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You don't need a juicer to make juice

Use a blender or food processor to whip up healthy drinks

Published: August 28, 2014 01:15 PM

With all the competition for counter space in the kitchen, do you really need a juicer in addition to a blender or food processor? Maybe not. Making juice in a blender or food processor is a little more work but in addition to the juice you get the all the nutrients from the fruits or vegetables you use. Another plus is that cleanup is a lot easier since blenders and food processors have fewer parts. Here are the pros and cons of juicing with alternative appliances as well as some blender and food processor picks from Consumer Reports tests.

Blenders
Pros. It can purée watery fruit and veggies into concoctions more like smoothies. The more watery the produce, the more juice you’ll get.
Cons. It’s not designed to extract juice, so you’ll need to take a few extra steps to make some produce combos drinkable such as straining off the pulp. And you’ll have to cut produce into pieces smaller than you would for a juicer for better blending.
Best foods to juice in a blender. Cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, pears, apples, and watermelon; and easier-to-mince softer greens (spinach, chard), but just a few leaves, max.
What not to juice in a blender. Hard stuff—carrots, broccoli, asparagus—makes a gritty, mushy concoction that’s hard to separate. Also skip low-liquid avocados and bananas. Papaya and mango will juice, but they can clump up.
Blenders with excellent scores for puréeing:

Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro 67650

Food processors
Pros. With its typically more powerful engine and sharper blades, a food processor can be even better at liquefying ingredients than a blender.
Cons. As with blenders, you’ll have to peel and chop up all of your fruit and vegetables before juicing. And the resulting mix can be thicker than a juice, so you might need to add water to make it more like juice.
Best things to juice in a food processor. Mostly watery produce is the way to go. Also, unlike when you’re using a blender, it’s safe to add a few more greens, including some of the hardier ones such as kale. The processor’s blades are better able to mince them.
What not to juice in a food processor. As with blenders, skip hard and low-liquid produce as well as papaya and mango.
Food processors with very good scores for puréeing:

Still want a juicer?
Here are the two recommended blenders from Consumer Reports tests.
Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro 67650, $60, was very good at juicing apples, oranges, carrots, and tomatoes and not as difficult to clean as some juicers.
West Bend Performance 7010, $130, did not perform quite as well but is also a recommended model. Both were pretty noisy.

—Adapted from ShopSmart by Mary H.J. Farrell

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