juicers and other equipment

The BEST Juicer, Is there one?
 
Often times, we are asked, "which is the best juicer?". Choosing a juicer is like a choosing an outfit to wear. If your going swimming, you will wear a bathing suit. If you are going to a formal occasion, you will wear an tuxedo. Choosing a juicer is much the same. You must match the juicer to what you intend to do with the juicer. There are several "styles" of juicers available on the market today. Some are better suited for juicing certain kinds of produce than others. There is no "perfect" juicer that will perform every juicing operation with equal quality. Please evaluate your needs carefully before purchasing an appliance.

Before purchasing a juicer, you should ask yourself, what considerations are important to you, when making your choice? Some factors you should take into consideration are:        

ease of cleaning (very important)
noise level 
speed of juicing 
efficiency of juicer (how dry is pulp)                                                                                                                 warranty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
produce you will be juicing 


One of the reasons why there is not a "perfect" juicer is because fruits and vegetables have vastly different properties. The juicing method that is effective for one may not work while juicing the other. Fruits, have soft cell walls, and therefore require a gentle extraction method. Apples, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple are some of the fruits that can be juiced peel and all. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, have a bitter outer rind, and juice from a "whole" orange would be too bitter to drink. It also contains indigestible chemicals. One solution is to grate away the outer rind (the orange coloring on the orange - it is best to leave the white "pith", as valuable nutrients are contained within the white area). The more common method, is to slice the fruit in half, and then using a "reamer" style juicer or a citrus press to press out the juice. 

* I always recommend people purchase organically grown produce whenever possible, especially when juicing produce items, skin and all. 

Vegetables on the other hand have fibrous, "tough" cell walls, requiring more aggressive mechanical juicing action than fruit. Due to their low acid content, it is recommended that vegetable juices be consumed within 15 minutes of their preparation, since it has been demonstrated that enzyme activity in juice 30 minutes old is one-half that of freshly made juice. When apple or carrot juice turns brown, it has oxidized. 

Juices that are not made fresh, and sold in the store that are bottled or canned will NEVER oxidize. This is because the juice has been heated to kill all the enzymes. The enzymes are one of the key reasons why making fresh juice with your juicer can be so beneficial. 

I will attempt to explain they various styles of juicers on the market today, how they work, and a brief overview of their advantages and disadvantages.

Centrifugal Juicers
The centrifugal juicer design is one of the oldest juicer designs. This juicer uses a grater or shredder disc and a strainer basket with straight sides to hold the pulp in the machine. The shredder disk is at the bottom of the basket, which revolves at a high speed (3600 rpm). The produce is put into the top of the machine, and it pressed through a chute, hits the spinning shredder disc, while the produce is being shred, juice is released. The basket spins at a high speed, much like a washing machines spin cycle and force pushes the juice through the strainer basket, and comes out of the front of the machine, and the pulp stays inside the machine. Generally this style juicer can make 1-2 quarts before the juicer must be stopped, and the pulp must be removed before further juicing can take place. This is not a continuous juicing appliance. The two centrifugal juicers we sell are the Acme 6001 , Omega 1000 and Omega 9000. These machines use stainless steel baskets and ball bearing induction type motors. The acme 6001 and the Omega 1000 offer a 10 year warranty, and the Omega 9000 offers a 15 year warranty. This juicer is good for juicing most fruits and vegetables.

