The best cheap, all-purpose juicer: Omega 8003

During my treatment for breast cancer this year, nutrition was a big challenge. Hell, getting any food down was a challenge during chemo and radiation. That's where my interest in fresh juices began. I hunted around for a single, affordable device that could produce a diverse array of juice, and ended up with the Omega J8003. It rocks.

During my treatment for breast cancer this year, nutrition was a big challenge. Hell, getting any food down was a challenge during chemo and radiation. That's where juice comes in. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to get concentrated nutrition in an easy-to-ingest form. Green juices, root juices like carrot and beet, fruit juices—just as they each yield different colors, they also yield different flavor profiles and nutritional benefits.

I hunted around online for a single, affordable device that could produce a diverse array of juice.

I bought this: the Omega J8003 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer. $229 on Amazon (free shipping if you're a Prime member, as I am).

There are far more expensive juicers, and there are more recent (and pricier) versions of this one—but this is a great entry-level, affordable tool. It suits my daily needs just fine, and I have used it regularly for the past 6 months. My friend Brian Lam at Wirecutter first pointed me to it. Three big strong points: Price, ease-of-use, ease of cleaning up.

Let me show you what I mean, with today's batch of what I jokingly referred to as my go-go juice, with apologies to Honey Boo Boo. I drank it every day during radiation, and here I am, alive. So, I suppose it helped me win.

A word about produce: I try to stick to organic (or at least from local farms that don't use synthetic chemical pesticides). That may or may not be your preference, but it's mine. Hitting farmers markets is great, too. But whatever's fresh and readily available and affordable, so you will be encouraged to juice regularly is best.

For the green juice I'm making today, I started with the large bunch of kale shown in the snapshot at left (thanks, @isalara!).

There are many varieties. My favorite is the one known as lacinato ("lacy") or black kale, sometimes called cavalo nero. It's dark and meaty, with rich flavor. But you can use purple, curly, whatever kale is in season and crisp. This giant bunch as big as my head cost me 2 bucks at my local farmers market.

In the photo below, you can see how I smush in the entire leaves of kale; stem and all. Other than washing them and inspecting them for any bugs or dirt, there's really no prep involved with the leafy greens. If they're so huge they jam in the intake, tear them up a little with your hands.

I add an apple or two for sweetness and to balance the intense kale flavor. The mouth of the juicer is too small for the apples to fit in whole, so I cut them into loose chunky slices just small enough to fit in. No need to remove core or skin.

* Update: A commenter points out that apple seeds contain naturally-occuring traces of cyanide. Sounds like you'd have to juice a WHOLE LOT of seeds to poison someone, but you can core your apples if you want to eliminate that question entirely.

I'm adding celery to this juice. 4-5 stalks. Clean them well, make sure to chop off any parts that are damaged or full of dirt. During cancer treatment, I had to be especially careful about dirt or contamination, because of my compromised immune system. You don't have to be quite so paranoid when you're healthy, but it's always good to clean your produce carefully.

To finish this juice, I'm adding a little squeeze of citrus. Today I'm using lime, but orange and lemon are great, too. I don't consume grapefruit because it messes with my cancer meds (if you're reading this post and you're a cancer patient on chemo, radiation, or hormone antagonists, talk to your doc before consuming grapefruit in any form).

For citrus, I use a little hand squeezer . You could also juice citrus in the juicer, but I prefer squeezing it to avoid the oily rind pulp, or the extra labor involved in cutting away the peel.

I also love how dry the pulp is is when it comes out. You really get the sense that the device is helping you squeeze the most mileage out of your produce. If you compost, add this stuff to your heap. It breaks down quickly and is full of good stuff for your garden.

I love this kale-apple-celery-lime juice so much. It tastes like a mellow, fruity, freshly-mowed lawn. I didn't strain this batch of juice, but if you want less fiber, there's a little wire mesh strainer included with the juicer parts. I like to add ginger or pineapple to this combo, if they're available and I'm in the mood.

Depending on the ratio of ingredients, you could add a smidge of maple syrup or agave to taste. But I rarely do, even when mixing juice for newbies who are grossed out by anything that isn't super-sweet. The apples add plenty of sweetness. Grapes, pineapple or pear would do the same. For a more savory juice, reduce the ratio of sweet stuff.

Cleanup is one of the biggest plusses of this device. As you can see in the photo here, you twist a dial that connects the macerating unit to the motor. Then, the parts pop out one by one. Just rinse them under the faucet, with a little soap and a sponge, and clean out that little metal grate with an included brush (basically, a toothbrush). Maybe a minute of cleanup work. I love how easy that part is. Juicers that require more cleanup time just tend to be used less frequently. And I didn't buy this thing to beautify the inside of my storage cabinet, I bought it to use every day.

