Juicing for Kids: Choosing a Juicer – Citrus, Centrifugal, or Masticating?
If your kids love juice but yesterday’s post has made you rethink giving them so many liquid calories, there is a solution: Juice it yourself!
Juicing at home retains many vitamins and minerals that are lost when commercially produced juice is stored in bottles for a long time. It also avoids added sweeteners, preservatives, colors, flavors, or other nasties big corporations hide in their products. It’s pure, natural, delicious, and – most importantly – nutritious!
But before you start contemplating which delicious juice combo to make first, you kind of need to have a juicer. But which one to buy?
In our house, we keep two: a citrus juicer and a masticating juicer. Sure, our masticating juicer can juice oranges and the like, but I love having a citrus juicer for quick and easy orange juice in the mornings, freshly squeezed lemon juice for a spontaneous summer lemonade, or fresh lime juice for Mexican or Asian dishes.
So, my first recommendation would be the Breville 800CPXL Die-Cast Stainless-Steel Motorized Citrus Press. Ok, I know that at just under $200 it is on the pricey side, but I have tried more than a half a dozen citrus juicers and none of them were even close to being in the same category as this one. It juices citrus fruits in – literally! – seconds. And the parts come apart super easily for cleaning. If you rinse it off as soon as you’re done, cleanup will take you approximately one minute. The stainless steel parts are also really sturdy and well-crafted. I’ve even run them through the dishwasher. I have no idea what the manufacturer’s recommendation on that is, but mine has held up like it was bought yesterday. In fact, I’ve had this juicer for over 2&1/2 years and I’m thrilled with it. I can’t emphasize enough how much I adore my citrus juicer. That’s not a sales pitch. That’s pure, unadulterated honesty!
But what if you want to juice something other than citrus? That’s great! Getting a juicer than can handle anything you throw at it is essential if you want to produce healthy juices your kids will consume. And if you want maximum nutrition for your kids, you’re going to want something that can juice greens and other veggies.
The traditional type of juicer is called a centrifugal juicer. This is basically a metal disc and mesh filter that spins really fast to use centrifugal force to separate juice from pulp. This is the most common type of juicer and also the cheapest and most widely available. We used to own one until we upgraded to a masticating juicer. A masticating juicer, also known as a cold press juice extractor, which first crushes and then presses the fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, masticating or cold press juicers are becoming more widely available and prices are coming down, too.
If you’re on a tight budget and opt for a cheap centrifugal juicer, you’ll need to consume your juice right away to get the most vitamins and minerals from it – what remains of them. That’s because the high speed spinning of the mechanism creates heat, which destroys most of the enzymes that make fruit and vegetables so healthy. Of course, if you plan to use the juice for cooking, such as making your own tomato sauce or ketchup, then that won’t matter. But if you want to make fresh juice to replace the commercially bought kind your kids are currently consuming, a centrifugal juicer is definitely not the way to go. They also don’t process greens very well, can’t handle nuts, and produce less pulp (which is great for using in other recipes – stay tuned!). Nevertheless, if you do want a super cheap juicing option the Hamilton Beach 67608A Big Mouth Juice Extractor clocks in at under $50, which makes a good first try buy for the family who can’t afford a more pricey model and is just experimenting with juicing for the first time. After all, you can always upgrade!
If you still want a centrifugal juicer and you actually have a larger budget, then get the best centrifugal juicer you can. The Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor gets good reviews, although for just slightly more money you can upgrade to the Breville BJE820XL Juice Fountain Duo Dual Disc Juicer, which includes an extra disc capable of processing berries, bananas, and other soft fruit.
Yet oh, masticating juicer, how I must sing your praises! Here are the top things a good cold press juicer can do:
- Maintain maximum nutrient and enzyme content
- Efficient juicing of leafy greens (more on this in subsequent posts – trust me, you’ll want a juicer that can handle these!)
- Makes almond, cashew, or other nut milks
- Makes nut butters
- Makes sorbet(!)
- Makes pasta(!!!!)
- Produces lots of pulp you can use in other recipes
- Run very quietly
With all of these benefits, it makes great sense to invest the extra money in a better machine.
clean up time! Click here to get one for yourself – trust me when I say it’s worth every penny!!
For Australians and New Zealanders: This is the Avancer Cold Press Juicer. This is the juicer we use at home. At just over $100, it’s probably one of the cheapest masticating juicers on the market. (Click on the link or picture for an additional 5% off!) However, we find that it is great quality. It juices almost anything with ease and produces plenty of pulp, which we then repurpose. It also has dual direction control, which allows you to dislodge stuck fruits and vegetables without taking it apart. It also comes with an apple corer/slicer that makes slicing your apples for juicing very easy. The benefit is that Avancer is a great company with amazing customer service and our juicer came with a three-year warranty – a long time for an appliance!
For those in other parts of the world or with more money to spend on a good juicer, try the Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer. Coming from Breville, which is famous for its juicers, it is a high quality juicer. It’s also a bit better with soft fruits and vegetables than the Avancer Cold Press Juicer. Like the Avancer Cold Press Juicer, the Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer comes with dual direction functionality. However, it only carries a 1-year warranty. For heavy juicer users, this is not the best because heavy users frequently end up burning out their machines eventually and one year is not a secure guarantee.
Alternatively, try the Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer. It’s in the same price range as the Breville but boasts a stunning 15 year warranty! It also has other fun features like an optional pasta attachment and there are a lot of tutorials online featuring unique ways to use this juicer. It definitely has a following! It boasts of an impressive variety of functions, including chopping garlic and herbs, grinding spices, grinding coffee, extruding pasta, producing nut butters, and making baby food.
Hopefully you have found this guide helpful and you now have an idea of what juicer (or juicers!) you’d like to buy. Juicing at home will revolutionize your kids’ health and open up a world of healthy cooking options. Just wait until I tell you how to make homemade sugar-free ketchup that tastes better than store-bought!