I love homemade juices. They’re one of the first things I learned to make on my own. Having always relied on the blender juicing method as my go-to, I never really gave much thought to investing in a juicer.
But as I was snooping around my sweetheart’s parents’ kitchen the other day, I spied an interesting looking contraption atop the fridge, one that I’d never seen moved from its spot. Curiosity got the best of me. “What’s that thing?” I asked. It was his dad’s old Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, which he hadn’t touched in years.
We pulled it down, dusted it off, and after much drawer-rummaging and cabinet-clearing, found all of its various pieces. I was a little nervous to try it out, as no one in the house had used it recently enough to offer any useful instructions. Enter YouTube.
A few infomercials later (apparently this thing was a big deal in the early 2000s), I was ready to give it a whirl and giddy at the fact that it could purportedly process whole apples. We set it up, plugged it in, and got to juicing.
That first glass of fresh apple juice was nothing short of a revelation. It was a much deeper, richer color than the kind I’d made in the blender or found at the store (as you can see in the photo), and the flavor was bursting and intense. “It’s so sweet and appley!” his daughter marveled. I went on to juice the blueberries and carrot greens we’ll call for in our Crisp and Cleansing Juice later this week, and then used it to process a whole mess of dandelion greens and wild lettuce that we’d foraged for that morning.
Juicers do the job super fast, and with very little effort from you (especially if you’re working with one like this model, which doesn’t require much trimming or chopping beforehand). There are two main kinds: masticating juicers, which press the produce to extract its juice, and centrifugal juicers (the type I used), which gently run a piece or mass of produce onto the surface of a quickly spinning, superfine juicing blade, and then route the juice into your cup or pitcher on one end and the spent pulp into a separate compartment on the other end.
There is a wide, wide variety of both kinds out there to choose from. Masticating juicers are the heavier investment, in the neighborhood of $250-$350. Centrifugal juicers like the Jack LaLanne classic model (pictured) will run you about $100, but can get up to as much as $450. If you’re going to put up the cash to add a juicer to your toolkit, wait until you have enough to invest in a sturdy, well-built model with enough power to save you any extra effort, regardless of which type you opt for.
If you’re pining for a juicer but short on cash, keep your eye on thrift shops, second-hand restaurant supply shops and garage sales. Like many other pieces of kitchen equipment these days, you’ll often find that the best deals are on well kept, older models that someone else has loved and moved on from. Some folks even say that older blenders and juicers are more powerful and longer lasting than the kind you buy brand new today. Lucky for me, my honey’s folks were over Mr. LaLanne, so I got to take home a hand-me-down.
I can’t believe I’d never thought about using one of these guys before. It’s my new best friend—my favorite tool I never had!