Below: A minute and a little bit of warm water later. Look how tidy that is. It makes my OCD nerves tingle with joy. It's so simple and lazy-person-friendly.

One of the complaints I hear a lot about juicing is that the idea sounds good, but it's so expensive to buy produce, why bother. Maybe that's the case with other machines, but I haven't found this to be true with the Omega unit I bought.

here's the produce used in today's 6 cups of juice.

The batch I made here cost about $6.50 in produce, takes maybe 10-15 minutes to prepare including setup and cleanup, and yielded 6 cups of juice. Way too much for one person to drink all in one sitting! Add that up, and it is way less expensive than buying a juice at a juice bar. It's so nutritionally dense, it tastes amazing, and it's just fun. You get into a rhythm of particular juices you like, tweaking them to your taste.

My favorite combinations right now are: this green juice; carrot-orange; beet-carrot; Watermelon-cucumber-lime; virgin mojito (mint-lime-grape over crushed ice and more crushed mint); and a blend that's kind of like V-8: spinach, lettuce, tomato, celery, cucumber, onion, Tabasco, Soy sauce, liquid smoke, and lemon. It's so good, seriously. I don't drink alcohol, but if you do, you cannot possibly find a better Bloody Mary mix.

One thing I'd like to do that I haven't yet is look at before and after blood counts (my blood was tested weekly during my primary cancer treatment, and will be every 90 days or so for the next year). I'd want to compare, say, a month with no daily consumption of juice, compared to a month of daily juicing. More or less the same diet, all other factors being more or less equal. I suspect that certain levels in my blood lab report would be higher with daily juice intake—like folate, for instance. I really prefer getting nutrition from food and juice, less so from pills. But I also just really like the way juice tastes.


TIPS and NOTES:

• This is what's known as a masticating (crushing) juicer. It smushes the juice out of your produce, and kinda poops out the pulp at the other end. Over at Wirecutter, in his review of the Omega line, Brian Lam goes into a lot of detail on how this works differently than centrifugal juicers like the Breville. A little side bonus with the masticating designs: quieter. The centrifugal designs tend to be a lot louder.

• Whatever kind of juice you prepare, it's best consumed right after you make it, for flavor and nutrition. I like to make a day's batch, store it in an airtight glass pitcher, and sip or share as needed. Juice like this that does not contain added stabilizers will separate if you let it sit. If it does, stir or shake. Sometimes I like to dump it in the blender and make it all frothy like a pint of green Guinness.

• There are tons of recipes for juices online. Experiment with them, or just improvise. Don't be afraid to fail. When in doubt, my motto with juicing is to limit the number of ingredients, and see how each addition changes the combined flavor.

• This device can also be used to extrude pasta, make soymilk, and other cooking tasks. I haven't used it for any of those, so I can't speak to its usefulness in those area.

• If all you want to juice is oranges, and absolutely nothing else, there are more efficient tools for that. This one handles citrus just fine, but its value is in its versatility with many different kinds of ingredients: it excels at hard fruits and vegetables (beets, carrots, apples) and leafy greens (wheatgrass, kale, and the like), and also does okay with softer fruits.

• Sometimes it's nice to add fresh herbs and spices, like ginger root, turmeric, mint, basil, or cilantro (the latter are great in tomato-based savory blends). This works best if you add other bulkier ingredients after the herb/spice ingredient, so all the flavor makes it through. Ginger followed by apple, for example. Not ginger at the very end.

• An unexpected bonus: I've noticed that when I drink juice, I tend to crave less coffee and simple carb-y/sugary snacks between meals. This is an anecdote I've heard from other people who got into juicing. I didn't start with the intent of cutting down my coffee or carb-snack intake, but it did end up doing that.

• If you don't want to make trips to the grocery store every day for produce, there are ways to extend the life of your fruits and veggies. Kale lasts days longer for me when I rinse it as soon as I get home, then store it with a damp paper towel in a plastic baggie, or in a salad spinner with some water in the bottom.

• When you're buying produce for juicing, remember that you can often buy uglier, cosmetically less-desirable pickings and save money. For instance, I bought the apples you see in these snapshots at a nearby farmer's market. The farmer had one bin with beautiful huge shiny perfect organic apples for $3/lb., and another bin with smaller, mottled-looking "seconds" for $1.75/lb. The ugly ones taste just as awesome.

• John Kohler's discountjuicers.com review site and YouTube channel are a far more extensive resource for comparison shopping than this blog post could ever hope to be.

Happy drinking!


Amazon: Omega J8003 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer.


