bottom unit not only stores the cord but also houses the motor that enables the drive-shaft to turn in clockwise and counter-clockwise motions.
The pitcher which is just a bit more than one quart has an easy pour spout and is designed in such a way where it sits directly on the base unit and the open cylinder in the middle surrounds the drive-shaft that protrudes about one inch over the top of the cylinder.
The strainer basket (that has a built-in handling tab sits snuggle on top of the pitcher.
Lets backtrack for a few seconds. Before you put the strainer atop the pitcher, youll want to snap in the reamer. The reamer is a half-oval shaped device on which you would hold your fruit for juicing.
The strainer sits on the pitcher and the snapped on reamer is firmly seated on the drive-shaft.
Now youre set to juice your fruit.
Hey, I didnt mention an on/off switch, did I? Thats because there isnt any! So, then, how does this thing work??? Pressure!
After you have your juicer assembled (the unit under the pitcher which is under that strainer which is connected to the reamer), you simply take your fruit and cut it in half. Place one half (open side down) on top of the reamer and press . Its that simple!
The juice is forced out of the fruit and falls through the slots of the strainer into the pitcher. e strainer catches all the pits and unwanted pulp.
Hey, speaking of pulp, what if I want some? That is absolutely NO PROBLEM! While this juicer isnt made to extract the pulp like the more expensive brands, it does grab the pulp in the strainer making it easy enough to spoon directly into the pitcher that holds the juice. Thats what I do!
I know it sounds easy and believe me it is but you might be wondering the drive-shaft goes one way first then another. Why?
While youre pressing your fruit onto the reamer, it will go in one direction only. It changes directions after you release the pressure and then press down a second time. It does this to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible. If the reamer went in only one direction, it would be pushing some of the juice back into the fruit letting out only a small amount. But by going in the opposite direction, it pushes out the juice that the fruit caught the first time. It also gives you more pulp to spoon out but thats OUR secret! Remember this is NOT a pulp extractor; its a juicer. But I guess Black and Decker makes their appliances so well, they do things you wouldnt normally expect them to do.
While your juicer is not in use, or you just have to leave it temporarily while in the middle of a juicing project (I should know!!), this juicer comes with a dust cover to keep your juice fresh while youre away.
Okay, so you know the great features of this juicer. BUT
.. theres more! (Isnt there always??)
I mentioned that the juice is extracted by pressing the fruit on the drive-shaft-driven reamer. BUT while you may be thinking this isnt as modern as some newer juicers on the market, consider the safety aspect of this feature. Lets suppose youre in the middle of juicing a mound of oranges and the phone rings. You step away to answer the phone and your small, inquisitive child climbs on a chair to see what you were doing. There is NO on/off switch that the child can touch to activate the rotation of the reamer thereby saving what might end up being a mangled mess of tiny finger bits floating in the juice. The child wont realize you need to press on the drive-shaft to make it work! The worst that can happen is the child might pull the pitcher down and thereby get soaked with room-temperature juice!
So with all these great features, how do you clean such a marvel of an appliance?
While the pitcher, reamer and strainer seem very fragile to you, each part is dishwasher safe as long as you place them on the top rack. Or you could opt to just rinse them in warm sudsy water. The choice is yours.
Speaking of cleaning, the base can be cleaned with a warm damp cloth or sponge.
So, is this little appliance a wonder or what? In two days, Ive already juiced more than 200 grapefruits. I just love my little machine but I still cant help wondering
Am I going backward juicing my own fruit? Or am I leaping ahead by using a great electric juicer?
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