Here on Eat Clean, Eat Real we love juicing. It is an easy way to get a whole range of nutrients into your diet. By removing the fiber, it also improves the amount of these vitamins and minerals that your body can actually absorb, making it superior in some ways to actually eating fruit and vegetables.
This means that is should be one of the first additions to any healthy kitchen. However, not all devices are created equal. Depending on the exact method used to extract, they are going to be more or less efficient and produce varying qualities of green juices.
If you are struggling to make your choice, this guide should help; We take a look at two of the best juicers for your buck so that you can decide which one might be right for you
Your first Juicer: The Breville JE98 XL Juice Fountain Plus
When you buy your first juicer, it is tempting to get the chepest model that you can find. After all, what if you find that drinking vegetable juice every day isn’t for you? Unfortunately, this can lead people to give up on juicing before giving it a real go because the results are disappointing. Perhaps it is very slow or difficult to clean, produces very little juice and quickly gets blocked up with pulp. Also, the nutritional value of the juice isn’t going to be great which will give sub-par results if you try something like a juicing cleanse.
The trick is to find a balance between price and features. Breville hits this perfectly with the JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus. You will get features that are really useful rather than gimmicks. It is easy to use and won’t give you a headache as you try to work out which button does what.
So what are you actually getting? Well, for a start, two speed settings make for a simple decision, depending on what fruit and vegetables you are using. 12000RPM for harder ingredients and 6500 RPM for softer things.
Of course, the key for juicing is getting as much goodness as possible out of the raw ingredients. Juicers will tell you that one of the best things about juicing is the enzymes in the fruit and vegetables. These are extremely sensitive to heat and Breville’s patented system claims to transfer virtually no heat as it processes.
Ok, this sounds good, but most of us are also interested in ease-of-use and maintenance. Here are some of the benefits that you’ll find:
- Extra wide, 3 inch feeder shoot (perfect for larger chunks and to save time cutting up whole apples and oranges)
- Extra strength cutting disc (nothing is more annoying than having to fish out pieces of fruit that get stuck in the mechanism)
- Large, 1 liter juice jug
- Easy cleaning. Can be taken apart quickly and put in the dishwasher.
- Practical safety features (automatic shutdown to prevent overheating and fail safe mechanism if the lid isn’t in place-nobody wants juice spraying all over the kitchen!)
- Low volume. This might not be a deal breaker for some, but I juice every day and I prefer something that doesn’t sound like a plane taking off in my kitchen!
Overall, the Breville ticks a lot of boxes. It is easy to use and works quickly through all sorts of ingredients, including leafy greens (which is rare at this price point.) It is well-made and stable and can be a real work-horse, getting through several shifts of juicing a day if you want. It will also give you a high-quality green juice at the end which will let you really see the advantages of juicing.
Stepping up to a Masticating Juicer: The Omega 8000 Series
The Breville will do an admirable job in the kitchen but if you are serious about juicing and really want to get all of its benefits, you are going to look at a masticating juicer at some point. A quick recap on the different sorts of machines that you can buy. A centrifugal juicer, like many of the slightly less expensive models on the market, works by spinning the central container around very quickly (often up to 15000 RPM) and uses blades or teeth to break the fruit down and extract the juice.
A good centrifugal model will get the job done but does have a couple of drawbacks. It won’t juice things like wheat grass very efficiently for example. There are also concerns about the effect the heat from this rotation can have on the enzymes in the juice. Given that these nutrients are the main reason for juicing, this can be off-putting. A quality centrifugal juicer probably won’t have this issue, but the juice extraction won’t be quite as complete or as efficient.
The next step up then is a masticating juicer like the Omega 8000 series. These are often known as slow juicers because they only rotate at 60-100 RPM and gradually ‘chew’ the pulp in order to get the juice. The result is better both in terms of taste and nutrition. It should keep for at least a couple of days without losing any off its goodness.
Omega, like Breville, knows a thing or two about juicers. There are a couple things that I particularly like about the brand. Firstly, they back up their products with a 15 year guarantee. This isn’t something you will find on a $50 option. I have heard enough horror stories about people scraping juice off the kitchen walls to think about going down that particular route! A quick search will find you enough stories of parts being replaced immediately and without question from Omega to give you a lot of confidence.
Secondly, the NC800 HDS represents the fifth generation of this model. Every version offers the same thing but better. Smaller footprint? Check. No BSA? Check? Replace plastic with metal or reduce noise? Check and check!
A couple of the features worth noting:
- Easy clean. You can take this apart, wash it and put it back together without worrying that it will break.
- Extremely robust. I juice every day, often several times. I need something that can do this and carry on doing it for a long time. This does.
- Automatic pulp ejection. After a week or two, scraping around inside a cavity to remove shreds of pulp can get old pretty quickly.
- Dual stage juice extraction process. This gets the most out of the fruit and vegetables leaving just the pulp behind.
The advantage to this type of product is that it isn’t limited to just juicing. The auger system is great for making nut butters for example.
So are there any downsides to a masticating juicer? Well it will certainly take longer. If you are used to throwing the ingredients in the blender, mixing for 30 seconds and drinking, you might be in for a shock because this isn’t how juicing works. However, this juice will keep so there is no problem making your stock the day before. You may also find that pulp from softer fruits gets caught around the auger. An easy fix to this is to finish your juicing with either greens or harder vegetables. This is usually pretty effective in carrying any residue through the grinder.
So which model might be best for you? Honestly, the only bad choice is to buy a $50 blender and hope for the best. You will spend more time wiping juice off the work surfaces, trying to remove bits of pulp from hard to reach corners and wondering what all the fuss is about as you sip your tasteless mixture.
Buying the Breville JE98 is a fine choice, especially if it your first juicer. It is a solid product, easy to maintain and quick to use. However , if you are planning on making juicing part of your daily meal plan, it makes sense to invest in a masticating model like the Omega NC800 HDS. Your taste buds and health will both thank you for it.