Centrifugal Ejection Juicers
Made popular by the "Juiceman" Infomercial, the centrifugal ejection style juice is the next juicer we will be explaining. This juicer operates much the same way as the centrifugal juicer above operates, except for the sides of the basket is slanted. This allows for the basket to be "self-cleaning", so there is no need to stop the juicer and empty it out. The pulp is ejected out of the machine, usually into a collection bin or basket, that can be lined with a plastic bag to collect the pulp, and then easily discarded. Due to the short contact time of the pulp in the basket, these juicers need to spin faster than the centrifugal juicer, at about 6300 rpm. This style juicer is the noisiest of all the juicers. The The Omega 4000(15 year warranty), Lequip model 221 (12 year warranty), Lequip 110.5 (6 year warranty), Miracle Ultra-Matic (3 year warranty), NutriSource 1000 (5/2 yr warranty), NutriSource 2000- this machine also is a grain mill and makes soy and rice milk (5/2 yr warranty) , the Juicelady (1 year warranty) and the Juiceman II (1 year warranty) juicer are the most popular of the pulp-ejection centrifugal. Its small size and ease of operation make them a good choice for older individuals or those with limited physical abilities. These machines are the easiest to clean, and are fast. They are good for juicing most fruits and vegetables. 

Masticating Juicer
The Champion Juicer, made by Plastaket, combines three operations into one. The Champion Juicer first grates, then masticates or chews the pulp to further break down the cell-wall structure, and then mechanically presses or squeezes the pulp to extract the juice. The Champion uses a powerful slow-turning motor and requires moderate strength to operate. It is definitely not a machine for a physically limited person. It can juice almost every type of vegetable efficiently, including leafy vegetables. By blocking off the juice spout (with the blank or solid plate), the Champion can be used as a homogenizer to make such foods as essene bread, raw applesauce, tomato sauce and baby food. It can make peanut butter or other nut butters. It also makes wonderful ice cream-like desserts from raw frozen bananas and other fruits. By assembling the Champion without the blank or juicing screen, it can be used as a grater or to make shave ice. The Champion's motor is manufactured by General Electric and its juicing parts are constructed of stainless steel and nylon; it has been manufactured since the 1950's. It is best for juicing most fruits and vegetables. Plastaket also manufacturers a more powerful version of the Champion juicer, its the Champion Commercial model. The difference is that it has a bit more powerful motor and a stainless steel motor shaft. The look of the machine is the same, as well as all the external parts. (We have one and like it very much- Dr. G.) 

Manual Press Juicer (forget it- too expensive - Dr. G.)
The press style juicer squeezes the juice out of the produce by pressure. The press juice, its a two step process: first the produce must be shredded then it is pressed. There are two style of juice presses. One style uses leverage to squeeze the juice, while the other type uses a hydraulics. The Ito Juice Press is a manual press that uses leverage to extract juice from produce. It is made of all metal and is quite sturdy. The Norwalk is an electric two step juicer that combines grating and pressing operations into one unit, with this machine, the vegetable or fruit was first grated by a revolving cutter into a linen cloth lined tray, which was then placed into a motor-driven hydraulic press. Extremely high pressure was necessary to extract juice from vegetables (6,000 lbs. PSI), The hydraulic press produced a high- quality juice from both fruit and vegetables, but it was a difficult and time- consuming machine to use and to clean. In addition, the $2000.00 price tag is quite high for the average consumer. A good substitution for the Norwalk juicer, would be to use the Champion Juicer as a grater, and then the Ito Juice Press, Welles press or K&K press, which are operated manually that squeeze the juice out of the produce. Pressing causes the least oxidation of the juicing methods, and produces a pulp free juice, since the juice is strained through cheese cloth. This type of juicer juices fruits (especially soft ones) better than other types of juicers.

Single Auger Juicers
This juicer works with a single auger that basically crushes the produce into the walls (or screen) of the juicer, and in the process extracts the juice. It runs at a low RPM, so there is little oxidation. The single auger style juicer has been on the market as a dedicated wheatgrass juicer for many, many years now. Just recently, a new design of the machine allows the single auger style machine to juice wheatgrass as well as other vegetables and fruits. The brand name of this new style machine is called the Omega 8001(5 year warranty) , Samson (10/5 year warranty- Formerly called the Oscar). This new single auger machine juices wheatgrass about as well as a dedicated wheatgrass juicer and does an excellent job juicing leafy greens. It will juice fruits and other vegetables about as well as the twin gear juicers (below). (we hear that these are very good juicers- if you are going to juice both veggies and wheat grass juice) We found that this type of machine was not as effective at juicing carrots, and the twin gear units. (read more about that here) The juice made with this machine tend to be really pulpy and it is advised to use the strainer that is included. Fruits and non leafy vegetables need to be cut into small "cubes" for best results when using this juicer. For best results when using this machine, the hard and soft produce needs to be "alternated" when feeding into the juicer. As the twin gear units below, this machine is not the greatest for juicing fruits.

