As more people long for the vitality and longevity that a healthy lifestyle offers, the spotlight on juicing gets brighter. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices supply copious amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, many of which are broken down and destroyed during cooking or processing. Juicing effectively preserves these values so they benefit your body rather than vanishing into thin air.
Fresh juice is also convenient for those on the go and appeals to many who typically don’t find themselves reaching for whole or cooked fruits and vegetables.
Getting started in juicing is as easy as finding yourself a great juicer. But how do you go about finding the best juicer, for you?
First Things First
If juicing is a consideration for you, the first thing you’ll want to do is give it a try. Juicing sounds delicious and healthy in theory and knowing this stirs optimism but it’s truly not for everyone; the last thing you want to do is be left with the bitter taste of an expensive counter decoration. If you’ve tried juicing and love what you’re consuming, investing in a high end quality juicer is a great next step.
The Balancing Act
Maintaining good health requires that our bodies take in a variety of nourishment provided by the various food groups. Keep in mind that while whole fruit and vegetable juices are incredibly healthy, your body still needs to take in certain amounts of fiber in order to maintain a healthy balance.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Juicer
It’s important to choose a juicer that is going to meet your long-term needs. Your lifestyle will help you decide what features and benefits will be most important to factor. In turn, those features and benefits, along with your budget, will help narrow your choices down to the best fit for you.
Ease of Use
Tossing produce into the juicer is just the first step in the process. Taking the juicer apart and cleaning it is a whole other step which, if complicated, can make you think twice about putting your juicer to good use.
Here is where your lifestyle comes into play. Are you often short on time? Do you spend little time in the kitchen or are you a domestic master? Are you the only person in your household who will be using the juicer? The answer to these questions will help you decide whether choosing a very basic juicer with few components and features is a good match for you, or if investing in a juicer that has multiple functions such as a butter churning, making nut butters, grinding coffee or making baby food is better suited option for you.
Another consideration is efficiency. An efficient juicer is more convenient and safer to operate. Large feeding tubes – 3 inches or wider – and pulp catchers save valuable time by eliminating the need to pre-chop foods or continuously empty the pulp container while making your juice. The disposal chute is equally important. A larger chute is less likely to get congested or jammed. Once again, your personal needs and lifestyle will determine what constitutes as “efficient”, for you.
As for speed, it’s best to keep your options open by getting a multi-speed unit. The more functions a juicer has, the more likely it is to have a variety of speed settings. Remember, when blending some items, speed is your friend. However, when it comes to juicing, blending too fast has the same ability to destroy all those valuable nutritional benefits as cooking does. If you opt for a multi-speed juicer,always choose the lowest speed and work your way up as necessary.
As with any household appliance, it is necessary to assess what benefits and features work best for you and decide where your budget lands based on this. Centrifugal juicers yield less juice than the masticating or triturating juicers do. You may save money by purchasing a less efficient juicer today but it will end up costing you more over time than if you invested a bit more now for one that has more features and yields more juice than waste.
This is entirely a personal preference, but certainly a consideration. If you live with others and intend to juice in the early morning, investing in a nice quiet juicer may save your popularity rating among the household and will allow you to multi-task without pausing due to the noise. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive juicers are also the quietest. Ask yourself if you want to hear a blender running for approximately 15-20 minutes. If not, a quiet machine goes at the top of your list.
Choosing the size of your juicer will largely depend on some of the important aforementioned factors. Will you store it in a cabinet after each use or will it be a permanent counter-top fixture? Will you have to compromise features in order to accommodate size? Your lifestyle will once again be a deciding factor.
A lifetime warranty is a great thing to look for in a juicer. The more features, the more room there is for something to go wrong. Some of the less expensive brands offer limited warranties, with some stores offering inexpensive extended warranties at the register. Weigh in on your replacement cost in the event something happens. Those extended warranties have been useful their share of times.
