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Buying Guide: The Best Juicers For You

The authors of The New Cooks' Catalogue certainly know what to look for when choosing cooking equipment. These leading culinary experts have been evaluating cooking equipment for over 25 years. The following information is what they consider important when selecting a juicer.

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What to Look For

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Fresh juices have a taste and texture quite unlike processed juice. Combining several kinds of juice—say, apple and orange, carrot and gingerroot—will give you a truly refreshing drink. Even haute cuisine has joined the juice craze, following the lead of the French-born chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose kitchen uses the juice of everything from pineapples to radishes.

Citrus Juicers

Leverage presses and especially electric juicers are efficient when you want to present a carafe of fresh juice for breakfast or when you’re baking a tarte au citron. For small amounts of juice reach for a citrus reamer instead--either handheld or set into a dish.

Citrus Reamers

A citrus reamer has an utterly functional design--a wide cone with ridges that crush the inner flesh of the fruit, releasing its juice. You must press down and rotate the citrus half—one with sharp ridges will make the most of your efforts. Hand-held models should be solid and weighty with a comfortable handle. A reamer dish should feature one-piece construction, a pouring lip and enough capacity to hold the juice of two or three lemons--at least 1/2 cup, or four ounces.

Electric Citrus Juicers

An electric citrus juicer is a reamer set on top of a motor. When you press down, the motor rotates the reamer. The juice is released and separated from most of the pulp by a strainer that surrounds the reamer.

Properly designed models can accommodate the different circumferences of limes, oranges, and grapefruits---some models accomplish this with interchangeable reamer cones, others feature one cone with a tapered shape.

Leverage Presses

Leverage press-style juicers make use of smooth cones to force juice from the citrus flesh, and as their name implies, use the weighty pressure of metal against metal to extract juice.

Juice Extractors

Juice extractors consist of a motor attached to a spinning cutting disk that grates fruits and vegetables into juice and pulp. Centrifugal force separates the liquids from the solids.

It takes about 3 pounds of fresh produce to yield 1 quart of liquid so it's important that the extractor have a high yield. A powerful machine will give you the most juice possible from each fruit or vegetable. Horsepower and revolutions per minute (RPMs) is the key to the machine's power.

A machine with a large feed tube (rectangular or semicircular shapes are generally best) requires less chopping of fruits and vegetables prior to extraction.

Cleaning

Juicers aren't easy to clean, but models that catch the pulpy waste in an internal metal basket may be more of a nuisance. Centrifugal force whips the sticky pulp against the perforated sides of the basket. Manufacturers of these models provide filter strips to line the strainer basket for easier cleanup, but these can reduce your juice output. If you make large quantities of juice, you will have to stop to clean out the basket frequently or risk reducing your yield of juice. For this reason, we prefer the pulp-ejection-style juicers that shoot the pulp out into a smooth plastic receptacle that can be easily and quickly rinsed.

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