Twin Gear Press
These juicers have two gears that basically press out the juice of the produce. The screws turn at a low 90-110 rpm. It is very similar to two gears in a automobile transmission that mesh together. Basically, the produce is pushed (with some force) into the two gears, which first shreds, and then squeezes the produce. These machines are best for juicing vegetables since these machines rely on the fibrous cell wall to push the pulp through the machine. As a bonus, these machines will also juice wheatgrass (Generally a separate wheatgrass juicer is required to juice wheatgrass). The quality of the juice produced with these machines can be compared to the quality of the hydraulic press above. These machines are not for the"faint" or "frail" hearted as some pressure is needed to feed the produce into the machine. Machines in this category are the Green Power Juice Extractor, Green Life Juice Extractor, and The Green Star Juice Extractor. These juicers truly give "the best of both worlds" but there is one drawback: the price. They can be as much as two to three times the price of the Centrifugal or Mastication Juicers. While these juicers are best for juicing vegetables, the Green Power and Green Life machines have a fruit attachment available to help it better juice fruits. (We have successfully juiced hard apples, hard pears, watermelon with rind, and citrus successfully with these twin gear machines). The Green Power, Green Life and Green Star are also able to homogenize as the Champion above, and make raw apple sauce, delicious fruit sorbets, nut butters, baby food. Included with the green power and green star is the pasta maker and mochi (Japanese rice cake) attachments. (They are available at additional cost for the green life)  The second drawback with these machines is they are more time consuming to clean due to the number of parts and assembly time.

The noise level of the juicers are all different. A good rule of thumb: The faster a juicer turns (Revolutions Per Minute) or RPM, the louder the machine is. Based on this, the Single Auger and Twin Gear Machines would be the quietest (operating at ~100 rpm) , followed by the Champion (~2700 rpm) ,then the centrifugal machines (~3600 rpm) , with the centrifugal ejection (~7200 rpm) machines being the loudest.   The Green Power is very quiet. 

Recommendations:
For people interested in juicing both fruits and vegetables with equal quality, the centrifugal juicers such as the Acme, Omega 1000 and Omega 9000 will work quite well. If citrus juice is also desired, both models feature an optional auger-type citrus attachment. These juicers are not well suited to doing wheat grass or leafy vegetables. They need stalk-type vegetables or solid type fruits to work properly. Replaceable filter sheets make cleaning both the Omega 1000, Acme much easier. Please note: a dull shredder-cutting disk will cause erratic operation. It should be replaced at least every three years. 

I find that my personal favorite, for fast, easy and quick juice making is the centrifugal ejection juicers. The Omega 4000, Nutrisource 1000, Nutrisource 2000, Lequip Model 221, Lequip 110.5, Miracle Ultramatic or the Juiceman II are the easiest juicers to clean, get a good extraction from the produce. They will juice most fruits (including the skin) and vegetables.

People who are primarily interested in vegetable juices should seriously consider the Omega 8001, Samson or Champion Juicer. They were specifically designed to produce its highest quality juice from vegetables. The juice it produces from vegetables is darker, more concentrated, and contains less entrapped air than juice made with a centrifugal juicer. For this reason the juice has slightly longer shelf life. The Champion juicer makes a rather pulpy fruit juice that borders on fruit sauce.