A powerful juicer that can take on the job of tougher veggies will have a minimal 400 watts of power. Some folks express concern over the effects of this on the electric bill but considering that more juicing means less cooking,this is easily offset.
Easy to clean
Generally, the more functions a juicer is capable of, the more parts it contains and consequently, the more challenging it is to clean. On the other hand, simpler models will have less components, making clean-up straightforward. If time is in short demand, shop for a juicer that has parts that are dishwasher safe to make clean-up a cinch.
What are the types of juicers?
The most commonly used juicers are centrifugal juicers and masticating juicers. The two are very different but represent a range of features and benefits able to meet the needs of an array of consumers. Below we’ve listed some pros and cons for each juicer type;keep in mind that these are subjective based on the desires and needs of each individual.
Centrifugal juicers extract juice by cutting up produce and spinning it at high speeds. The flesh of the produce is collected against a mesh filter and the juice passes through the filter and is collected. It got its name because centrifugal force is what separates the juice from the flesh. Centrifugal juicers are the most common type in use today, as their simplicity and price point tend to be attractive to juicing beginners.
Price – You can pick up a quality centrifugal juicer for a lot less than a quality masticating juicer. This allows a new juicer to get their feet wet without a large investment and also appeals to those whose budget simply doesn’t allow for more.
Speed – If you’re looking for juice in a hurry, a centrifugal juicer is a saving grace. The high RPMs mean your juicing times are considerably shorter.
Ease of Use – Great for beginners and experts alike since centrifugal juicers make juicing simple. Simplicity shouldn’t be underrated because, over time, complicated processes are the ones people tend to abandon.
Clean Up – These juicers are practical and easy to clean. They are a cinch to take apart and are often dishwasher friendly.
Oxidation – The Centrifugal’s high RPM generates more oxygen bubbles within the juice. This results in a lower juice shelf life and hinders the ability to make bulk batches without considering spoilage.
Lower Yields – Centrifugal juicers do not yield as much juice, resulting in less juice efficiency over time. The pulp retains some of the juice and is wasted, unless a more creative use is used.
Noise – Centrifugal juicers make their presence known with a noise level similar to that of a regular kitchen blender. If you don’t find the sound of a blender running for say, 10-15 minutes, then the noise level likely won’t bother you a bit.
No Leafy Greens – The extraction method of the centrifugal juicer is not conducive to juicing leafy greens such as grasses, spinach kale or cilantro; they are so lightweight they just get spun to the sides against the mesh and end up yielding little to no juice.
If you’ve ever seen a juice referred to as cold-pressed, you know this was the work of a masticating juicer. These juicers do not produce heat because they slowly crush and press fruits and vegetables in a similar way to the mouth when chewing food. The slow speed eliminates heat and lessens oxidization. These things combined mean more juice and a longer juice storage life.
Juice yield – Masticating juicers are highly efficient and often extract double the juice yield of centrifugal juicers. They also work well on leafy greens and harder type produce because they first “chew” them up and then press the juices out of them.
Juice quality – Extracts more flavor and nutrients from your produce and increases shelf life.
Oxidization – The cold press systems extracts juice at lower speeds, destroying less of the nutrients and enzymes one seeks when juicing. This process also allows for longer storage of juices which means larger batches can be made rather than having to juice every day.
Noise – Masticating juicers are whisper quiet, making it convenient to juice without consideration to noise levels.
Functionality – Masticating juicers are versatile and also serve as processors for other types of foods.
Price – With average pricing of $200-$500, a masticating juicer can sting the budget but is an investment that is recuperated over time.
Clean up – Naturally, it does take a little more time to clean a masticating juicer as it has more parts and more functions. It isn’t going to take an extra day to clean but for some people that extra time is needed elsewhere.
Finding the right juicer for you may take some time and research. One thing we recommend is to find a retailer who is able to offer a demonstration so that you can see, hear and taste, first-hand, how a juicer functions. With so many options in the market-place today, you are sure to find a juicer that will fit into your lifestyle and budget.