Apr 12, 2010 (Updated Apr 20, 2010)
Review by Earl Gosnell
Rated a Very Helpful Review
§ Presto chango:
Recommend this product?
I feed red apples in the top, out the back comes white pulp, and out the front brown juice. It's almost magical. I bought the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer to increase my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables by drinking instead of eating them. It's easy to assemble, easy to use, and easy to clean.
§ How it works
It comes in several pieces which stack together, held in place by a locking bar, with a separate pulp collector on the side. The juice drains from a spout into your glass.
There is a chimney seven inches tall and three inches wide into which you feed the raw product. You use a pusher like a piston to force the material down and hold it against a rotating disc with fine teeth like a food grater.
Those teeth are set up in lines like spokes on a wheel, but because they radiate off-center, they cut at an angle to do a smooth job. The resulting pulp is squeezed through the tiny clearance at the bottom of the chimney like toothpaste onto the rotating disc where centrifugal force moves it onto a rotating fine wire mesh.
That mesh is angular like a funnel, so as the pulp moves to the top, the juice is pulled through it to be channeled to the spout. The angle was calculated to keep the pulp moving steadily across it. Have you ever noticed water from a tap looks clear until you up the flow and then it gets cloudy? The speed of the flowing pulp is set so that it keeps its coherence unless you add water, or else put in (relatively dry) bananas, avocados, or overripe fruit, in which case the change in viscosity will thwart the design and clog the system. You can't use it for that stuff. Add a banana in a blender later to make a smoothie, or add water to your finished juice in a glass.
Once the drained pulp passes the edge of the filter, it orbits around a fixed circular chamber on top until redirected by vanes to a cataract into the pulp collector.
§ Pulp disposal
There's a booklet that offers suggestions how to use the pulp, but I don't bother with that, or with the many recipes for juice. I use mine for apple juice, and carrot-apple combos (juiced in that order), and sometimes orange juice. That reflects more my lack of initiative than any limitation of the power juicer.
I dump the residue into a compost pile. The earthworms love it. I have that on authority of a professional selling composters; I'm not going to dig in the pile to verify its popularity.
The juice should be drunk right away to preserve nutrients, or stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two hours.
I find hot running water cleans it adequately if I do it right away, except I need to rub a bit for the orange juice. Make sure to turn over the parts to clean the outside edges. To clean the screen, use a fine bristled braising brush which can be stored in coarse-grained salt to absorb moisture. The blades are sharp so be prepared for buffeted skin if you pick them clean, or else use a toothbrush. The heads of the phillips screws can be cleared with a toothpick.
Before disassembling it for cleaning, the instructions say to unplug it, but it already has an interlock on it that won't allow it to be turned on once the locking bar has been disengaged. I have yet to find a way to defeat the interlock, so I might feel disinclined to unplug it. The base only gets wiped, not immersed.
The only danger I see is if your hand is small enough to fit in the chimney, you could conceivably stick it in when it's going and get an owey, but I don't see that happening unless you're trying to brew a concoction to sober you up and you really need it.
§ Mother's little helper
This thing is so easy to set up, use, and clean that a child could do it. If you have one you want to keep busy in the kitchen while you prepare a meal, I recommend a safety lesson first, then showing the little one how.
§ Comparison shopping
I got this one because it's compact and efficient—250 watts instead of the competition's 600. I'm perfectly satisfied with it, but it may not meet the needs of everybody. You might do well to shop around some, especially if this new appliance involves a spouse in a new diet to begin with. This one is a finely tuned machine which might not agree with someone who uses brute force or who can't be bothered futzing around with cleaning. This sort of appliance more than many tends to get left unused in a pantry.
If you're looking for economy, Champion might be better. Green Star cuts at a slower speed, and without the heat, light, and air, its juice can last 24-48 hours in a sealed container without degradation, as opposed to two hours for Jack LaLanne's. A high speed blender (2 h.p.) would work for making anything including smoothies, if you don't mind the fiber in your juice. The nutrients are absorbed better from juice proper, but that's less "natural" than juice with the fiber.
Or get this one, the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, if you want. It's highly recommended and very popular, and you'll get no complaints from me.
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Amount Paid (US$): 99.95
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