Earlier this year I read that Juicers top the list of purchases that people in the UK regret the most. Personally I like my juicer and my top purchase regret was a device I once bought from Betterware that promised to facilitate the straight cutting of bread. This was after one of Mr CrazyEgg's colleagues commented on the unusual shape of his sandwiches. The juicer I am very happy with, and have had for several years. Yes it gets stashed in a cupboard and lies unused for weeks on end, but then it comes out for an airing and we are on close terms once again.
My juicer is an old one, the Moulinex JuiceMaster Plus, and is readily available still, but only apparently on ebay where you can pick one up for about £20, and possibly considerably less- one is on for a starting price of 99p.
Juicer is as Juicer says: it is a small machine that turns fruit and vegetables into juice and a punnet of pulp. In the early days of ownership I enjoyed much experimentation. There are two settings on the juicer, one for juicing hard fruit/veg like apples or carrots, the other for tackling soft stuff like the delicious raspberry. The quantities and combinations are down to the juice visionary. With a noisy, high pitched whine the juicemaster plus extracts juice by pulverising the food into tiny pieces, via a rotating blade: it is a centrifrugal juicer. The pulp is spat out into a large receptacle at the back of the machine. The juice drips out of a nozzle at the front and into a special jug. Invariably a frothy head is produced and the jug is so designed that when you pour out your juice this froth can be left behind if it is not to your taste. I believe however, that this froth can be a great source of vitamins and other beneficial nutrition, so I often drink it too.
Sadly the process is not as effortless as the above paragraph may imply. Firstly you have to cut your fruit into pieces small enough to go down the feeder tube. It is a fairly small chute so apples have to be halved or quartered, pineapples cut into sticks. Really hard veg and fruit can cause the blade to slow down or audibly struggle, and you have to develop your own technique with the pusher supplied to push the fruit down the chute. If you want a decent quantity of juice ie a glass you will need a surprising quantity of fruit. You need 10-12 apples to produce one small glass of juice, so this is hardly a cost effective means of getting basic juices, unless you have your own fruit trees. Once the juice is produced you are left with a large container of fruit pulp which tends to get thrown away. If you are frugal you may find this painful. It may be possible to make a cake with the pulp but I have never done this. Then you are left with the washing up- seven different items to wash: the jug, the pulp holder, the plunger and four other plastic bits that fit atop the juicer. Of these, two are particularly awkward to clean, the others are very quick or can go in the dishwasher.
One of the reasons I have enjoyed my juicer so long is that I have a nail brush and a toothbrush to hand to clean the awkward bits. One of these is the rotating blade which is styled like a metal dish with the texture of a very very fine cheese grater. You need the nail brush here to get the pulp and fibres out effectively. The toothbrush is for cleaning inside the nozzle where the juice comes out. It is far easier to clean these pieces straight away than leaving them which is a pain. It is ok if you only use the machine occasionally, but if you are looking for a juicer to use every day, then I would advise a pricier model.
The other reason I love my juicer is that it can create a most delicious drink: pineapple juice. I have always had a real dislike of pineapple juice from cartons or bottles so why I ever juiced a pineapple I don't know. But what was produced was a really yummy, creamy drink unrecognisable from the bought version. For this drink alone it is worth storing this juicer in various locations around the kitchen. Since the soft pineapple is the only thing my juicer is now used for it probably hasn't had the hardest of lives, but it is one of my oldest kitchen appliances so I think of it as most reliable and am happy to recommend it to the occasional juicer.
I bought this as part of a health kick last year but have not used it as much as I would have due to the noise and the difficulty cleaning it. I paid £44.99 from Amazon and it came with a free Juicemaster recipe book which was interesting reading. It's a graphite colour, doesn't really go with any of my other appliances but I keep it in a cupboard anyway! It makes enough juice in 1 session for 1 large glass.
SIZE AND STORAGE
The item is rather bulky to store due to its height - width and length wise it isn't too bad, about the height of an average kettle and width/length of a toaster. The two clear jugs store one inside the other which helps. There's no storage for the cord though, and it doesn't wrap easily around the machine, so it sits loose in the cupboard.
CLEANING AND PARTS
The juicer breaks down into several compartments- which makes for a lot of washing up. They are dishwasher safe, but I don't have a dishwasher! The parts need to click in place and if they don't, then the lid wont go down and the machine cant be turned on. My main complaint is the cleaning though. I do not have a dishwasher and soaking for long amounts of time does not shift the fibres of fruit and veg. Using a sponge or cloth leaves fluffy deposits, so a brush works best, but it is very difficult to clean, and there are so many parts too. I always put it in a bowl of hot soapy water immeadiately after use as this helps somewhat.
Fruit and veg needs to be chopped fairly small in order to be juiced, and there are 2 options- soft and hard fruit/veg which makes processing easier. The machine had no problems juicing anything I put in it. All non juice is deposited into the back jug, ready for composting or throwing. All juice is filtered into the front jug, but unlike the back jug it isn't fixed in, and so spurts of juice do miss the jug so there is wastage. The jug itself has a small divider in it which seperates the froth from the juice when poured into a glass, it does work to some extent.
The machine keeps in place during all of this due to the little rubber sucker pads on the base that are firmly stuck in and not going anywhere. In fact on a wet surface they stick so well I had to slide the machine horizontally off the work surface!
The machine is very noisy, by far the noisiest appliance in the kitchen and thus not very welcoming in the morning.
* 2 speed function
* Extracts juice from any hard or soft fruit or vegetable, including citrus fruits
* 1.35 litre removable pulp tank
* Stainless steel safety bar for easy one handed operation
* Automatic switch off
* Juice jug with foam separator
* Easy to clean with non electrical parts dishwasher safe
* Automatic safety cut out
* Weighs 3.6 kg