Sometimes it’s nice to go “old school” in the kitchen. No electronic devices buzzing and spinning away, just your own muscle power, creativity, and all-natural ingredients with no preservatives to make a delicious, healthy treat.
In this day and age of electronic centrifugal juicers and other electronic kitchen appliances to handle our every need, we sometimes get spoiled. Now don’t get me wrong, I like my devices as much as the next guy. If you’re pressed for time and want some fresh juice right away, electric juicers are the best. But what you gain in speed, you sacrifice in quality and efficiency. This means that, in general, manual juicers are able to extract more juice from fruits and vegetables than the typical electric juicer, but they are much slower and require some effort on your part to get the juice out.
The other advantage of manual juicers is that they are much cheaper than electric powered juicers, and of course, they use no power so you won’t have an additional expense on your electric bill. A manual juicer is a great tool to have in the kitchen, especially if you enjoy fresh-squeezed juice. Many recipes call for fresh juice and using a juicer is a great way to get that juice. Using a juicer is easier than squeezing the fruit itself and extracts more juice. Here is some more information on the different types of manual juicers.
Manual Citrus Juicers
Citrus juicers are designed solely for citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. You can’t use them with other types of fruits and vegetables. So if you are mainly looking for a fresh cup of OJ in the morning, then a citrus juicer is the way to go. Manual citrus juicers fall into two basic categories. One type is just a cone on the bottom made out of plastic or stainless steel. The cone should not be smooth; it should have ridges or bumps to help break down the fibers of the fruit and release more juice. You simply cut your orange in half and push down and twist it on the cone. It’s simple and easy to use and the only drawback is you have to put some muscle into it.
OXO Good Grips Citrus Juicer
As far as efficiency goes, these models are as efficient as you are strong. If you can press the orange half very firmly down on the cone, then you’ll get more juice out. The main advantages of manual cone type juicers are that they are very cheap and very durable. There are no moving parts to break, so this type of manual citrus juicer will last you for many, many years. As for price, I found some really good models on Amazon for under $20.
I recommend the OXO Good Grips Citrus Juicer. It has 2 reamers, one that you can use for small citrus fruit like lemons and limes and another large one that can be used for larger fruits like grapefruit. The OXO gets high ratings all around for durability, comfort, and juice extraction. Cooks Illustrated Magazine rated the OXO Good Grips Citrus Juicer very highly and really liked its unique ridged design. The OXO’s sharp ridges are able to grip citrus fruits better so that they don’t slide off the cone and they make it more efficient at extracting juice. Click here to check for the best price for the OXO Good Grips Citrus Juicer.
The other type of manual citrus juicer is one that combines a cone with a top to press down onto it. The fruit fits into the top of the press in a bowl then you simply grip the handle and press down or turn a handle to move the top down. Some have bowls underneath the juicer built in to catch the juice. With others, you pour the juice from the juicer into a bowl or measuring device. You get the extra leverage from the handle so you can exert more force on the fruit half with less effort than you can just using your hand on the fruit. That makes these types of manual citrus juicers more efficient and easier to use. With that of course comes a slight bump up in price over the other type of citrus juicer; nothing to break the bank over, but an increase nonetheless.
The Hamilton Beach 932 Commercial Citrus Juicer
The best manual citrus juicer of this type is the Hamilton Beach 932 Commercial Citrus Juicer. It is a bit more expensive than the other models but it is well worth the price. With the hand crank, you can generate over 2,000 psi of force on whatever fruit you place in the device. That is some serious power! With that amount of force, you can be sure that not a single drop of juice will be left in your fruit.
A nice feature of this model is that you can use a specially designed strainer to control how much pulp you get in your juice. Some like a lot of pulp, others like a clean liquid – your choice with the Hamilton Beach 932. Owners talk about being able to roll through large numbers of fruits with this machine. It’s much more efficient and faster than many other models of this type. I have a full in-depth Hamilton Beach 932 Commercial Citrus Juicer Review on this site if you want to read more about it. Click here to find the best price for the Hamilton Beach 932 Commercial Citrus Juicer.
