The Essential Kitchen: Wooden Reamer

The Essential Kitchen: Wooden Reamer

The reamer is one of the simplest tools we can have in our kitchens.  Nothing fancy, best when made from wood, and cheap to buy, the reamer makes it simple to juice any kind of citrus. 

There are times when you might be making a marinade or salad dressing and the addition of a little citrus juice can make all the flavor difference.  Or you want to add just a few drops to a sauce or soup to brighten it.  If you think it's not worth the trouble or the mess to get a few teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, think again.  If you have a reamer it's as simple as cutting the lemon in two.  Plus it's much safer than trying to use a fork with its sharp prongs.

Hold the reamer in your dominant hand and the halved piece of lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit in the other.  Place the tip of the reamer into the center of the fruit and twist -- turning the reamer in one direction and the fruit in the other.  I usually do this over a bowl or measuring cup.  Sometimes I also place a small strainer on top to catch any seeds or bits of fruit.

A reamer also easily takes place of a muddler for mojitos.  And if you can catch any errant seeds, you can use a reamer to juice a lemon or lime right over a simmering pot or a bowl of ingredients.

If you're making several cups of fresh juice, perhaps for lemonade or margaritas, doing it by hand with a reamer will give you a workout and so you might want to instead have an electric juicer on hand for such tasks.  But for the everyday cooking, your reamer just might become as much a favorite tool as your sharp paring knife.

Since it's made from wood, I never put mine in the dishwasher.  Instead I just give it a rinse, sometimes with soapy water, and wipe with a sponge if there are bits of lemon stuck to the wood.  Wipe dry with a clean towel and you're done.

You can find reamers at almost any cookware store as well as online.  Lovely wooden ones generally cost less than $10 and you can easily find very nice ones for less than $5.

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