Product Type: Jack La Lannes juicers
Newest Review: ... After searching around I choose this juicer as I believed it was a good start. After using it for a couple of weeks I think this juicers... more
The Juicer by Which All Others Have Copied
Jack LaLanne Power Juicer
Member Name: Nar2
Jack LaLanne Power Juicer
Advantages: Does what it says; easy to clean, easy to use
Disadvantages: Still expensive; bulky, no stop spout function, some limitations in juicing everything.
That was my last experience with a juicer. When I bought my Kenwood food processor and indeed when I bought my mum her Kenwood food processor, we both received a citrus press which was great (and still is) for orange, lime and lemon juice but we wanted more!
Then in 2003 and spurned on somewhat by the legend (well he is in America I guess) of Jack La Lanne my mum and I purred over the white motor machine which seemed to take big fruits in its stride – well it would since most fruit in America seems to be larger than the fruit we get here, and in time through Vector Direct we purchased our very own Jack La Lanne fruit juicer; at the cost back then of £140-00 it did seem like a very expensive purchase but like many consumers we were drawn by the way it produced juice as well as the promises of what the juice actually does.
Whilst the Kenwood had more than eleven parts to the machine, the Jack La Lanne model only comes with seven parts which made building up the machine when it first arrived very easy:
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Spec **
• 500 watt commercial grade motor – and it is very quiet in use AFTER juicing.
• Stainless steel blade – Dishwasher safe
• Plastic sealed metal centrifugal filter – Dishwasher safe but on low temperature.
• Plunger – Dishwasher safe
• Two Part lid – Dishwasher safe
• Waste disposal bucket – Dishwasher safe.
• Weight: 5kg
• 3 Year guarantee additionally from Vector Direct.
Price in 2003: £140-00
Price currently at Argos: £99-00 cat number 4224992
** Setting Up and Using **
The Jack La Lanne model is very easy to build up since it only consists of seven parts, but once the two part lid has been fixed together but sliding each part in, the whole top becomes one complete lid and our lid rarely needs to be split apart even for cleaning. You begin with the metal base motor which then holds the juice feeder tank, then the plastic metal filter basket, then the blade which JLL also include a handy lock spanner tool with a magnet on the back. I never realised that the magnet would be so handy; whilst it attaches itself to the blade to loosen it on the machine, it can be mounted on our fridge freezer (or any metallic surface such as a microwave) so that we know where it always is when we need to take the blade out. Then the top goes on, rise up the thick metal hinge to lock everything in place and without the plunger in place you are nearly ready to go.
Now whilst this may all sound very difficult, it is in actual fact very easy and the whole principle of setting up isn’t that far off from setting up a food processor for the first time, even if the parts on the Juicer are bigger; crucially the plastic is thick and unyielding so it never feels as if its likely to break and in the years we have had it, not one part has ever decided to break off or bend. Once the disposable box is placed at the rear of the Juicer, making sure that the edge is behind a metallic edge on the back of the machine, you are ready to go with your new Juicer. ** This is a long review **
** In Use **
In use however the JLL juicer can do almost any fruit – as long as it contains sufficient water, so whilst potatoes are not unheard of to juice, I prefer juicing the usual fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, apples and grapes. I have tried other vegetables and fruits which the JLL manual and cook book supplied recommend and these work well really well.
Of course the beauty with the JLL juicer (and this has since been copied by virtually any company who no longer want sleepless nights) is the fact that whole fruits can be put down the plunger. I have never found in all the years of ownership an actual fruit or veg getting stuck down the feeder tunnel because the plunger itself is thick acrylic and is big enough to push anything down even though you may have to give it a mighty shove. At the bottom of the plunger there are serrated edges which help to grip any fruit pieces left and thus ensure nothing is ever wasted.
** How Does It Work? **
* The Principles of Centrifugal Force *
Basically, imagine those large spinning tops that you get at fun fairs. The kind of spinning discs where people get to stand up in and get strapped in at the sides of the walls. As the top starts to spin, the air in the middle of the circular disc starts to push against the forces of air around the sides. This is why you cannot feel anything in your body when you are literally forced to the sides. This is the principle of Centrifugal Force. To be fair with Kenwood though, they and a number of manufactures set the standard principle of Centrifugal Force more than 10 years ago rather than supplying an electric citrus press that you would use for citrus fruit, thus limiting choice. So in terms of new technology the JLL juicer brings nothing new to the table in terms of how the fruit is crushed to produce juice.