Manual Wheatgrass Juicers
If you are interested in juicing more than just citrus fruits then you need to upgrade to a manual wheatgrass juicer. These machines will allow you to juice all types of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and wheatgrass. They work using a crank and gears. You put the fruit or vegetable into the top of the machine and then turn the hand crank of the side of the unit. The ingredients are pulled through the machine and crushed by the gears with the juice being squeezed out. The juice flows to a container and the dry pulp is pushed out of the other end. These types of juicers are highly efficient and able to extract every last drop out of the ingredients you place in them.
The drawback, as with manual citrus juicers, is that they are really slow. If you are juicing a large amount of produce it will take you a while. If you’re not a patient person then it’s easy to get frustrated by this. However, you can plan ahead, juice one time, and make a larger amount of juice to last you a couple of days. Studies show that juice extracted from manual wheatgrass juicers will keep longer than juice extracted from electric juicers. This means you can make more, store it in the refrigerator and have the juice maintain many of its nutrients and vitamins over a couple of days.
The other thing you’ll need to be aware of is that these juicers require more ingredient preparation than electric models. You can’t throw a whole carrot in there for example and expect it to be easy to turn the hand crank. You’ll need to cut harder vegetables into smaller pieces and feed them into the chute. The hand crank will turn a lot easier and you’ll get more juice.
There are a number of fantastic advantages to manual wheatgrass juicers. The top of which is that you will be getting a much higher quality juice out of your machine. Electric juicers typically spin the juice or crush it quickly to speed up the juicing process, but as a result, the juice gets heated up and oxidized and nutrients and vital enzymes get broken down resulting in juice with a lower nutritional level. Manual juicers don’t have any of that and you get only healthy wholesome nutrient-filled juice.
Lexen Healthy Manual Wheatgrass Juicer
One of the best manual wheatgrass juicers on the market is the Lexen Healthy Juicer. It gets very high positive owner reviews, with over 65% of the reviewers giving it 4 or 5 stars out of 5. It is made out of tough polycarbonate material and it is able to exert over 100 pounds of force to extract juice from the ingredients you place in it. It is very compact, lightweight (only 3 pounds) and easy to carry around. It is also very efficient, with many owners talking about how much juice they are able to get out of all types of ingredients that they put in and how dry the pulp is when it comes out. Plus you really can’t beat the price on this powerful machine – under $50! Click here to get the best price on the Lexen Healthy Manual Hand Powered Wheatgrass Juicer.
Advantages of Using a Manual Juicer
- You can find inexpensive models.
- They are portable and easily travel with you. You can take them anywhere, even out camping or on a picnic and you’ll never have to worry about plugging them in.
- There is no noise to use them.
- They are easy to clean – some are even dishwasher safe. There are very few parts to clean with manual juicers and no engine to deal with.
- You get more nutrients than with an electric juicer. Manual juicers don’t generate heat or foam up the juice, which breaks down nutrients and enzymes.
- More durable and longer-lasting than an electric juicer. There are very few moving parts and no engine so you won’t have to worry about your manual unit breaking down.
Disadvantages of Using a Manual Juicer
- The obvious disadvantage of using a manual juicer is the time it takes to juice a large amount. I find it best to plan ahead and try to juice all of your ingredients at once and store the excess. Trying to use a manual juicer a couple of times a day is just not efficient.
- It takes more work on your part. You’ll need to cut up and prepare some of the ingredients. Plus you’ll need to use a little muscle to get the juicer going, whether it’s pressing down on a citrus juicer or turning the hand crank on a manual wheatgrass juicer.
- With a manual citrus juicer you are limited with the types of fruits you can juice. If you want more variety and the ability to juice many type of fruits and vegetables then you’ll need to upgrade to a manual wheatgrass juicer.
Tips On Extracting the Most Juice With Your Manual Juicer
To get the most juice, use room temperature fruits. If you store fruit in the refrigerator, let it stand until it’s no longer cold to the touch. Roll the fruit on the counter, pressing very slightly to soften the fibers and release more juice. Another tip to getting as much juice as possible is to microwave the fruit for 10 seconds.
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