During my treatment for breast cancer this year, nutrition was a big challenge. Hell, getting any food down was a challenge during chemo and radiation. That's where juice comes in. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to get concentrated nutrition in an easy-to-ingest form. Green juices, root juices like carrot and beet, fruit juices—just as they each yield different colors, they also yield different flavor profiles and nutritional benefits.

I hunted around online for a single, affordable device that could produce a diverse array of juice.

I bought this: the Omega J8003 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer. $229 on Amazon (free shipping if you're a Prime member, as I am).

There are far more expensive juicers, and there are more recent (and pricier) versions of this one—but this is a great entry-level, affordable tool. It suits my daily needs just fine, and I have used it regularly for the past 6 months. My friend Brian Lam at Wirecutter first pointed me to it. Three big strong points: Price, ease-of-use, ease of cleaning up.

Let me show you what I mean, with today's batch of what I jokingly referred to as my go-go juice, with apologies to Honey Boo Boo. I drank it every day during radiation, and here I am, alive. So, I suppose it helped me win.

A word about produce: I try to stick to organic (or at least from local farms that don't use synthetic chemical pesticides). That may or may not be your preference, but it's mine. Hitting farmers markets is great, too. But whatever's fresh and readily available and affordable, so you will be encouraged to juice regularly is best.

For the green juice I'm making today, I started with the large bunch of kale shown in the snapshot at left (thanks, @isalara!).

There are many varieties. My favorite is the one known as lacinato ("lacy") or black kale, sometimes called cavalo nero. It's dark and meaty, with rich flavor. But you can use purple, curly, whatever kale is in season and crisp. This giant bunch as big as my head cost me 2 bucks at my local farmers market.

In the photo below, you can see how I smush in the entire leaves of kale; stem and all. Other than washing them and inspecting them for any bugs or dirt, there's really no prep involved with the leafy greens. If they're so huge they jam in the intake, tear them up a little with your hands.

I add an apple or two for sweetness and to balance the intense kale flavor. The mouth of the juicer is too small for the apples to fit in whole, so I cut them into loose chunky slices just small enough to fit in. No need to remove core or skin.

* Update: A commenter points out that apple seeds contain naturally-occuring traces of cyanide. Sounds like you'd have to juice a WHOLE LOT of seeds to poison someone, but you can core your apples if you want to eliminate that question entirely.

I'm adding celery to this juice. 4-5 stalks. Clean them well, make sure to chop off any parts that are damaged or full of dirt. During cancer treatment, I had to be especially careful about dirt or contamination, because of my compromised immune system. You don't have to be quite so paranoid when you're healthy, but it's always good to clean your produce carefully.

To finish this juice, I'm adding a little squeeze of citrus. Today I'm using lime, but orange and lemon are great, too. I don't consume grapefruit because it messes with my cancer meds (if you're reading this post and you're a cancer patient on chemo, radiation, or hormone antagonists, talk to your doc before consuming grapefruit in any form).

For citrus, I use a little hand squeezer . You could also juice citrus in the juicer, but I prefer squeezing it to avoid the oily rind pulp, or the extra labor involved in cutting away the peel.

I also love how dry the pulp is is when it comes out. You really get the sense that the device is helping you squeeze the most mileage out of your produce. If you compost, add this stuff to your heap. It breaks down quickly and is full of good stuff for your garden.

I love this kale-apple-celery-lime juice so much. It tastes like a mellow, fruity, freshly-mowed lawn. I didn't strain this batch of juice, but if you want less fiber, there's a little wire mesh strainer included with the juicer parts. I like to add ginger or pineapple to this combo, if they're available and I'm in the mood.

Depending on the ratio of ingredients, you could add a smidge of maple syrup or agave to taste. But I rarely do, even when mixing juice for newbies who are grossed out by anything that isn't super-sweet. The apples add plenty of sweetness. Grapes, pineapple or pear would do the same. For a more savory juice, reduce the ratio of sweet stuff.

Cleanup is one of the biggest plusses of this device. As you can see in the photo here, you twist a dial that connects the macerating unit to the motor. Then, the parts pop out one by one. Just rinse them under the faucet, with a little soap and a sponge, and clean out that little metal grate with an included brush (basically, a toothbrush). Maybe a minute of cleanup work. I love how easy that part is. Juicers that require more cleanup time just tend to be used less frequently. And I didn't buy this thing to beautify the inside of my storage cabinet, I bought it to use every day.

Below: A minute and a little bit of warm water later. Look how tidy that is. It makes my OCD nerves tingle with joy. It's so simple and lazy-person-friendly.

One of the complaints I hear a lot about juicing is that the idea sounds good, but it's so expensive to buy produce, why bother. Maybe that's the case with other machines, but I haven't found this to be true with the Omega unit I bought.

here's the produce used in today's 6 cups of juice.

