JUICERS 101 by Judy Trupin, Co Chair, Tuv Ha’Aretz

Judy Trupin enjoys an occasional carrot, celery, and ginger juice … but isn’t a regular juicer (yet).
Organic Raw Carrot Juice
If Tabia Heywot’s article last week inspired you to start juicing, the next step is to decide what kind of juicer to buy. What you choose depends on a number of factors – what you’ll be juicing (fruit? vegetables? both?), your budget and your goal in juicing.

The two most common types of juicers are centrifugal juicers and masticating (or cold-press) juicers. Centrifugal juicers produce the juice by first chopping the produce and then spinning it at a high speed. On the plus side, they are easy to set up, easy to clean, less costly than other types and produce the juice rather quickly. On the other hand, the high speed also heats the juice, which destroys some of the heat-sensitive nutrients. An article in the Huffington Post recommends a centrifugal juicer if you plan to use the juices in cooking, where the juice will be heated in any event.

Another issue with centrifugal juicers is that they don’t extract all the juice from the produce. Furthermore, these juicers don’t juice leafy greens very well. Their noise level is another complaint. According to www.juicerfanatics.com, the cheaper ones tend to be the noisiest.

Masticating juicers work by pulverizing the produce. They work slowly and don’t create much heat, thus retaining many of the nutrients. They also do a better job of crushing plant cell walls to release the enzymes, which some who juice for health reasons consider a significant reason to choose this type of juicer.

A masticating juicer is an excellent juicer for getting every last drop of juice out of your produce. They’re usually pretty versatile and will often make other products such as pates, fruit sorbets and ice cream. They can even process nuts to produce nut milks. I’ve used one in the past to make a wonderful banana ice cream by simply freezing some peeled, overripe bananas, processing them, and adding a dash of cinnamon.

That being said, the downside of these juicers is they are more difficult to set up and more of a challenge to clean. Also, they are pricier than the centrifugal juicers, costing about $200 to $300 for a decent one, with the highest-priced ones running as much as $500.

There’s also a manual crank juicer – which is very economical (Amazon lists one for $59), but be prepared to get a bit of an arm workout!

Of course, if you want the most deluxe – and priciest – of juicers, there is also a third type, known as the twin-gear or triturating juicer. This one works by crushing the produce to a very fine powder, getting an even higher yield from your produce than the masticating type. But – we are talking expensive. One popular model, the Super Angel 5500, is an all-stainless-steel juicer, and costs about $1500. The less-expensive models of this type can be found for about $500.

So what do CSA members do? Tabia sticks with centrifugal juicers. She says, “They work well for soft fruits and veggies but kale is hard for them to break down, even if I remove the stems.” She’s using a Bella and a Breville now and in the past had a Jack Lalanne, which is her all-time favorite.

Tabia is considering getting a Vitamix-type machine, but hesitates because she says that they “grind up the skin, pulp & flesh of the fruit to make more of a paste.” And she adds that she prefers the more liquid juice produced by her juicer to the “smoothie-type” produced by the Vitamix.

If the rest of the CSA is like the core group, we aren’t juicing yet, or we did it a while ago and gave up. When asked if they used a juicer, core group member responses ranged from “wish I did” to “I’d rather eat than drink my vegetables” to a few saying it was too time-consuming or juicers were too hard to clean. At least three of us have juicers sitting in a closet or storage somewhere.

So what’s my advice? If you don’t plan on juicing on a regular basis, it might be best to just buy a juice every now and then. Juice bar drinks are pricey, but so are juicers. And if you are contemplating purchasing one, you might want to borrow one from a friend before investing in your own. That might convince you that either it’s not your thing, or help you sort out which type you want to purchase. If you do get hooked on juicing, consider the above advice, check out some online reviews, and get started. And let your fellow CSA’ers know what works for you!
Happy juicing!

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