Updated 9 December 2013: It doesn’t matter what juicer you buy – as long as you will use it. The main thing is to juice, not to make it some sort of burdensome task.
One of the recommendations for an anti-cancer diet is juicing. The juice is prepared from vegetables, and not fruit, as fruit is high in sugar which feeds the cancer. So the need for a good juicer to extract separate juice from the vegetable is crucial.
Fresh vegetable juice is full of vitamins, minerals and living enzymes which is easily absorbed. The alternative is to eat the vegetables themselves, but that’s a lot of chewing.
The problem about selecting juicers is that it’s easy to get trapped in the maze of which juicer to get.
Someone I know had started an anti-cancer regime and was interested in getting a juicer. I sent him information on my juicer and other juicers. He visited a health-food shop which had juicers. Two months on and he was still juicerless because he wasn’t sure what juicer to buy.
“Listen,” I wanted to say to him, “you’re buying a juicer, not a bloody car!”
So here is the cardinal rule: don’t dither. Just buy a juicer.
Here are some tips, based on personal experience, and the very helpful “Choosing Your Juicer” page from http://www.ukjuicers.com/knowledge/choosing-your-juicer
1. A juicer should release as much nutrients from the vegetables as possible.
2. A juicer should preserve as much of the living enzymes in the juice as possible.
3. A juicer should allow as little oxygen into the juicing process as possible otherwise this causes oxidation of the juice, i.e. reduction in the shelf-life.
4. Your choice is really between centrifugal or masticating juicers, and if the latter, between single auger or twin augers.
Speed, ease of juicing and cleaning and cost are also important considerations, but where your health is concerned, try not to compromise too much.
1. Centrifugal vs masticating juicer
Centrifugal juicers have a cutting blade on the bottom of a rapidly spinning basket. The vegetables are is shredded by the blade and flung out to the sides of the basket. The juice then passes through the mesh holes in the basket. The process incorporates more oxygen into the juice. My understanding is that results in lower juice yield than with a masticating juicer. Plus, the friction and heat caused by rubbing the pulp against a screen can destroy valuable enzymes in the juice.
A masticating juicer chews up the vegetables, causing less damage to the enzymes.
Centrifugal juicers juice faster than masticating juicers. So if your main priority is speed, then choose a centrifugal juicer. However, they don’t cope well with green, leafy vegetables or wheatgrass. For that you need a masticating juicer.
2. Single auger or twin auger masticating juicer?
Single auger juicers have a single gear (usually horizontal) that crushes the vegetable against a filter. The slower the cylinder turns, the less heat generated, the fewer vegetable enzymes destroyed. The Samson or Champion 2000 are examples of single auger juicers. A recent development is a vertical single gear juicer which juice faster because they have larger augers and filters.
Twin auger juicers have two horizontal gears that mesh together. Because the vegetables must pass through the tiny gap between the gears they are thoroughly crushed and broken down. The vegetable pulp is pressed through a screen. Nutritionists tend to recommend twin gear juicers because they offer the best quality juice.
Both single and twin auger juicers can handle wheatgrass and may also have other functions. They are also quieter than centrifugal juicers. Some twin auger juicers have special bio-ceramic magnets which claim to preserve the quality of the juice for longer, but juice should be drunk within 10 minutes of juicing anyway for best effect.
3. Personal experience: Green Star vs Green Kempo twin-gear masticating juicers
The Green Star and Green Kempo are both twin-gear masticating juicers. I have used both. The Green Star is is a workhorse. It is about a third larger than the Green Kempo. The twin augers are large and look like they mean business. The feeder is also larger so you can put in larger chunks of vegetables.
In terms of juicing, I found that the Green Star handles beetroot much better than the Green Kempo which tends to squeak if anything hard like beetroot is introduced. In fact, the Green Star is more robust and gives the impression it can chew anything up, like a brontosaurus. I once used the handle of a wooden ladle to shove some vegetables down the Green Star, and realised to my horror that the Green Star was happily chewing up the handle!
The Green Kempo is a scaled-down version of the Green Star, and so is ideal if space is a problem. Because its gears are smaller, it doesn’t handle hard vegetables like beetroot as efficiently as the Green Star, but it will do them.
The trick to juicing is to cut hard vegetables like beetroot into smaller chunks with a wedge-shape so that the augers can catch the wedge and drag them into the juicer. The other tip is to go slow. Don’t force the vegetable down too quickly or the juicer won’t be able to chew it fast enough.
I’ve heard that it’s possible to juice wheatgrass on a twin-auger juicer, but that it creates a lot of foam. Better to buy a specialised wheatgrass juicer instead.
In terms of dismantling and cleaning, the Green Kempo has fewer fiddly bits. It was easier to clean than the Green Star. In terms of cost, the Green Kempo was cheaper too. But if I had tried the Green Star before the Green Kempo, I would probably have bought a Green Star.
4. Speed and cost etc.
Centrifugal juicers are the fastest juicers and the easiest to clean. But all juicers require an element of cleaning so you can’t get away from it. I can clean my Green Kempo in about 3 minutes. The Green Star took about 5 mintues because the cylinders were larger and got more pulp trapped in the grooves.
Centrifugal juicers are the cheapest of the group. Single augers are cheaper than twin augers. It must seem madness to fork out £300 or so on a juicer, but if you’re using it everyday, and you can be sure that you’re getting a good quality juicer, that’s a small price to pay.