The batch I made here cost about $6.50 in produce, takes maybe 10-15 minutes to prepare including setup and cleanup, and yielded 6 cups of juice. Way too much for one person to drink all in one sitting! Add that up, and it is way less expensive than buying a juice at a juice bar. It's so nutritionally dense, it tastes amazing, and it's just fun. You get into a rhythm of particular juices you like, tweaking them to your taste.

My favorite combinations right now are: this green juice; carrot-orange; beet-carrot; Watermelon-cucumber-lime; virgin mojito (mint-lime-grape over crushed ice and more crushed mint); and a blend that's kind of like V-8: spinach, lettuce, tomato, celery, cucumber, onion, Tabasco, Soy sauce, liquid smoke, and lemon. It's so good, seriously. I don't drink alcohol, but if you do, you cannot possibly find a better Bloody Mary mix.

One thing I'd like to do that I haven't yet is look at before and after blood counts (my blood was tested weekly during my primary cancer treatment, and will be every 90 days or so for the next year). I'd want to compare, say, a month with no daily consumption of juice, compared to a month of daily juicing. More or less the same diet, all other factors being more or less equal. I suspect that certain levels in my blood lab report would be higher with daily juice intake—like folate, for instance. I really prefer getting nutrition from food and juice, less so from pills. But I also just really like the way juice tastes.


TIPS and NOTES:

• This is what's known as a masticating (crushing) juicer. It smushes the juice out of your produce, and kinda poops out the pulp at the other end. Over at Wirecutter, in his review of the Omega line, Brian Lam goes into a lot of detail on how this works differently than centrifugal juicers like the Breville. A little side bonus with the masticating designs: quieter. The centrifugal designs tend to be a lot louder.

• Whatever kind of juice you prepare, it's best consumed right after you make it, for flavor and nutrition. I like to make a day's batch, store it in an airtight glass pitcher, and sip or share as needed. Juice like this that does not contain added stabilizers will separate if you let it sit. If it does, stir or shake. Sometimes I like to dump it in the blender and make it all frothy like a pint of green Guinness.

• There are tons of recipes for juices online. Experiment with them, or just improvise. Don't be afraid to fail. When in doubt, my motto with juicing is to limit the number of ingredients, and see how each addition changes the combined flavor.

• This device can also be used to extrude pasta, make soymilk, and other cooking tasks. I haven't used it for any of those, so I can't speak to its usefulness in those area.

• If all you want to juice is oranges, and absolutely nothing else, there are more efficient tools for that. This one handles citrus just fine, but its value is in its versatility with many different kinds of ingredients: it excels at hard fruits and vegetables (beets, carrots, apples) and leafy greens (wheatgrass, kale, and the like), and also does okay with softer fruits.

• Sometimes it's nice to add fresh herbs and spices, like ginger root, turmeric, mint, basil, or cilantro (the latter are great in tomato-based savory blends). This works best if you add other bulkier ingredients after the herb/spice ingredient, so all the flavor makes it through. Ginger followed by apple, for example. Not ginger at the very end.

• An unexpected bonus: I've noticed that when I drink juice, I tend to crave less coffee and simple carb-y/sugary snacks between meals. This is an anecdote I've heard from other people who got into juicing. I didn't start with the intent of cutting down my coffee or carb-snack intake, but it did end up doing that.

• If you don't want to make trips to the grocery store every day for produce, there are ways to extend the life of your fruits and veggies. Kale lasts days longer for me when I rinse it as soon as I get home, then store it with a damp paper towel in a plastic baggie, or in a salad spinner with some water in the bottom.

• When you're buying produce for juicing, remember that you can often buy uglier, cosmetically less-desirable pickings and save money. For instance, I bought the apples you see in these snapshots at a nearby farmer's market. The farmer had one bin with beautiful huge shiny perfect organic apples for $3/lb., and another bin with smaller, mottled-looking "seconds" for $1.75/lb. The ugly ones taste just as awesome.

• John Kohler's discountjuicers.com review site and YouTube channel are a far more extensive resource for comparison shopping than this blog post could ever hope to be.

Happy drinking!


Amazon: Omega J8003 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer.


Published 7:01 am Tue, Oct 23, 2012

About the Author

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: xeni@boingboing.net.

72 Responses to “The best cheap, all-purpose juicer: Omega 8003”

  1. Mister44 says:

    Sorry – but the best juicer  is the Fruit Fucker 2000. http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/kotaku/2009/05/fruitfucker.jpg

  2. Tavie says:

    Watermelon-cucumber-lime sounds divine.

  3. Chesterfield says:

    I have a Breville juicer that works amazingly well. You can jam just about anything though it without worrying about jams or cutting things down a lot. I don’t use it as much as I would like to because when I’m juicing a lot, my grocery bill goes way up. 

