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Main squeeze: Comparing juicers

| Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009

When it comes to squeezing an orange, you can twist, press, squish or plug in a plug. Which one's the best, we wondered. So we lined up four choices and gave each a whirl with a Valencia orange. Here's the sweet, juicy report.

Mighty OJ Chrome Juicer . $50. Juice per orange half: just less than 1/4 cup. This beauty, all sleek and chrome and retro, the sort of juicer you might have found on the set of "I Love Lucy," caught our eye, all right. But, egad! Trying to get a drop of juice nearly bruised the palm of our hand, as we tried to push down the handle. We tried and tried. Cut a slit in the orange, finally sliced it in quarters, and only then did we get the least amount of juice in the bunch.

DeLonghi Electric Citrus Juicer . $30. Juice per orange half: not quite 1/3 cup. This would be the high-tech end of the juicer brigade, and it gets the job done without much fuss. But there are six parts to clean, and you can't use it outdoors, so don't even think about hauling it to your next picnic.

Squeezer Citrus Juicer . $16. Juice per orange half: 1/4 cup. All bright and orange and enameled, this hinged gizmo looked simple enough. But despite squeezing with all our might, we barely got 1/4 cup of juice, and when we looked inside the squished orange half, it made us sad to see all that juicy pulp left un-squeezed.

Glass Citrus Juicer : $7. Juice per orange half: 1/3 cup. This is the juicer your granny might have had. And you know what• Don't doubt Granny. This one charmed us with the easy, breezy way it worked (Plop on the orange half and twist to your heart's content). The little glass bumps caught all the seeds, and we poured a hefty glass of simple sweet vitamin C. Cleanup couldn't have been easier; there's only one part to this ageless friend.

2 pros produce a jewel among fruit books

"Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More" (Ten Speed Press, $22), by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, is a seasonal spin of a cookery book that takes even a novice baker by the hand, from the fruitful bounty of the farmers market straight home to the baking nook.

We can explore the joys and riches of those old-time fruit dessert classics, the crumble, the crisp, the cobbler, even something called a slump. We're in the surest of hands here with Cory Schreiber, a James Beard Award-winning chef, and Julie Richardson, owner of Baker & Spice, a Portland, Ore., bakery that keeps a close eye on what's ripening on the boughs, branches and brambles. Jam-packed with facts and kitchen secrets galore, this book promises to soon be flour-smudged and butter-smeared. The photos alone will have your stomach growling.

This little jewel seems to be bursting with all good things. Right away, we found the writing wholly delicious and comforting. These two baking pros left little to question. Glossaries abound. And kitchen hints dot nearly every page. The recipes reach outside the box, with a dash of something unexpected or a new technique we have not tried.

Nutrition IQ

Sodium in excess is evil -- or so they say. We're always told to cut down on soy sauce consumption, for example. But a new study in the Journal of Food Science says soy sauce used instead of salt in the cooking process can significantly reduce sodium levels in foods while maintaining the "perception of saltiness." Take our salty quiz about soy sauce and the new study.

1. How much sodium does a tablespoon of soy sauce contain• a) 500 milligrams; b) 750 milligrams; c) 1,000 milligrams

2. Using soy sauce instead of salt in salad dressings reduces sodium by what percentage• a) 10 percent; b) 25 percent; c) 50 percent

3. What is the percentage of sodium reduction in soup• a) 17 percent; b) 42 percent; c) 71 percent

4. The study in the Journal of Food Science says researchers from Wageningen University's Centre for Innovative Consumer Studies were affiliated with scientists from: a) LaChoy Asia; b) Kikkoman Europe; c) Teriyaki New Jersey

5. How long does naturally brewed soy sauce take to develop• a) One month; b) Six months; c) Five years

6. How many calories are in a tablespoon of soy sauce• a) 1; b) 11; c) 111

Answers : 1 c; 2 c; 3 a; 4 b; 5 b; 6 b.

Send food and nutrition news to A La Carte in care of Living, Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or e-mail .

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