With this juicer, as the blade spins at a high speed, and a fruit or vegetable is put in, the moment it hits the blade is the moment it gets crushed for juice and pulp. The force of the spinning blade thus pushes out the juice through the filter into a separate juice chamber and pulp flies up into the acrylic see through bucket at the back.
There is only one switch on this machine and it's a small black switch similar to a light switch, press down to operate, flick up to turn off. It has been marked with 1 and 0 incase logic really does defy you. It is located at the right hand side of the machine.
Once you do this, you are ready to go. Select the fruit you want, grab a glass or tumbler - although one of those Pyrex glass measuring jugs will do or similar and start juicing. You may find that even if you do have a total full bowl of fruit, you won't be able to resist dropping different kinds of fruits.
When you have finished juicing and the juice stops coming out of the lower juice chamber reservoir, put another glass to stop any droplets from coming out. It's not like Kenwood's Smoothie maker which has an annoying drop spout that is supposed to seal upon making smoothies. Here there is just a channel where the juice flows out - so it's just logic to put another glass to catch any last remaining drips.
** Downsides **
Inevitably then this is an obvious downside because the later and small developed (and more expensive) Juicer Express model from Jack La Lanne/Princess has a stop spout mechanism which stops excess juice from juiced fruit/veg from dripping on the feeder channel. I permanently have a mug which sits in front of the spout for the very purpose of catching any remaining juice as a precaution.
Another downside to this juicer is that it is coloured in basic white plastic. Other juicers on the market have begun to be produced in black plastic with chrome accents. Whilst I don’t mind the actual colour and build quality which is better than most, the white colour does show up stains really easily but at least they can be removed by a damp cloth.
Another obvious downside to the JLL machine is that it doesn’t have a froth filter built in. When fruit and vegetables are juiced they produce froth thanks partly to the fact that the skin and bareness of the fruit/veg is coming into contact with air; other juicers may have this, but it is just as easy to lift the froth out of the top of the tumbler which collects the juice anyway!
** What Fruit / Vegetable can be used? **
Put it this way, the only fruit which cannot be used is a banana. Bananas cannot be used in any Centrifugal force action juicer, let alone Jack La Lanne's machine because they break up into sludge upon contact with any blade that moves, particularly at high speeds. If you try to put a banana in, it will act like a glue and permanently stick the blade down thus burning out the motor. Bananas are ideal for thicker smoothies which you can prepare in a blender instead but they usually need some kind of liquid to thin the banana paste out. Jack La Lanne’s manual is well marked for the warning of never using bananas in this machine.
Preparation of some fruits and vegetables has to be done, but it doesn’t hark back to cutting everything finely and precisely with other juicers I have used.
For example, apples and pears don't have to be peeled as the skin and the seeds together get thrown into the bin at the back (the same applies with Tomatoes and Peppers) and unlike the Kenwood machine I used before, the seeds actually get ground down - they don't get chucked out. You can usually taste the root of the seeds anyway in the finished product.
Any citrus fruit MUST be peeled. This makes sense because the waxy skin doesn't possess many good qualities whilst the most important part of the fruit, the insides and the pith can get juiced equally well. So there is no need for example to worry about peeling the pith - that white skin that surrounds citrus fruits. Once the outer skin has been disregarded, you can pop as many citrus fruits in as you like. Citrus peel in general turns fruit bitter when they are being juiced.
I must warn though that whilst I have juiced oranges before I found that the motor cut out several times after juicing five or more oranges in one go. Similar to a banana, the properties of an actual orange, lime and lemon if juicing whole can slide around the blade and force the motor to work higher than it should. The thermal cut out lasts for around 30 minutes according to the manual but I have managed to get the motor to work after just 15 minutes before.
Similarly, anything that has a large stone must be cored; it can’t simply be chucked in. This means that mangoes, peaches, plums and cherries must be de-seeded before they are put in the machine. Grapes and small berries with edible seeds however are the exceptions here as these can be thrown in readily without de-seeding. The Jack La Lanne Juicer may look like a miracle worker in the kitchen but it cannot incorporate the entire family of fruits and vegetables in one go, as other rivals that use centrifugal force can't either. You do need to prepare some fruits or vegetables first before juicing can occur.