  4. Tavie says:

    I wonder if I could get my boyfriend to consume more fruits/veggies this way. He loves juice. I’m worried that he doesn’t get enough roughage, though, and extracting the juice from the roughage might just make him think he doesn’t need to eat whole fruits and veggies anymore. Hrmm.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      There’s rather a lot of fiber in the resulting juice, unless you strain it further (there’s a little mesh tray you can rest on top of the plastic bin, so it strains fiber as you go). I don’t know how to explain how much fiber, but let’s just say it’s so intense that you might want to ease in to juicing if you’re not used to a lot of fiber in your diet, if you catch my drift.

      • Tavie says:

         I am very tempted. At the very least, adding this to my wishlist. The sparking glass of green juice you pictured (and an incredibly positive kale experience I had recently) is making me crave new things. And juice.

      • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

        Thanks for the in-depth review.  The juicer market seems to be full of disappointing products.

      • Rachael Hoffman-Dachelet says:

        I wonder if the soluble fiber stays in the juice and the insoluble mostly get’s pooped out the end?  I think soluble fiber is better for you than insoluble in the long run.

        • Xeni Jardin says:

          There is definitely plenty of different kinds of fiber remaining in the juice, unless you strain it further. The juice I made in this post was kind of like a very very runny smoothie. Rather pulp-y. I like that.

          See, I don’t see juicing as the perfect food or anything extremist/cultist like that. I also don’t believe, say, raw food is perfect and cooked food is bad. I think a healthy diet should include variety. Salads, juices, smoothies, steamed veggies, a bite into a fresh apple, and so on. All good stuff.For me, juicing is a way to get in a really helpful component in that varied mix.

    • Tavie, you could try putting psyllium husk in the mix too

  5. BrianOman says:

    I bought this beast for $30 at a second hand store.
    http://www.zstarjuicer.com/index.asp
    Obviously it does take some effort with root vegetables being really clunky feeling in the machine, but it is super reliable and does not use any power. How marvelous, no ?

  6. CG says:

    It’s funny.  I was just in the market for one of these.  Thanks!

  7. billstreeter says:

    Those juicers are great, here’s something else you can do with them: Take frozen fruit chunks (mangos and bananas are the best) and run them though with the juice part closed so it all comes out as frozen plup. Best all fruit, no sugar added, sorbet ever!

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      That sounds kind of awesome.

    • PeaceLove says:

      Good call, Xeni!

      billstreeter: You beat me to it! Use the “blank” screen and run the frozen bananas through in chunks, interspersed with strawberries, raspberries or other fruit. Add chocolate chips to taste. (Warning: Adding chocolate chips makes this a highly addictive concoction.)

      The 8003 also makes amazing, thick apple sauce. Again, add strawberries, pears or other fruit to taste. Very quick cleanup’s a definite plus.

      I have the 8006 (same thing, but silver, and with a better grade auger) and love it. BBers should also check out the upright Omega VRT 350, which has advantages (larger feed hole, much faster) and disadvantages (a bit harder to clean, not as good for purees, won’t do nut butters). 

      John Kohler from Discount Juicers has the best video comparison I found. He also teaches a lot of good pointers about prep and rotating your produce. I almost went with the VRT but chose the 8005 to make nut butters and banana-based “ice cream.”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42GU-qNrlVk

      If I had the cash and counter space, I’d have both.

  8. ilikesoccer says:

    For anyone researching juicers,  Green Star or Omega brand juicers are the best.  You want a juicer with masticating gears or an auger like the Omega.  Centrifugal juicers with a chopping blade like the Breville, Hamilton Beach, or Jack Lalanne are good on a budget but don’t work well on leafy greens like kale. You will get more juice per produce with Green Star or Omega.

    • Chesterfield says:

      We had an Omega and after a few years it broke. It worked well, but was very plasticy and not terribly durable. We replaced it with a Breville. They were both $400, but the Breville is much better made or at least feels more heavy duty. Time will tell if it outlasts the Omega, but so far it looks like it will. One thing I don’t like about the Breville is the noise. When that thing is spinning, it’s a little frightening to be around.

  9. The damp paper towel trick is also great for keeping carrots, etc fresh in the fridge for a little longer. I was a fan of your work before your diagnosis and I was shocked to hear of your illness, i’ve been reading your work since then and your postings have been full of information and insight which would be a help to those being diagnosed after you, they have also at times been very moving and I have learnt a lot not only about this horrible disease but also what effect it has on the person invaded by that disease. I am lucky, I had a brief scare, that thankfully turned out to be nothing, but even that brief encounter was not something you can push aside easily. I will never, never forget a woman, inconsolable in floods of tears being helped from the ultrasound after being diagnosed with cancer. I would have given the earth right then to take that devastation away from her. Thankfully we are, slowly beating this thing, though the road is a tough, steep one to climb and i’m so happy to have you here and sharing with everyone. I wish you nothing but the best.

