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Mechanical Helpers for Getting the Juicy Best of Fruits and Vegetables

Times Staff Writer

Could Mother have been right? Her words “Eat those nutritious fruits and vegetables” continue to echo through from the American Heart Assn., the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute and nutrition councils throughout the world.

As the campaign becomes more widespread, and with the increasing emphasis on physical fitness, fresh fruits and vegetables continue to shine in the limelight.

Recent scientific studies have shown the superior attributes of plant proteins. When fruits and vegetables are added to the diet, some of their amino acids can help build muscle, aid in preventing degenerative disease and help improve recovery time from surgery.

One refreshing, delicious way of introducing fruits and vegetables to the diet is through clear juices. Fortunately, what’s comforting about these healthful drinks is that they are easily digestible.

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“Drink plenty of liquids,” the doctor says . . . . Not only is it a time-tested prescription for colds and fever, but optimum intake of juices (and of course, water, the primary fluid) is nature’s way of quenching thirst while supplying energy nutrients for increasing endurance and stamina.

The increased array of juicer equipment now in the market has certainly given consumers vast choices for juicing up their fruits and vegetables. However, people still associate juicers with citrus fruits. A simple hand-held reamer pioneered the extracting of juice from oranges, followed by crank-turned reamers and lever-type citrus juicers. One of the earliest household models of electric juicers was the “Sunkist, Jr.,” which retailed for $14.95 around 1920. It had a reamer on top and a side spout to pour out the juice. Produced through the cooperative efforts of California Fruit Growers Exchange and A. C. Gilbert Co. of New Haven, the juicer paved the way for other models. Surveys in later years showed that in homes where the juicers were being used, consumption of fruit increased by 50%.

Today, other than the wide availability of citrus juicers, there are a number of juice extractors on market shelves. According to Drew Petelin, president of Continental Distributors, a company that handles sales and distribution of about a dozen juice-extractor machines, sales of its juicer appliances have increased by 60% this year.

‘A Veritable Juice Bar’

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Just what exactly is a juice extractor?

According to Janet Zarowitz, a nutritionist and consultant for Acme Juicer Manufacturing, “A juice extractor is an appliance that opens up a new world of healthful taste experiences by bringing a veritable juice bar into the home, extracting any fresh fruit or vegetable juice in a matter of minutes.” She adds that the machine can produce fresh raw juices that are not found in the regular supermarket as for instance carrot, celery, zucchini, beets, pineapple and papaya juices. Unlike a blender or food processor that grinds food into a homogenous mass, a juice extractor separates the juice from the fibrous pulp.

How does the consumer know which machine to select?

Petelin says, “Basically, they are all good units in feature and price. It’s better to buy an inexpensive juicer than not at all. Later you can upgrade.”

Keep That Pulp

The question always asked is about the pulp: Should the fibrous mass that separates from the juice be thrown out? “Absolutely not,” Zarowitz says. “The pulp contains fiber and some vitamins and minerals as well as natural flavor. This can be used in various recipes, such as soups, dips and spreads, casseroles, breads, cakes, salads and gelatin molds. Depending on the recipe and other ingredients, carrots or beet pulp may need to be moistened with a small amount of vegetable juice or water.”

Sunbeam, manufacturer of the Oskar juicer, suggests mixing apple, pear, pineapple or other fruit pulp with a favorite fritter batter, bread pudding, baked custard or pie filling. Vegetable pulp may be added to quiche or filo dough fillings. In addition to food uses, the pulp may be used as compost for gardens, shrubbery, flowers and plants.

All of the machines we tested worked efficiently. There were only slight differences in the amount of juice extracted, ease in cleaning and noise level. Previewed here are a sampling of juice extractors, but consumers can check on other models available, such as Panasonic, Champion, Miracle Ultramatic, Braun, Norwalk, Waring and Phoenix.

