Hands on with Stem, the juicer than turns fruit into spritzers

Quirky Stem Juicer

Early last March, we highlighted five products from Quirky, a crowdsourcing industrial design company, that we wanted to see come to life. One of the five is Stem, a simple machine that inserts into a fruit to suck juice out. The idea is grand, really. Why bother cutting up fruits into slices to add a finishing touch to your food when you can spritz just the amount you need without juicing the whole fruit? Imagine my elation when a Quirky team member contacted me and said Stem has finally become a real product.

Designer Timothy Houle submitted the prototype and Stem became one of the fastest idea-to-reality projects the company has ever seen. Did those quick months pay off? Find out as I take you into a glimpse of my kitchen and see how well Stem worked out.

Look and feel

When you first receive the Stem, you almost want to kick yourself for not coming up with the product on your own. The design is simple and ingenious: Merely a plastic spray nozzle attached to a removable shield end with serrated teeth to cut into your fruit. Quirky lead designer Jordan Diatlo tells us the product was as close to perfect as prototypes get, and it was an idea that everyone on the team agreed upon once the submission was received.

Quirky Stem Juicer“Every week we get new products to try out, and this was one of the few products that I’ve seen where the whole room was on board,” Jordan says.

However, the prototype did come with a minor design issue. After testing the original, the team realized the spritzer would stop working after a few pushes.

“We realized pulp was getting stuck in the mechanics so [we] added the green shield on the bottom that can be twisted off and cleaned under the sink,” Jordan elaborates. “The original design was really well thought out and about 95 percent of the way done. We just cleaned up the little bits that needed to be refined.”

Stem is incredibly lightweight, but is the plastic teeth enough to cut through the fruit?

Review

Quirky's Stem“Tap the Flavor.” It really is that easy. To make sure I get the most juice from my lemon, I used the old school trick of warming the fruit in the microwave for a quick couple of seconds and rolled it to get the juices flowing. The Stem was able to pierce through the lemon without fail, though I may have over-rolled the lemon as juices leaked out from the sides of the nozzle’s base. However, once I had the Stem inserted, a couple of presses got the juice spraying out evenly into the air. This is excellent over salad, fish, or avocados to keep them from browning.

Quirky Stem JuicerIt was truly surprising how well Stem worked. I did not have any issue with pulp, though if I did I would theoretically remove the handle and rinse out the inside to start over again. Since I didn’t use the whole lemon, I also just stored the entire thing back in the fridge as if the lemon became its own spray container. The next morning, the juices still flowed right out of the fridge despite not getting the microwave blast this time around.

The Stem seems limited to lemons and limes, as they are probably the only fruits you’d want little sprays of each serving. But if the teeth is strong enough to cut through the lemon’s skin, it should have no problem with oranges either. We can find some creative uses for this product, such as adding a little zesty orange fragrance on some pound cake. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I ended up using this all the time for random kitchen needs.

Should you buy it?

My only gripe with Stem is the value of juice per lemon when I spray versus traditionally juice. Since you can’t squeeze all the juice out from the very core, Stem will only suck up as much as the tiny straw can find under the fruit’s skin. Still, this isn’t a huge concern since I wouldn’t use Stem if I were to use lemon juice as part of a cooking ingredient or to make lemonade. The product is clearly made for a very specific purpose.

I’m usually vary about saying this for any ol’ product, but I whole-heartedly recommend the Stem. It’s just so simple and easy to use, and it only costs $5. What have you got to lose for that? You can purchase Stem from the Quirky website or find it in the kitchen appliance section at your local Target.

Emerging Tech

‘Rogue medicine in a bathtub’: 4 experts on the vice and virtue of pharma hacking

A biohacker, pharmahacker, and two bioethicists walk into a bar. We ordered them a metaphorical round and had a chat about the risks and rewards of DIY medicine — from unsanctioned gene therapy to medication made on the kitchen counter.
Product Review

Samsung DW80M9 Chef Collection dishwasher review

Samsung aims to change the dishwasher game with its newest model, the DW80M9 Chef Collection model featuring Samsung’s WaterWall technology. But it’s the thoughtful design elements that really make this dishwasher stand out.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

For Monaris, it’s a photography career launched on an iPhone and Instagram

On Instagram, she's known just as Monaris. But street photographer Paola Franqui has built a following largely with an iPhone and a smile. We sat down with her to talk photography, style, and Instagram, of course.
Smart Home

Ward off porch pirates with these best outdoor security cameras

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Product Review

“World’s Smartest Camera” is let down by not-so-smart omissions

Ooma Butterfleye’s high quality, auto-adaptive imaging, wire-free operation and free cloud storage delights, but there are some flaws to be aware of, including a lack of proper night vision.
Smart Home

Hands-on with the Glas, the most beautiful thermostat you’ve ever seen

Johnson Controls today opened the doors for consumers to buy Glas, the company's answer to Nest and Ecobee, the Honeywell Lyric, and basically every other company that thought it would turn that simple round dial on the wall on its ear.
Smart Home

Cortana and Alexa can now call each other as new relationship begins

Microsoft and Amazon announced a public preview of Cortana and Alexa integration. U.S. customers can now open Cortana with Alexa and vice versa. Basic functions such as calendars and shopping lists are available with the preview.
Product Review

Philips Hue’s Color Ambience makes smart home lighting simple and stylish

It’s not the cheapest smart lighting available, but for those seeking style and sophistication, it’s certainly the best.
Smart Home

The Glas thermostat is now available and works with Cortana, Alexa, and Google

Microsoft just debuted its very own smart thermostat (the first that it's created), and of course, it can be controlled via voice with Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart Home

How to set up your Lenovo Smart Display

Here's how to set up your Lenovo Smart Display, including what information you need to provide to the Home app and how to choose the right Google Assistant settings for your new smart screen.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Smart Home

Fraudulent sales of home alarm systems are on the rise nationwide

According to a new consumer survey from the Consumer Federation of America, there are increasing reports of bad actors using scare tactics and manipulation to sell fraudulent alarm systems.
Smart Home

A school district subsidizes a tiny home community for teachers

The lack of affordable housing in Arizona's Vail school district prompted the plan for a community of tiny homes reserved for educators. Other cities in the U.S. use the tiny abodes for homeless and economically disadvantaged people.