“Juicing” (raw vegetables and fruit, not athletes on steroids!) has been a health tactic-verging-into-diet-fad for some years, and lately has gotten a lot of press. Many supermarkets now carry commercial brands of juices and smoothies, plus juice bars and shops sell everything from just-pressed juice to entire regimens of delivered juices and fasting support.
Personally I’m not big on “fasting” or “cleansing” to extremes – but I’m not great about eating enough vegetables. I also wasn’t interested in paying up to $10 for 16 ounces of juice!
About 7 years ago I bought a cheap juicer, but it was such a pain to use and clean that I put it on a shelf and eventually gave it away. Recently a Facebook friend posted about using her old but reliable Omega juicer, which got me interested in researching what machines were available and easier to use regularly. I was willing to spend more to get a better performing juicer after calculating the the cost savings if I were to have two 16-oz servings of juice per day:
2/day = 14/week – at a local juice business’ prices the cost is $133-140 per week.
A $250 juicer plus $30/week in organic vegetables/fruit from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s brings me out ahead of store-bought in just 3 weeks!
Yes, I could buy much cheaper juice products at the local grocery, but when you read the labels of those you will find they lean heavily on fruit juices and can have total sugar content the same as or higher than a can of Coke!
In this post I’ll describe the various types of juicers – a future post will cover how I’m using mine.
There are three different types of juicers:
Centrifugal juicers are the least expensive. They grind the inserted foods with a sharp spinning disk and throw the bits against a screen to extract their juices. They are the fastest type, but also the most inefficient in separating juice from pulp and don’t do a great job with leafy greens like kale. They can be difficult to clean.
Single auger masticating juicers use a gear (auger) to chew up the foods into a pulp, then squeezing the pulp against a screen to separate the juice and then eject the pulp. They are slower than centrifugal juicers but do a much better job of extracting juice – the resulting pulp is much drier, and they extract leafy greens well. They have a heavy-duty motor (though pretty quiet) and cost $200 or more. They also can do other things, such as grind nut butters and extrude pasta with other attachments.
Triturating juicers have two augers for grinding the food. They are the top of the line in both efficiency and price, and are slower than single auger juicers. I didn’t really consider them due to the price.
This page gives a good description and suggestions for the best of the different juicer types. As they say, the best juicer for you is the one you will use!
After doing a lot of research, I decided to buy an Omega 8004 masticating juicer.
I got it for $60 off the usual price by purchasing a factory refurbished unit from JuiceBlendDry.com – this was a good option because it still came with the full 15-year factory warranty. You can also look on Craigslist used juicers, but the asking prices were similar to the factory certified ones.
If you decide to get a similar Omega juicer, here are some subtle model differences to know:
And if you cannot afford a juicer at all currently, it IS possible to start out with a regular blender:
- Pre-chop the vegetables into small pieces before adding to the blender
- Add about a cup of chopped vegetables plus a half cup (or more) of water to the blender and buzz that until the vegetables are really mushed up.
- Add more chopped vegetables and blend/pulse. Add more water if necessary.
- Pour the blended mix though cheesecloth or other fine mesh to strain out the solids. This guy is using a paint strainer, but I’d suggest washing anything not intended for food use!
Next up: what am I juicing, juice storage, what to do with all that pulp!