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The Acme Juicerator, a centrifugal-type juice extractor with a two-quart capacity, comes in two models: a Supreme Stainless Steel Deluxe model and a Supreme model, which is basically the same as the deluxe model except for a plastic exterior and a five-year warranty (the stainless steel model has a 10-year warranty). Fruit or vegetables are pushed through the feedway in the cover and come in contact with the revolving cutter blade. Then they fall into an inner strainer basket that spins around at a rate of 60 revolutions per second, forcing the juice through thousands of tiny side openings while the pulp adheres to the inside. The juice is then pulled down into an outer bowl where it flows out through the spout.

Compared to the other units, we found the Acme to be the quietest piece of equipment. Its heavy base eliminates vibration or any tendency to wobble or move. The base also is lined with a complete circular pad of red cushions. The machine produced the most juice, the pulp was the driest and the juice was smooth, sometimes even creamy. The Acme Juicerator has an optional citrus attachment that fits right on top of all the models.

Oster describes its juice extractor as a pulp ejector, too. While the Acme is round and dome-like, the almond-colored Oster unit is block-shape with an easy to remove pulp container made of see-through smoke-colored plastic. It features a large feeding chute and a choice of high or low speed operation. Cord storage is provided on the bottom of the unit. The noise level in the Oster juice extractor is higher than the Acme but is low and deep, not an irritating sound. A clicking sound inside the unit disturbed us at first, but according to the instruction booklet, this is normal as the basket begins to turn.

A New Attachment

If you have Sunbeam’s small but powerful Oskar, you might be delighted to know about its new optional attachment, a juice extractor. Matching Oskar’s high-tech white plastic design, it consists of a food pusher, a multipurpose lid with the feeder chute, the grater and filter basket and the clear or see-through container for collecting the pulp. The Oskar juice-extractor attachment, which works with the same centrifugal force juicing action, was noisy. The amount of juice was substantial, it was just slightly under the level produced by the other machines.

Last, but not least, is Sanyo’s Juice Pro Juice Extractor/Sherbet Maker (Model SJ3000E). Dual purpose, the machine separates juices from pulp and by switching cutter blades can prepare sherbets and ices from fresh fruit, crushed ice, or frozen juice and your favorite flavorings.

The unit is equipped with a filter basket and cutter blades, ON, OFF and PULSE buttons and buttons for selection of sherbet and juice functions. It also comes with its own two-cup juice container, which with its handle doubles as a serving pitcher and it has a small cleaning brush. Sanyo’s juice extractor produces juice with a little pulp, which according to a manufacturer’s representative helps improve the taste. For those who want clear juice, as recommended in other machines, filter the juice through layers of cheesecloth. Sanyo also has an upscale model called the Juice Pro Plus (Model SJ3100BW), which comes with a blender and a whipping attachment for whipping cream and egg whites.

How much juice is recommended for consumption? Most manufacturers recommend using juices in small amounts the first week and from then on gradually increasing to desired amount.

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Roughly three pounds of whole vegetables or fruits will make one to two pints of juice. Vegetable juices can be mixed for an interesting flavor blend. Softer fruits result in thicker juices; these can be mixed with thinner juices.

As fruits and vegetables contain natural dyes, some machines particularly those made of white plastic, may become stained after using. Manufacturers recommend rubbing the stained parts with a paste made from baking soda and water. To remove odors from strong smelling vegetables, the plastic parts (not the filter) can be immersed completely in water mixed with a little bleach and left overnight.

All the machines come with booklets with suggestions and guidelines for making fresh-tasting fruit and vegetable juices.

The Acme Juicerator has a suggested retail price of $229 for the Supreme Stainless Steel Deluxe model and $159 for the Supreme (plastic) model. They are available at Avery Fixture Co., Erewhon Natural Foods and Kim’s Home Appliances, all in Los Angeles.

Oster’s Automatic Juice Extractor has a suggested retail price of $ 59.99 and is available at the Broadway, Gemco and Fedco.

Sunbeam’s Oskar Juice/Extractor Attachment for the Oskar food processor has a suggested retail price of $34.99 and is available at Gemco and May Co.

Sanyo’s juice extractor/sherbet maker has a suggested retail price of $79 for the Juice Pro (Model SJ3000E) and $99 for the Juice Pro Plus (Model SJ3100BW). They are available at Buffums and Adray’s.


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