Once you start juicing with this machine, the endless choice is limitless but this means it is limitless in the owner’s experimentation of combining the flavours and scents of fruits. Can you honestly combine the flavours of an apple, a couple of grapes, and a piece of melon, a pear and a carrot in 10 seconds? With this juicer you can! Sometimes you don't even have to wash the fruits or vegetables although the manual does recommend you to do so to avoid any pesticides that have been added; we’ve juiced garden fresh carrots for example with minimal washing other than to scrub soil off and the taste between shop bought and own home garden grown is quite a difference.
** Preserving Juice **
The advantage of lemon juice for example is a well known fact to sustain the longevity of home made fresh juice. You can store ready juiced juice in the fridge by adding a drop of lemon juice (but no more otherwise it will bitter the drink) or vitamin C power to ensure freshness as well as stopping the drink from turning brown.
Make sure that any juice that is to be put in the fridge is stored in a sealed air tight container. Carrots, apples, oranges, grapes, kiwis, prunes, celery and peach juice for example are all good fruits that store well in the fridge.
** The Pulp **
Pulp from all the fruits that I have tried is completely dry. It is not saturated with juice that the filter mesh has missed and as a result, the pulp collected can be used for pasta sauces, carrot cakes and baked goods such as muffins and scones. They won't of course say scones on the American advert but my mum claims that it has been ideal to save the orangey pieces that are flung out for scones. So you read it here first! The manual does suggest that Vegetable pulp can be used for casseroles, quiche, Soups and stews amongst other choices whilst fruit pulp can be used for smoothies, pies and breads and other choices. More importantly, both types of pulp can be frozen.
Why Use Pulp? Using pulp in cooked dishes helps your digestive tract to function better, as well as providing you with more nutritional content.
** The Size & Weight **
The unit is similar in height to our Panasonic bread maker and half as wide, so it sits next to the oven because its one of those gadgets that we have realised we cannot do without. This juicer weighs around 15 pounds so it's best to leave the machine and its permanent rubber feet on a surface and allow them to sit on a level surface. I do find that the JLL machine however is bulky thanks to its overall size. Other than the Kenwood I used to use and a Magimix juicer I’ve seen being demoed, most juicers these days are of similar sizing due to the large motor and plunger sizes copied from this juicer design.
Depending on what you have loaded into it, the machine will shake but not uncontrollably. The design of its circular blueprint means that it can shake from side to side but as long as you control and ensure that the fruit has been pushed all the way down the chute and juiced, the machine should return back to normal. If it doesn't then the blade is probably loose and hasn't been tightened enough. Four rubber feet are permanently screwed to the base of the JLL juicer but over the years Jack La Lanne has started to make a removable base for this model which lessens on the mess if anything gets on the surface. We didn’t bother purchasing this, seeing as it is a particular waste of money unless you like the extra walled item on the base and in this respect just use a flat square small chopping board if any excess juice escapes out of the spout.
** The Noise of The Motor **
When you switch the machine on for the first time, allow the machine to power up. In effect all you're doing is allowing the blade to become accustomed and hear for its whizzing about. The problem is, there is a mere sound of wind rushing and a slight buzz. That's the blade moving around and its not until you put a fruit or vegetable in from the moment it hits the blade that the sound of the fruit searing against the blade comes into its own. But still, this is an extremely quiet machine and compared to the Kenwood, its worlds away in terms of noise suppression.
** The Manual **
There is actually 3 parts that come with this machine in terms of paper information. Firstly, there's the manual whilst 5 pages of the book at the start inform the user of the machine, the other 34 pages are entirely made up of recipes.
Another booklet comes with the machine which clearly shows diagrams and pictures of what goes where in case you don't know what to do. This is a black and white booklet which deals with in depth knowledge training about the machine.
The last booklet is really a separate leaflet of troubleshooting points and guides. All in all, it's an excellent way of separating use of the machine and uses of the machine with its intended purpose.
** Cleaning **
Vector Direct include a compliment page whereby they state that although parts of the machine are dishwasher friendly, it is better to hand wash the parts rather than constricting purely to dishwasher washing. In effect it means that if you wash the outer lower bowl which has chrome inserts, the salt from the dishwasher will in effect eventually dull the chrome whilst plastic parts including the fine mesh filter will start to deteriorate. Similarly detergents and harsh abrasives will dull the chrome - so you have been warned!!
