Electric Juicers

Sunday, 15 November 2009 | Tags:

While solid fruit and vegetables are a good source of fibre, proponents say you can absorb more nutrients from drinking their liquid form. If youíre interested in tapping into this super power, you should invest in a good juicer. We find out why home juicers are so popular and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different types.


Types of Juicers

There are a few different juicer designs, including:

  • Centrifugal: a high-speed juicer that works by pushing the vegetable or fruit against a toothed disk that rotates to reduce it to pulp. The pulp is then thrown against a basket screen using centrifugal force, straining out the juice while the pulp remains behind.

    • Some models have a pulp ejector that helps eliminate pulp from the juicing compartment. They are typically labeled centrifugal ejection models.

    • The centrifugal model is probably the most popular type of juicer and the easiest to use.

    • Be careful of inexpensive department store varieties. They can have very small baskets and are made of aluminium and plastic that can contaminate juice. Less expensive models can also break down after a few months.

    • Advantages: the extra spinning action produces the greatest yield of juice. The centrifugal variety works really well with water-dense fruits, such as apples, root vegetables, and some greens – the pulp or residue comes out very dry.

    • Disadvantages: non-ejection models tend to require a lot of clean-up. Models with side ejection have motors that spin faster, which can wear out faster than induction type motors used in models without pulp ejectors. The models with side ejection also tend to be noisier.

  • Masticating: a juicer with blades that tear or chew fibres apart, producing a fine past that is then squeezed through a screen.

    • Advantages: typically produce the finest-texture juice; you can use whole fruits or vegetables, including peels, seeds, rinds, and stems so that you extract maximum food value.

    • Disadvantages: the pulp is usually still somewhat moist, which means the maximum nutritional value of the juice is not being reached.

  • Masticating with Hydraulic Press: a high-speed juicer that separates the grinding and pressing functions. It grinds, mashes, and compresses fruits or vegetables into a paste, then hydraulically presses it to create a very dry pulp.

    • Advantages: produces a very dry pulp, which means more nutrients and enzymes are in the juice you are about to drink.

    • Disadvantages: Due to size and weight, this juicer is typically only used in commercial kitchens.

  • Triturating: a juicer that incorporates twin helical blades that slowly rotate (110 rpm), triturating (grinding, mashing and compressing) raw produce, and expelling it and juicing or homogenizing it.

    • The difference between this type and others is the spinning speed of the grating process – some people think this process can heat up and oxidize nutrients and enzymes. (A disadvantage.)

    • Advantages: it produces a very dry pulp, similar to the hydraulic models. This type also performs other functions, such as wheat grass juicing, nut butter making, baby food making, pasta making.

  • Electric Citrus Juicer: an old-fashioned cone-shaped juicer in which you press the halved fruit down on a cone and extract a juice that filters through holes, leaving behind seeds.

    • It is manually controlled – you apply the pressure and turn the fruit or the cone (powered by a motor), and as it spins, you press the fruit down onto it.

    • Some models come with different sized cones for larger and smaller fruits.

    • Look for models with a dust cover and strainer that let you adjust pulp content.

    • Disadvantages: this juicer is restricted to a few fruits only: orange, grapefruit, lemon, limes. Without the masticating blades to break down the fibres, you are missing much of the nutrition. If you just need a few tablespoons of juice, for cooking for example, use a hand held citrus juicer.

    • Advantages: a good choice if you just want a quick glass of fresh squeezed juice in the morning.

  • Wheat Grass Juicer: a machine designed to extract the chlorophyll-laden juice of wheat grass, barley grass or kamut grass.

    • It slowly extracts the juice and doesn’t destroy the enzymes and nutrients that a high-speed or heat-generating machine can.

    • Also, wheat grass is easily oxidized and because it has so much fibre, it will often get clogged in other types of machines.

What to Look For

  • The first thing to consider is where to buy your juicer. If you are looking for knowledgeable staff and a genuine, heavy-duty model, go to a health food store to make the purchase. Department stores tend to carry lower-end to moderately-priced models. Specialty stores may carry some varieties – these may be expensive but staff should be able to offer expertise.

  • Look for rubber feet to help hold the unit in place

  • Cord storage can be extremely handy both for storing in a cupboard or leaving on the counter.

  • Some food processors now come with added juicing attachments to accommodate many different sizes and types of produce.

Advantages of Juicing

  • Proponents say that the body can readily absorb nourishment from juice, and does not need to expend excessive amounts of energy on digestion.

  • Bottled and canned juices are heat processed, sterilized, have added sweeteners and sometimes “preservatives”, to stop them from oxidizing and turning brown. The problem is that the heat process also destroys some of nutrients in the juice. It is these nutrients that are thought to help reduce risk of cancer and other diseases.

  • Fresh juice can have a more intense flavour as it is not watered down like bottled juices can be.

  • It’s a good way to use up excess produce before it goes bad.

  • Proponents of juicing claim that juicers can separate the nutrients from the fibres even more efficiently than your own digestive system. You would have to consume very large quantities of produce to get the equivalent nutritional value from the juice. For example, 1 cup of carrot juice contains the equivalent nutrition of 4 cups of raw carrots.

  • But, eating just a little fresh produce, such as one carrot, still provides about twice the RDA for vitamin A, plus fibre. It is still important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily because fibre is a necessary part of a balanced diet to ensure a healthy gastrointestinal tract and to help prevent some forms of heart disease and cancer.

  • Our digestive process is less efficient at separating the nutritious juice from the fibre and as we age, this process becomes even less efficient. Because of this, we can absorb as little as 10% of the nutritional value of food, but juicing can supply up to 95% of the nutrients.

  • Juicing should supplement the intake of fruits and vegetables, not replace it. Be careful when combining fruits and vegetables – some experts think that enzymes are not compatible (with the exception of apples), and can cause gastric distress. It is best not to mix melons with other fruits, as they require different enzymes to digest. Use an apple to clean out the juicer if switching between fruit and vegetable drinks.

Disadvantages of Juicing

  • It can take a lot of fruit and vegetables just to produce a little juice. For example, a Consumer Reports test found that it took a pound of produce to get 8 ounces or so of carrot, apple, or tomato juice.

  • Produce can end up costing much more than buying commercial juice. Home-squeezed, however, usually does cost less than buying fresh at a juice bar. So you have to decide if the health benefits of fresh juice outweigh the cost.

  • You still need to eat some whole fruits and vegetables to get fibre.

  • Juice can also be high in calories.

  • Juicing takes time to prepare, and to clean up.



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