Choosing a Juicer

To keep my kids healthy I have been juicing more fruits and vegetables and also blending the juice into smoothies. Fresh juices are also great to make fresh pasta sauces with. 

A juicer is not like a blender because it is specifically designed to moisture from the fibers of fruits and vegetables. Juicers work by separating the liquid inside a vegetable or fruit from its pulp. I sometimes use the pulp leftover from a juicing session to make muffins especially if I am juicing carrots or cranberries. If you want you can use a blender to make some kinds of juices but I am a purist. I also don't want to bother straining pulp from juices.

The easiest juice to create manually is from citrus fruits, which you can just squeeze into a glass from your hand or by rubbing half of the fruit over a manual citrus juicer. The best juices on the market are the high-speed electric juicers. There are four kinds – the centrifugal, the centrifugal with pulp ejector and the masticating juicer with hydraulic press. The centrifugal juice chops the fruit or vegetable up and then spins it is an interior bucket at a high speed that helps separate the juice from the pulp.  The pulp stays in the basket until you remove it. The ones that have pulp ejectors pop the pulp out of the machine through a side opening into a collection container. The most popular brands are the Olympic, Phoenix, Braun, Oster, Sanyo and Panasonic models. They can cost anywhere from $50 to $150. 

The masticating juicer is a high-speed machine that chomps up the vegetable or fruit into a paste and then presses it all through a screen to eject the juice.  Some of these juicers have hydraulic presses attached. Champion and Norwalk are well known masticating juicers. They are largely used for pressing wheat grass juice.  You can also get electric wheat grass juicers that are faster and more sophisticated and are designed to juice produce that is difficult to put through a machine normally such as sprouts, lettuce and avocadoes. 

If you are feeling old fashioned you can also make juice by hand. You can buy juicing kits in houseware and department stores that consist of inexpensive grating boards and heavy duty cloth bags.  If it is wheat grass juice that you are after you can also buy special manual wheatgrass juice grinders. Some people would rather use a manual juicer with wheatgrass juice as it is thought that high-speed juicers oxidize the sprout or green juices.

Oxidization causes the enzymes to be degraded with free radicals. To determine whether or not a juice has been oxidized during the juicing process taste it. If it has a bit of a metallic taste after you extract it then you may have bruised some of the vitamins and nutrients it contains.

Here is a good store to find a juicer.