Ah, the poor man’s juicer. For those of you interested in juicing but do not want to commit to purchasing a dedicated juicer, the blender may be your saving grace. It does indeed make a solid alternative to a juicer. They come in plenty of shapes and sizes and are generally very affordable.
Blenders can handle some juicer recipes. One advantage blending has over juicing is that it uses the whole fruit or vegetable, while juicing will discard the pulp. This way you also get all the fiber in your juicer recipes and there is no chance of discarding wet pulp after you’re done juicing.
Another great thing about blenders is how affordable they are. Nowadays, you could get a small, single serve blender for as little as $20. That sure is less than the $100 for a centrifugal juicer, or $250 for an auger juicer.
It is also easy to make smoothie recipes with a blender. Throw in fruit, ice, yogurt, and whatever else you want, turn it on, and you have your smoothie. Centrifugal juicers cannot do that. An auger juicer can, although it is more cumbersome to do so than with a blender.
The problem is that by blending produce without really extracting the juice from the pulp, you are just mashing it up for a thick pulpy drink. It will be difficult to make the juicer recipes that use tougher produce. For example, watermelons (including with the rinds) are not really a problem because of their high juice content – though you may need to add some additional liquid. On the other hand, pineapples can be troublesome, much more so if you want the rinds in your juicer recipes as well. Greens such as broccoli and spinach are really difficult, and will require you to add a lot of liquid, such as water, to actually blend them. Worst of all, blending is a more violent action on the produce which traps more air and promotes oxidation, further reducing nutritional content.
I have two blenders – a Back to Basics Blender Express and a Kitchenaid 5-speed blender. The Back to Basics Blender Express goes for $18 on Amazon.com and is such a great blender. The container has a handle so it acts as a mug, making it the perfect single serve blender.
The Kitchenaid 5-speed blender is…alright. It is powerful, but it is a big unit with a big jar that is made for heavy usage. Its heavy glass jar makes it a pain to clean. The blade is relatively small compared to the base, and the jar is not optimally shaped for blending. It was built for very large blending tasks, so it is practically useless for small jobs. I hate to admit it, but I get a lot more use out of my simple Back to Basics blender.
Chances are you already have a blender. If you’re open to the possibility of juicing, you can see how blending works for you. However, no blender can ever substitute a juicer in making your juicer recipes.