  10. You can make veggie burgers, falafel etc. with the dry pulpy stuff as well, so you get delicious juicy juice, then non-damp, fibertastic veggie burgers. Carrot pulp works well for this too. 

  11. SamSam says:

    I have this juicer (or at least a similar Omega, maybe a different model number). It is certainly great. It’s strength is definitely in its juicing of hard vegetables, though — kale, ginger, carrots, beets all work perfectly. Harder apples and pears also work, but with too many of those or other fruits, you really start getting a mush in the machine that doesn’t really get processed. Your best bet when juicing a lot of fruit is to send a hard item in (like an inch of carrot) after every couple of softer items.

    Juicing citruses is ok if you don’t mind the slightly bitter pith flavor, but otherwise requires a lot of work to get every bit of white off the segments. Easy enough for oranges, much harder for lemons or limes. You’re better off juicing those by some other means, as Xeni says.

    Peanut butter and other nut butters are pretty easy to make. Roast your nuts slightly to get the oils to the surface, and if they are still too dry as they start going through the machine add a little peanut or nut oil. You can make good tahini this way as well.

    Really my biggest problem is using the damn thing enough. It’s one of those machines that’s really great when you use it, but if you’re not in the rhythm of using it regularly (like Xeni clearly is) then it’s easy to let it become one of those things that keeps you thinking “I really ought to use my juicer more…”

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      That’s interesting, so you’ve used it for nut butters… I wondered if it was worth the trouble. Maybe I’ll try that soon.

    • Jasonbe says:

      One can also soak the nuts and seeds in water overnight/8ish hours and that will allow for them to easily pass through the machine.  Soaking also allows you retain any enzymes that may be denatured through roasting.  

      My machine doesn’t do the butters as well; but when I was making fresh pumpkin seed milk, I was amazed at how ‘roasted’ the pumpkins tasted.  It was raw, but it tasted cooked.  It was a mini culinary revelation in experiencing ‘flavor in the fat’ — I was tasting the oils that I had associated with roasting, but fresher and more vibrant. (Always discard the soak water, esp. for almonds.  For milk use 2-3 parts water for one part soaked seeds) 

  12. welcomeabored says:

    The Vita-Mix bit the dust?  I didn’t think anything could wear out those beasts.

    http://boingboing.net/2011/07/27/fast-slow-food-5-devices-for-healthier-yummier-eating.html

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      No way, it’s still kickin’.

      Vitamix is a blender. This is a juicer. To make juice in a Vita-mix, you have to strain the pulp. Vita-mix is awesome for smoothies, which contain all the pulp. I still use my Vita-mix daily, for lots of things—including smoothies, and making flour! I love it.

      But if you want, say, carrot juice every day? The Vitamix is not the tool for that.

  13. Preston Sturges says:

    I wonder what model Lance Armstrong has? because I hear he’s totally into juicing. 

  14. This is one of the most helpful pieces on juicing I’ve read, and I very much appreciate the lack of excessive adjectivity (not to diss Kris Carr, but I find some of her posts on juicing hard to get through).  I wish I’d had this helpful primer five years ago.  I also wanted to do juicing thru treatment and bought a Breville, but with a tiny kitchen and limited time, its size and onerous clean-up doomed it to a life in my kitchen cupboard.  (as you noted happens).  I am now rethinking the whole juice-in-my-life thing.  Thank you!

  15. TheOven says:

    We grew Chard and Kale in our garden this summer. I think we had 6 kale plants and that was enough to keep us in Juice and dinner all summer. (We don’t juice every day though. Maybe once a week. There are two of us in our house.)  Aphids got the Kale in September, but the Chard is still producing and it’s almost November. So I really recommend you get some plants.

  16. UncaScrooge says:

    I’ve been juicing regularly for over a year and, yeah, it’s expensive. We use an Omega and it’s everything you want in a juicer: Reasonably quiet and reliable.

    Here’s the upside: Drinking a glass of fresh vegetable juice from a juicer replaces a meal. It fills you up and gives you a spike in physical energy with no caffeine/sugar comedown. If you replace one meal a day with fresh vegetable juice, it is the easiest weight-loss plan you’ll ever try.

    I suspect that this juice is also medicinal: I’ve had fewer run ins with colds and the flu since I began. Add all of these things up and fresh vegetable juice starts looking like a bargain. If you are fighting with diabetes, this juice could change your life.

