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What is a Reamer?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A reamer is a kitchen tool designed to make it easy to extract juice from citrus fruits. Reamers have some distinct advantages over conventional citrus juicers, with the primary disadvantage of a reamer being that juicing must be done by hand, which can be a pain when a big batch of juice is required. Many kitchen supply stores carry reamers, and they are also readily available through Internet merchants who carry kitchen tools.

The design of a reamer is very simple. It consists of a handle attached to a cone covered in ridges. To use the reamer, a fruit is halved, the cone is inserted into the fruit, and then the reamer or the fruit is rotated, pressing the ridges up against the sides of the fruit to ensure that as much juice as possible is extracted. Once someone gets used to using a reamer, fruits can usually be juiced very quickly.

Reamers can often get more juice than regular juicers, for cooks who take the time to thoroughly juice each fruit. Along with juice, the reamer also extracts pulp and seeds, so it is a good idea to strain the liquid after juicing to clear it of most large debris. Because the reamer is a handheld tool, people can also hold the reamer and the fruit in the way which is most comfortable for them, which will reduce strain.

Reamers can be used on citrus fruits of all sizes, from key limes to grapefruits. While the design of a reamer effectively makes it a unitasker, something which some people frown upon, a reamer can be extremely useful for people who work with citrus juices a lot. Reamers also take up much less space than regular citrus juicers, leading fans of the citrus reamer to argue if one is going to have a unitasker, the tool might as well be compact and efficient.

Many reamers are made from wood, in which case they should be patted dry after washing and ideally hung when not in use so that the edges of the ridges do not become deformed. If the ridges start to break down, the reamer will be less efficient. Other reamers are made from plastics, in which case the reamer can usually be run through the dishwasher and stored in a drawer; plastic reamers also often have soft handles which are designed for greater comfort on the part of the user.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By SZapper — On Sep 22, 2011

@Monika - I'm with you. I usually just use my reamer for small jobs.

I have to admit that I have a plastic reamer. My mom has a wooden reamer and it looks so nice and high quality. However, I hate hand washing. I'm glad I can just throw my plastic reamer in the dish washer and not have to worry about hanging it up for storage!

By Monika — On Sep 22, 2011

I like to use my reamer if a recipe calls for a small amount of citrus juice. However, I don't think I would ever use a reamer to make a large amount of juice!

Juicing each fruit by hand takes forever! It's fine if you only need the juice of one lemon, but not if you want to make lemonade! If they ever make an automatic reamer, I would definitely use it. But until then, I'll keep using my juicer for big jobs.

By manykitties2 — On Sep 21, 2011

@letshearit - If you are having trouble using your reamer without making a mess a good idea is to work inside a large, clear plastic bag. I have an adjustable reamer, which is great for really getting all the juice out of my fruits, but I do admit that they can squirt quite a bit.

What I do is I place a bowl in the bottom of a clear plastic bag, then I juice my fruit so that any spray is caught by the plastic bag. This really keeps my kitchen looking neat and makes clean up a lot easier. It can be a bit awkward at first working in the plastic bag, but you'll get used to it. Plus, no citrus juice gets in your eyes, which is a nice bonus.

By letshearit — On Sep 21, 2011

Well it is good to know that I have what my recipe is calling for. I always thought of my hand reamer as just a manual juicer, I didn't know it had a specific name.

I am currently in the process of making some wonderful lemon chicken and it called for me to use the juice of a lemon, extracted by a reamer. I wonder if there is a way I can juice my lemons without making a complete mess out of them? I hate using that juicer as I find that it always squirts liquid all over my clean kitchen. Not to mention that I always end up getting seeds all over the place.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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