TRIED & TESTED / Juiced a minute: A new wave of machines makes a quick drink to your health much easier. Our expert panel puts five juice extractors to the test

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The Independent Culture
IN this country, where carrot juice is still seen as the province of the crank, the US health craze for raw fruit and vegetable juices has yet to take off. But the habit may get a boost if the public responds to the Government's latest advice on healthy eating; the new 'food police' are urging us to consume five or six portions of fruit and vegetables a day. If chomping on your greens palls, a glass of juice is an acceptable alternative, though it doesn't contain as much fibre.

With your own juice extractor, you will be able not only to drink your juices fresh, but also to produce a much wider range than is commonly available in the shops. These machines are particularly useful for extracting juice from relatively hard fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears and carrots. Be warned, however, that some juice extractors are not suitable for making orange juice, for which you need either a manual or electric citrus press.

The five machines we tested separate the juice from the pulp using centrifugal force, although purists recommend machines that chew up the fibres instead of filtering them out, making the juice more nutritious. As these are very expensive and not widely available yet, we did not include them in the test.

THE PANEL

Nino Booth, owner of the Haelan Centre wholefood shop and alternative health centre, Crouch End, North London; Leslie Kenton, health and fitness writer and broadcaster, co-author with Susannah Kenton of Raw Energy, published by Vermilion; Pauline Price, marketing manager, and Debbie Chai, back-of-house manager at Wagamama noodle bar in central London which serves fresh fruit and vegetable juices.

THE TEST

We asked testers to give the machines marks for how simple the instructions were to understand; how easy the machine was to assemble, operate and clean; and for value for money. They also gave marks for the quality of three types of juice: apple, carrot and either celery or pear.

*KENWOOD JE500

pounds 37.99

This extractor was clearly in the second division. None of the juices it produced particularly appealed to our testers, and it was harder to assemble, operate and clean than the three superior machines. 'Too small,' was the verdict of Pauline Price and Debbie Chai. 'The most it can extract is two glasses, so it needs to be cleaned constantly. Juice is thick and lumpy.' It was Leslie Kenton's bottom choice: 'Abysmal. The plunger was hard to use. It produced very little juice. The fruit and vegetables got stuck in it when you put them in, and there was pulp in the juice. Also the hardest to clean.'

PHILIPS HR2820

pounds 49.95

Poor ratings for the juice, and it was even harder to assemble, operate and clean than the Kenwood. It was also more expensive. Cleaning was a particular bugbear. 'After it was cleaned out - which was difficult,' said Leslie Kenton, 'there were chunks of the vegetable or fruit left in the machine.' Nino Booth observed: 'The designer seems never to have worked in a kitchen.' Other gripes were that the feeder chute was too narrow. Testers also complained that the machine was noisy.

***MOULINEX 793

pounds 39.99

The testers much preferred the juice made by the Moulinex to that made in the previous two machines, and found it much easier to use. The pulp container was popular. 'I particularly liked the way the pulp was kept in a separate compartment,' said Leslie Kenton, 'rather than splattered all over the rest of the machine.' This is the juice extractor she would choose. 'It is excellent value for money, beautifully designed and easy to use,' she said. According to Nino Booth, who measured how much juice each machine produced, the Moulinex made more from the same amount of apples and carrots than the other machines, though slightly less from the celery.

**** BRAUN JUNIOR

MP75

pounds 39.99

There was virtually nothing to choose between this machine and the Moulinex. They were both popular and cost the same, though the Braun just squeezed into first place. It was slightly easier than the Moulinex to assemble and operate, and was Nino Booth's top choice: 'At least as good as the expensive Waring (below), with a strong motor. It didn't filter out the fibres too much, either.'

**WARING JUICE

EXTRACTOR

pounds 199.99

Although you pay a lot more for this, the domestic version of a commercial machine, you don't get a better machine for your money. Though the panel liked it, it was rated no higher than the Braun and the Moulinex. 'A good juicer,' said Leslie Kenton, 'but far too expensive. It is very reliable, particularly for making large amounts.' Debbie Chai and Pauline Price had mixed feelings: 'It made fabulous carrot and apple juice, but not pear, which was too soft for it.' One advantage is that, unlike the others, the fruit and vegetables don't stain the filter. It's worth noting that you can buy an extra

citrus juice extractor for pounds 19.99.

STOCKISTS: Kenwood machines available from Argos, Comet, Boots, House of Fraser, Allders and Index; Philips (telephone 081-689 2166 for stockists); Moulinex available from Allders, John Lewis Partnership, Harrods and good independent retailers; Braun (0932 785611 for stockists); Waring (contact Robot Coupe UK Ltd on 081-232 8171).

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