    I recommend buying a cup of vegetable juice from your local health food/co-op whatever to see if you can make a new diet out of it (no fruit smoothie places, that’s not the real deal). You might be surprised at how easy it is to run out of the house in the morning with just a glass of tasty vegetable juice in your stomach. The stuff you make at home is guaranteed to be better than the stuff you buy by the glass.

  17. jeb says:

    Has anyone tried a canning experiment using a juicer?  It’s harvest season.  One weekend juice-a-thon might redeem a juicer left on the shelf of forgotten kitchen gadgets.

  18. ian_b says:

    Very thorough review! One omission that is commonly expressed when comparing auger juices with centrifugal juicers is oxidization. A centrifugal juicer will break more cell walls and mix more oxygen into the juice. Apart from making it thicker/frothier, this will also cause the juice to spoil quicker.

    Personally, I use a Breville and make ~10 20 ounce bottles at once, freezing them for later use. I’ve heard this causes it to lose some nutritional value, but it tastes about the same as juice that’s been in the fridge for 12 hours, and is more practical day-to-day.

    I’ve worked the cost to about $2 per 20 ounce bottle. More expensive than water or soda, but cheaper than pretty much anything else. Water-heavy veg like celery and cucumber is cheap and dilutes it quickly, but if you’re drinking 20 ounces of pure kale your body won’t make use of it anyway.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Hey thanks. That’s really interesting, I’ll have to look into that. Any source/citation/link/whatever for that claim about oxidization? I like the idea of preparing in bulk! I do tend to just juice and consume on the spot, myself. 

  19. xian says:

    Hey Xeni, you may want to consider coring your apples before you juice them as the seeds contain small amounts of cyanide.

  20. Rick Adams says:

    Jesus, I just bought the Jack LeLanne “Power Juicer” infomercial-special, brand-new for ninety bucks at Costco. I used to use a big industrial model when I worked in a juice bar and I don’t really see a difference in performance at all. Maybe this one will break down quick or something but right now I’ve been running the crap out of it for two months. As far as I can tell, it juices greens like kale and spinach just fine, but of course, things like wheat grass aren’t going to work. I’d say for the money though, you couldn’t really beat it.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      I’ve heard good things about this one, and honestly, whatever gets you consuming more juice and fresh fruits and vegetables is the best! There are various reasons I chose to purchase this one instead, one of which being the desire to have a machine that could handle wheatgrass.

      • endrest says:

        Xeni, I got one of the Jack LeLanne PowerJuicers, too.  After using it lightly for four months, it’s still working great.  The only thing I was wary of when I first unpacked it is they included an additional ‘cutting plate’ (the part where the fruit/veg are shredded).  So far, though, it’s still juicing like new.  My favorite juice is the Lemon-Ginger Blast:  1 Lemon, 3 Apples, and a good chunk of Ginger.  Never have I had a juice that made me feel so excited to be alive!  You can add or substitute carrots for apples since they’re so sweet, too.  I wish the best to you on your journey!

  21. Hey Xeni. Is there a reason you chose to go with a juicer rather than doing “whole” juice with your Vitamix? Are you nutrient loading?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Hey spencer! I still use the Vitamix a lot. During cancer treatment, my body just could not process all the fiber you’d get if you drank smoothies 3x/day, and juice was a way to kind of mainline the nutrients when my body could not get food down.

      For me, it’s not juice OR smoothies, but both. I don’t use one instead of the other; more of having various options for variety.  I juice stuff more or less every day; I make a smoothie more or less every day. I mean, like, for something like carrot juice? It’s just not the same thing as a carrot smoothie. It’s so fibrous, you’re not going to be able to absorb as much of the non-fiber stuff unless you juice.

      • Ah, gotcha. I’ve been looking at maybe adding a juicer as a potential sidekick for my Blendtec and what you’re saying is right along the lines of what I’ve been thinking (esp. re: carrots). Thanks!

  22. kaplanfx says:

    Xeni: Despite what most people think, “Organic” does not mean no pesticides.  To be considered “Organic” the produce need only use pesticides derived from natural sources rather than synthetic pesticides.  Because these pesticides are often less effective than the synthetics, many organic products actually use MORE pesticide than non organic equivalents.  If you are truly trying to rid your diet of pesticides (I’m not even sure it’s possible), make sure you look for pesticide free products not just organics.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Yeah, I addressed this in the post. I’m aware of the controversy around the term “certified organic,” and I’ve been at this long enough that I’m definitely not “most people”! 

      I do think there tend to be major differences between small certified organic (or “pesticide-free”) farms and big agribusiness sites that use lots of synthetic chemicals. Differences in the food, in the land, and for the workers. It’s not neccesarily always the case that organic food is all 100% safer and tastier and healthier than “non-organic,” but neither is the contrary. Depends on what you’re measuring, and depends on the source.