After you have finished using this juicer, switch off and allow the blade to stop moving. Unhook the hinge and take the machine apart. Everything comes off like building blocks, so it's really easy to do. Once this is done, wash all the parts such as the hood and main bin (once you have cleared all the pulp from the bin and the curved channel which forms part of the main hood) in hot soapy water and allow to drip dry or towel dry.
** Nar's Little Cleaning Tip **
Here's something they didn't tell you about and it's handy for anyone who has this machine. Get a scouring pad, the type which has a plastic scourer on one side and the softer sponge on the other. It is the sponge that does most of the work for the fine mesh filter. You can use the scourer on the plastic parts but use it gently so not to abrasively mark the plastic.
The lower bin which catches the juice cannot be taken off until you remove the filter mesh basket. Using the attachment that comes with this appliance, (its a handle with two nibs which fit into the blades which already have holes for the purpose of refit and cleaning procedure) fit the handle into the locking holes and twist the blade off. This reveals the entire blade which can be again washed in hot soapy water.
Whilst everything can be washed in hot soapy water, the most important aspect is the fine mesh filter basket. Once you have got the blade out, take the scourer pad and use the soft sponge on the inner and outer sides of the basket. This as you will find will remove all the juice and pulp which has been caught. Similar in look to an overlarge tea strainer, you won't find many bits of pulp that you can assume you have missed for your own consumption. Take the sponge and wash slowly over and over in running hot water and dip a few times in the soapy hot water. Once of course the basket is off, you can remove the juice chamber, and then wipe the base motor with a damp cloth.
The base of the metal motor is all in chrome so once again as the manual does suggest, a damp cloth will suffice; some detergents may dull the chrome finish. Allow everything to dry and then you can put it all back together again! Time take to wash? 5 minutes. Time to put back together? 2 minutes because I want to juice again!!
Another tip which is something I picked off another review about this juicer is to add a slow trickle of water after juicing as this will remove most of the pieces of fruit both from the blade and the feeder basket. It also adds a layer of water to the back waste bin which means emptying the wasted parts of vegetables/fruits simply slide out with ease.
** Optional Costs? **
For an additional £14-95 we also took out a warranty with Vector Direct TV; it was initially for a one year ownership guarantee but the year after Vector Direct offered us a completely free 2 year extended period for something like £6-95. We are very glad to have taken up the offer as last year I lost the plunger through transit and tried every implement in the house including a plastic rolling pin to use in its place. Whilst it worked well, it didn’t minimise escaping pieces of fruit as it hit the blade and Vector Direct were more than happy to send out a replacement plunger free of charge under the guarantee. So you see, in some ways it does pay to pay extra for a guarantee.
The most obvious optional cost is the fact of buying fruit. If for example you consider organic carrot juice which can be found in 1 litre bottled form, and if I take my local health store into consideration, a 1 litre bottle of carrot juice, organic branded is priced between £6-95 and £8-95 a bottle. It is easy therefore to suggest that a loose bag of carrots, say 100g for 80p at a supermarket far outweighs the need to buy organically branded factory produced juice.
But it doesn’t always work out that way; where you have companies such as Innocent Smoothies which are forever falling in actual price per carton, the combinations of fruit which are used within Innocent products can work out to be the same if you were to buy each fruit for the purpose of making a similar smoothie based on the Innocent recipes. I know because I tried this and found I only spent something like 30p extra on the real fruit compared to Innocent products.
** Conclusion **
I think this is an exceptional machine even though it is now shadowed by a smaller more compact offering from Jack La Lanne. Not just because it has key points in constructing the machine but the manuals that have come with it are well written, all in English (you can actually order the manual in a different language upon buying the machine) whilst diagrams are well located and simplified to use.
The machine is bulky but it is American designed so it has to cope with large quantities in its blueprint but you don't need large quantities to get a good glass of juice. An apple and a pear for example will give you nearly 200ml of juice - that is a standard small glass that is sufficient for me. Having such a large motor and being suitably insulated also means that its generally quiet even if it is actually noisier when fruit and veg is being juiced; I also find cleaning and dismantling very easy and outpaces the Kenwood in so many ways. It is the juicer which by most other manufacturers has since copied for their own models. The advantage however is the ease of use, capacity, design, quietness from the larger motor and now thanks to its popularity available from most high street appliance outlets. And of course who can forget? Our model is stilll going strong after purchasing brand new in 2003. May well it continue to impress! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Summary: Buy it if you are fruit/veg obsessed.
|Ease of use:|