It is no secret that fruits and vegetables are more than good for your health.
They provide fiber (which is essential for proper intestinal transit), minerals (including copper, zinc, sodium, iron and calcium) and vitamins (A, B (except B12), C, E and K), which help keep us healthy.
Although drinking juice is not really equivalent to eating the food from which it was extracted (because the process often takes away some of the goodness), it can be a solution to vary a little, to mix flavors, to let children taste some vegetables that they would not have tried otherwise, etc.
But of course, before you can enjoy a good fresh juice, you need a machine specialized in this.
This machine is the juicer. Horizontal, vertical, electric, manual, there are all kinds.
And when you see what some of them can do today (sorbets, vegetable milks, smoothies and others), you can’t help but be impressed by those called juicers.
But how exactly does a juicer work?
The basic principle: How it works
A juicer, as its name indicates, allows you to extract juice from fruits and vegetables, but not only (we will come back to this later).
This household appliance is equipped with an automatic or manual “endless” pressing screw, which, to extract the juice, presses the food.
It is a so-called cold extraction, which is carried out at slow speed.
Once the juice is extracted, it passes through a chute and is collected in a tank, while the pulp, once dried, is evacuated elsewhere.
This is the opposite of a centrifuge, for example, which uses the rotation of a grater to “pulverize” the fruit or vegetable to let the juice escape through a sieve.
It is then a filtration system that separates the pulp from the liquid.
It is also different from a simple juicer, which as its name indicates, extracts mainly the juice from citrus fruits (some juicers are equipped with it, as an accessory), and from a blender, which does not extract the juice from the food, but blends it (perfect to make purees or smoothies for example).
One could say that all these items are complementary.
The extraction of juice by an extractor is done by a slow rotation, this machine preserves in principle more vitamins, minerals, etc., than the centrifuge, which has a much faster rotation speed.
The latter, on the other hand, produces fruit and vegetable juices more quickly.
The differences between vertical and horizontal juicers
It is the orientation of the screw (its main axis) that differs from one version to another.
On a vertical juicer, the screw points upwards, which is why the machine is higher and takes up less space than the horizontal version.
On a horizontal juicer, it is the opposite: the screw is placed on a horizontal plane (obviously), making the machine generally wider and taking up more space than a vertical juicer.
Among all the horizontal models, there are single-screw juicers, double-screw juicers, as well as manual items.
How it works
Both types of juicers are made of stainless steel and have a motor block that is located either under the main part of the juicer, for the vertical model, or on the side, for the horizontal model.
They work in the same way:
- the fruit and vegetables are brought in through a mouthpiece;
- in the extraction tank there is a rotating brush which, as its name indicates, rotates in order to mix the juice well, but also to ensure the self-cleaning function;
- the auger does its job of grinding the food by pressing it against the sieve, which filters the juice;
- Once the juice is separated from the fibers, the latter are expelled through a chute, while the former is expelled through another (some models have a reservoir).
What about the steam juicer?
This machine is mainly composed of three baskets.
The bottom one contains the water which, once boiled, produces steam, and the top one contains the food which, with the heat, releases its juice, which then flows into the central basket via a small pipe.
Depending on the model, this system works on an electric, induction or gas hob, and it takes between thirty minutes and an hour to obtain juice.
Once the juice has had time to cool, it is ready to be enjoyed!
This type of juicer, in addition to being very easy to use, offers many advantages, such as being able to extract a very large quantity of juice, being easy to clean, and often costing less than other versions.
Preparations and recipes
The two main types of juicers are versatile, but do not allow you to make the same preparations and recipes.
In fact, apart from the fact that both are obviously suitable for juice production, the horizontal model allows for a greater variety of preparations, such as fruit and vegetable purees, but also oilseeds, such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc., and sorbets.
With a horizontal juicer, you can even produce herb juice.
This type of juicer is also more suitable for juicing soft foods such as mango or apricot.
But the vertical version is not to be outdone, since it allows you to make smoothies and is more suitable for the production of homemade vegetable milks.
As for the steam model, it offers the possibility, in addition to producing quality juices, to prepare vegetable milks, but also syrups, soups, compotes, as well as jams and jellies (which you can keep for several months).
What is the difference between a manual and electric juicer?
The manual juicer
The slower the rotation speed of the screw, the more the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables are preserved, that’s why, undeniably, the manual juicer offers a great quality of juice.
Moreover, as it does not have a motor block, this type of device does not weigh much and is easy to carry (useful to know when you want to take your machine on vacation for example). It is also very easy to clean.
And the argument that inevitably weighs in its favor is that of the electricity bill which, de facto, is zero.
Of course, manual means elbow grease, because without using at least one arm to turn the crank and thus press the food against the pusher, you won’t be able to achieve much.
This can be tedious, especially since you have to cut the fruit and vegetables into relatively small pieces first if you don’t want to strain too much.
It is also important to know that the amount of juice produced in one session rarely goes up to a liter (0.22 gallon).
The electric juicer
As you might expect, and especially given the explanations provided throughout this article, an electric juicer will do the job faster and easier than a manual model, as it is equipped with a motorized unit.
By pressing the food against the sieve, the auger separates the juice from the pulp, which a manual juicer does not.
Another positive point is that this machine is more versatile than its non-motorized counterpart, since it often comes with accessories and, as mentioned above, depending on its vertical or horizontal design, it can be used for different types of preparations.
On the other hand, the electric extractor is heavier than its manual counterpart, takes up more space on the work surface, and is more expensive in terms of electricity (although this remains reasonable, especially if you do not use your machine intensively).