      The issue is way too complex to get into in this comment thread, and it’s not the point of the post. That’s kind of why I worded the reference to “organic” the way I did.

  23. RevelryByNight says:

    There’s a documentary on Hulu called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead about a dude who discovers the wonders of juicing.  As a film, it’s mediocre, but as inspiration, it’s great. They have a social/forum website http://www.jointhereboot.com/ with a TON of recipes (including my favorite savory one, Bruschetta Juice: Tomatoes, garlic, & fresh basil. I add a little olive oil, too.)  

    I’d like to try a masticating juicer, because my rotary one gets clogged a lot. My big problem with all of them is the plastic parts, though. Inevitably I jam something and crack the plastic. Perhaps my Hulk-like strength is the problem.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      I haven’t seen that forum, will check it out. The film has quite a following!

      These parts have proven themselves to be pretty sturdy so far, with various male household members having failed to destroy them… so far…

  24. Scott R says:

    I have the same juicer. I also use it for citrus, peeling it first–I find that the juicer gets a LOT more of the juice out than a reamer does. One thing I’d heard years ago, though, is that using *some* of the peel is good, because that’s where the aromatics are, which adds to the taste (in fact, they add peel extracts to the pasteurized-and-stored-to-tastelessness commercial brands to regain flavor) but haven’t found a good recommendation as to how to incorporate it.

    • Jasonbe says:

      I believe there are bioflavinoids and other goodies in the white pith between the peel and the flesh, and that pith (fruit fascia?) is good to include when juicing citrus.  

  25. Jasonbe says:

    So glad to see a juicing post here!  I have the VRT 350; and love it.  Since I don’t do much wheatgrass (but oh, yes kale and lemon), the only thing that I miss is the ease of making fresh nut/seed butters.  After I began making fresh nut/seed milk(!), I got re-excited about the butters.  Been really enjoying sunflower seed butter recently.

    I began juicing this year to get healthy; and I was surprised at how transformative it really is.  Imo juice is optimal nutrient extraction; it just makes sense.  And feels fucking brilliant.
    Here’s a FB post I made about one of my latest favorite juice combos, pineapple and turmeric, good for inflamation: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4404369076467&set=a.4089368601652.2168164.1505823754&type=1 

    I want to add another mention of John Kohler’s http://www.discountjuicers.com.  He also began juicing to get healthy, and is excited to share his years of experience.  That’s where I picked up my juicer and I’ve learned a lot from watching his videos and doing follow-up research.Check out his youtube channels, they are great — I love his passion! About 5 months ago he posted a video focusing on the 800- series.  He’s filmed comparisons of the 8003 with other brands/styles, as well.http://www.youtube.com/user/rawfoods

    May just be a perfect new collaboration for the new videoBoing.  Get people jazzed for juice! :]

    Thanks!

    update: Oh, I see they mention Kohler in the Wirecutter piece. Awesome.

  26. Simon Champion says:

    I’ve been interested in getting a juicer for a long time. Unfortunately the cheapest I can find any model of masticating juicer in Australia (240v) is $550, in spite of our dollar being on parity with yours. Blatant price gouging.

  27. OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

    Where I live, most produce is flown in and ridiculously expensive – still, I’m very tempted to get this: I’ve used other juicers in the past and always gave up because of how annoying they were to clean.

  28. AwesomeRobot says:

    Cheap nothing — Black & Decker’s JE2200B. $35 on Amazon, I’ve used it for almost two years. 

    Granted, I understand the points in the article — your juicer does more, can handle more bulk, and may very well last much longer. Just thought I’d provide an option for those interested in juicing who may not want to invest a ton up front. Some people just can’t get into it, and end up stuck with a $200+ juicer. 

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      I’m glad you have found that machine useful! I agree that it’s great for newbies to have an even lower-cost way to try juicing out, if they are so inclined.

      Bear in mind that I didn’t say this one was the *cheapest* juicer. Rather, what is in my opinion one of the best deals in the $200ish and under juicer category. Some of these suckers go up to 4 figures, so yes, this is relatively affordable.

      I mean hey, the CHEAPEST juicer is free. Cut open an orange, smush it in your hands. 

      For a machine that does the variety of things I want to do, and do them well, this was an effective use of my money.

  29. Omar Kooheji says:

    It might be worth noting that in the UK this appears to made by a different company: At least from the picture on Amazon it looks like it’s called the Oscar Vital Max.

  30. Paul Short says:

    I haven’t tried this yet, but I imagine if you juiced kale and other root veggies (and tomatoes), you could use the ‘poop’ to make a nice soup. Just boil it for a few minutes and maybe add lentils or split peas, a sprig of mint, etc. The possibilities are endless :)

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