For people that want the highest quality juice, the twin gear press or the single auger machine is the machine for you. They are more efficient (especially juicing leafy greens) than the other juicers mentioned. Since they operate at a low RPM, it is the quietest of all the juicers, and due to the low rpm, the oxidation that occurs while juicing is minimized (this maximizes the nutritional value in the juice). If you have the money, and you will be juicing mostly vegetables and some fruit. (This is not the machine for you if you want to juice mostly fruit - it was designed to juice vegetables) Another bonus is that it will also juice wheatgrass juice (with a lot of foam, however). The Omega 8001 and the Samson are single auger juicers. The Green Life, Green Star, and Green Power Juicer are the twin gear juicers. The Green Life, Green Star and Green Power with the fruit attachment will help it to juice some fruits, such as hard apples, hard pears, watermelon and citrus. These juicers are best for leafy greens, and are not recommend for people who want to juice mostly fruit. If juicing a combo drink, juice the softest item first, followed by the harder item and alternate them. (ie: apples then carrots) This is because the twin gear machine REQUIRES fiber (such as in veggies) to push the pulp through the machine, or it will back up. The disadvantage of these machines is the time to clean them. They take longer to clean because they are more intricate, with more parts.

For people who are interested in changing their lifestyle, with a combination Raw Food/Cooked Food diet, I would highly recommend either the Champion Juicer, Champion Commercial Juicer, the Omega 8001, Samson, Green Life, Green Star or Green Power juicers, due to the features besides juicing. The homogenizing feature comes in VERY handy for making raw/living food recipes. We personally like the Omega 8001 or Samson Juicer since it juices leafy greens and wheatgrass really well, and will also juice other produce. 

If you want to produce high quality wheatgrass juice, a slow-turning manual-type juicer such as the Miracle (MJ 550) or Back to basics stainless steel produces the best quality. There are many motorized varieties of wheatgrass juicers such as the Miracle and Wheateena to make it easier to juice wheatgrass. The can recommend the multi-purpose Omega 8001 and Samson for people that want to juice wheatgrass as well as other types of produce.   
by John Kohler      (Courtesy of Discount Juicers)

     Now here is the big decision one has to make.  When you want your juices just right , like me, then you will want to get two juicers, one for vegetables and one for wheat grass juice. If you wish, you can get one of the Omega, auger type juicers which will do both. However, be forewarned, the wheat grass juice does have quite a bit of foam in it. We don't like to see this because of the extremely tiny air bubbles in there which tends to oxidize the juice very quickly. One of my long time patients has one and she has no complaints. If you go this route, you can save some money. 

DR'S COMMENTS ON WHEAT GRASS JUICERS:  I have had several types of these. I can say unequivocally that unless you get the extremely expensive stainless models that go for about a $1000, I recommend that you get the Miracle with PLASTIC grinding parts. Why? The reason is simple, that the less expensive metal ones grind metal and it gets in the juice. I bought one of the Miracle MJ550 juicers made out of hard plastic.  I am very happy knowing I don't have any iron going into my system.  This is because, the less expensive ($225- $400) range wheat grass juicers are not made out of stainless, they are made out of a much softer metal, and the auger (turning screw mechanism) inside soon becomes very shiny on the edges, showing that metal is grinding and getting into the juice.  Metallic iron has been shown to be toxic to the heart and we don't want that!  So for home use, the little Miracle does just fine. It is also quite portable if you wanted to travel with it.  It does have a stainless screen underneath, but not part of the moving mechanism.

On manual wheat grass juicers: forget it. they are inexpensive, but don't waste your money. Very slow and tedious. most people give up after only a few juicings. Save your money.

DEHYDRATOR - We have an Excalibur dehydrators they have 4, 5, and 9 tray models. These dry foods while preserving the delicate enzymes when set to below 104 degrees. 

BLENDER- need a strong one, a Vitamix is not necessary (almost $400). I have found that Kitchen Aid makes one called the "Classic"  with "electronic control" with 5 buttons. It cost me Under $80 in WalMart.  It seems to do the job even with thick sprouted wheat berries for essene bread dough.  

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