Home: Juicing Couture

We tipped back glasses of healthful goodness to find the best juice extract- ors


WHEN I WAS A KID, the fresh “fruity” drink that started my day was Tang — a long way from the pure juice I sipped while testing juice extractors. Sure, juicing takes a little more effort than stirring powder into water, but then the nectar yielded during my experiment didn't include Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

There's something wonderfully fortifying about drinking a few ounces of freshly prepared juice, and these machines do all the work, mechanically extracting the liquid from your choice of fruits and vegetables. To test them, I used my favorite blend-apples that easily fit in my palm, large carrots and a little ginger.

BLADES OF GLORY

BREVILLE DIE-CAST JUICE FOUNTAIN ELITE(800 JEXL) With its quick setup, sturdy construction and sleek stainless exterior, the Breville's big price tag will be worth it to those who want to juice in style. Devouring whole apples and large carrots with grace and speed, this extractor ably delivered on the manufacturer's promise to produce “an 8-oz. glass of juice in just 5 seconds.” The accompanying 34-oz. jug is a nice touch, fitting to the machine snugly so there's no chance of spills as it fills with extracted juice; plus, it's pretty enough that you won't mind taking it to the breakfast table. The whole experience got even tastier during cleanup. The stainless-steel parts disassemble quickly, and it's a snap to wash the pulp from the container and filter basket. My only complaint is about the noise. This wasn't the loudest juicer I tried, but when using the high setting (there's also a low speed for softer produce), I found myself wishing for those earmuffs airport workers use. The mighty motor also took at least 10 seconds to power up and down, but the Breville's 1,000 watts mean you have to do very little work before saying “Salud!”

FAMILY STYLE

WARING PRO JUICERATOR (JEX450) I wasn't able to feed whole apples into all of the juicers I tested, so the Waring's best feature is its ability to pulverize large fruit and vegetables without any preparation. No chopping means a few extra minutes of sleep every morning. There's also a handy juice cup that comes with a lid and a froth separator that holds back the foam as you pour. Fans of fiber might favor this one because it produced the pulpiest concoction of all I tested. The beefy machine requires a lot of counter space, but the size makes it suitable for large families because it can handle a lot of action. (The juice container holds 10 cups.) Big components make for clumsy washing, and only some of the plastic parts are safe in the dishwasher. Befitting a name like the Juicerator, this was also the loudest machine I tried. But the body design earns a mark in the plus column — the parts snap snugly in place, and even with its bulk, it can all be easily picked up and moved.

JUICE OF CHAMPIONS

Champion 2000+ Juicer Unlike the other machines I tested, this one operates using a masticating process-chewing up produce in a slow (some may say unappealing) grind. It even looks different, and I had to catch extracted juice by placing a bowl under the protruding part of its tubelike body. This makes for a potentially messy transfer to your glass, but the included strainer can help funnel the liquid. I think the strainer is intended for holding back excess foam, but this workhorse yielded very little. In fact, it wins hands down when it comes to efficiency. I assume that such a small amount of pulp was ejected because the Champion so thoroughly consumed the produce. The instructions say that a clicking sound will warn you if you're overloading, but I fed apples (chopped and cored) and carrots at a reasonable pace without setting off any alarms. The Champion's hefty weight (more than 20 pounds) can be justified when you consider this is virtually a countertop restaurant. With a change of one small part (included), you can make baby food, nut butters, jams and ice cream. This is perfect for people trying to make health-conscious eating decisions every day, and presumably those folks won't mind taking the extra time required to cut up a few apples.

EASY TO PEEL

OMEGA JUICER MODEL 4000 PULP EJECTOR This extractor can handle a whole large carrot, but I had to quarter a small apple before feeding it in. The results are still delectable, yielding very little foam during a pleasingly low-noise-level operation. Another plus is the compact body design, which requires little counter space. The black or white version will look great in an all-stainless-steel kitchen. This machine does not come with a juice container, and its squat design leaves room for only a small juice glass under the spout, so this might not be the right juicer if you're entertaining for brunch. There's an extra cleaning step the others didn't have: You have to unscrew the blade from the basket before washing. Still, there are no hidden crevices where pulp can get stuck, so cleanup is a cinch.

BIG TALK

HAMILTON BEACH BIG MOUTH PRO JUICE EXTRACTOR My biggest disappointment while testing the Big Mouth Pro was that I had to cut a small apple in half. I had to chop for others I tested, but I didn't mind because none of those says their machines can take a whole apple as Hamilton Beach does. I'm not sure what apples the company used to justify this claim, but they aren't for sale in my market's produce aisle. Even with my extra effort, I noticed pieces of apple in the pulp receptacle that had not been sufficiently shredded. Despite these complaints, this is probably a good entry-level juicer for those who aren't ready to commit more than $200 for one of the fancier juicers I tested. The noise level was acceptable. It comes with a simple cup, and though it doesn't have a lid like some others, there was no splashing as the juice poured out. The pulp receptacle snaps nicely into place, and the machine is light and easy to move. The lid has a few crannies where pulp got stuck, making cleanup a bit sticky. It was also a little hard to get the basket clean, and I needed a stronger bristle brush than the one that comes in the box. But you can put the plastic parts in the dishwasher, and with the money you save on this inexpensive model, you'll have enough leftover to invest in a good cleaning brush.

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