With the juicing craze sweeping the nation and all the celebs toting around green-colored drinks, you might be ready to hop on the bandwagon and make your own juice. But, there are so many juicers on the market today, and wading through the listings may feel akin to filing your taxes. Never fear, this handy guide will give you the low-down on juicers and help you make an informed decision when you purchase one.
Can’t I Use a Food Processor I Already Have?
A juicer isn’t the same machine as a food processor, though there are a few ways you can produce juice with a regular food processor or blender. A juicer will separate the juice from the fruit or vegetable and leave the tough, fibrous parts behind. A blender simply liquifies the material.
Decide What You’re Juicing
Fruits and hard veggies like carrots and radishes are easier to juice. When you start adding leafy greens like kale or spinach into the mix, you’ll have to work a little harder to get the nutrients from the foods. Different kind of juicers handle these food products in different ways.
There Are Different Kinds of Juicers?
When you start shopping for a juicer, you’ll notice there are two types of juicers (for home use, that is). The type you choose will depend upon how you decide to make your juice and what you want in your final product. Let’s look at these types of juicers in greater detail.
These are fast, easy machines and are perfect for beginners to the juicing world. They tend to use flat, spinning blades in a mesh strainer and have wide feed mouths, so you don’t have to chop the whole foods in small pieces. They also work best with fruits and hard vegetables rather than leafy green veggies like spinach.
But, they do tend to be loud, and juice from a centrifugal juicer doesn’t stay fresh as long, so it’s best to drink your juice right away. You can store your juice in the refrigerator for later, but you’ll lose taste and have some oxidation occur (think of a cut apple turning brown—that’s oxidation).
Some models will automatically eject the pulp when the strainer is full, which will save you time as you prepare your juice. In a model without the ejector, you’ll have to stop juicing and empty the strainer periodically. Visit Juicer Cruiser for details about centrifugal juicers.
These are a little more complex to use, but offer the benefit of being able to add leafy, green vegetables to your juice. They operate using a screw-like cog that grinds (rather than chops) the whole foods, pulverizing them. This actually ruptures the cell membranes in the foods and releases more of the nutrients deep inside the cells.
Masticating juicers also reduce the amount of oxidation in your juice and preserves your fresh juice longer in the refrigerator. You’ll also get more juice from the masticating juicer than you would from a centrifugal unit and you’ll have less foam on the top of your juice.
These units also have two types: a horizontal and a vertical gear. The horizontal gear juicer is more common, but the newer vertical gears seem to be growing in popularity, as these tend to take up less counter space. Both run at low speeds so you get more juice and drier pulp.
Consider Your Budget
Juicers can be quite expensive, but if you shop around, you will see there is a wide price range to fit everyone’s budget. If you’re not really sure how you’ll like juicing, perhaps you should choose a cheaper model. That way, you can always upgrade to a better unit if you really enjoy juicing. But, if you don’t use it often, you won’t have wasted a lot of money for another appliance to add to your ‘graveyard’.
If you’d like to make fresh juice for your breakfast in the morning and don’t have a lot of time, a centrifugal juicer is probably the best option. These make juice quickly, so you won’t have to find time in your routine to fit in your juice.
A Word About Cleaning
No matter what juicer you buy, you’ll have to thoroughly clean it each time you use it. You’ll want to look for a model that comes apart easily for cleaning. You don’t want to dig out a toolbox every time you use your unit.
Choosing the perfect juicer for your home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Each style and type of juicer will have its own pros and cons, and you’ll have to compare these to your needs before you decide which juicer is right for you. Keep in mind price and the availability of space in your kitchen when shopping for a juicer. And once you find the right one, you’ll be well on your way to a happier, healthier body!