Unitasker Wednesday: Juicers

JuicerWhy would someone invest the money and space in their kitchen for an electric juicer? I know I felt the wrath of the ice cream maker owners back when I suggested that an ice cream maker was a unitasker, and I’ll probably hear from the pro-electric-juice-making contingency on this one, but I don’t understand sacrificing counter space when you don’t have to.

Yes, I’ve enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice and I can say that it is better than anything store bought, but I’m not going to run out and purchase a dedicated electrical appliance for my juicing needs. Isn’t a space-saving, hand-held, non-electrical juicer just as effective? Do you really save that much time? Can you even throw the electrical one easily into the dishwasher? I can’t justify the storage space for something that I can easily purchase at the grocery store or make just as well with a small, hand-held device.

I’m also curious as to how many oranges it takes to make four eight ounce servings of juice? I really have no idea. I’m sure Jack Lalanne could tell me, and he would gladly take my $130 for one of his electric Power Juicer models, too.

49 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Juicers”

  1. posted by Libby on

    Have you ever tried to juice a carrot without an electric juicer? Sadly, that little hand juicer won’t work for carrots, or any fruit that isn’t small and citrus-like (oranges and grapefruits wouldn’t work well in a tiny juicer like that)

    I get the unitasker aspect, but it’s a unitasker that I’ll gladly keep around. Mine takes up less space on my counter than my microwave does, and frankly, I’ll deal with kitchen counter clutter if it means I can make fresh juice and not have to buy oversugared juices made from concentrate in the stores.

  2. posted by Steph on

    LOL @ “oversugared juices.” If you buy 100% juice, I can guarantee it’ll have the same amount of sugar as juice you make at home. If you’re really into custom juice blends that you can’t find in a store, then I suppose you would need a juicer… but that begs the question, why not just eat the fruits and vegetables as they are? Must they be in liquid format?

    My roommate has a juicer. I’ve lived with her for seven months and I haven’t seen her use it once. She said she used to use it, but the juice would go bad before she got a chance to drink it.

  3. posted by Allen Taylor on

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Allen Taylor

  4. posted by Jen on

    I’m a big fan of limeade, and I make it frequently. You need about six limes to yield a half a gallon of limeade, which requires almost an hour of wrist-wrenching work (on the small hand-held juicer I have). The limeade is invariably gone within 24 hours. As soon as I move into a long-term place, I’m buying electric.

    I am also a big fan of carrot juice. That’s not happening without an electric juicer.

    Something you use once a week or more for multiple projects is not a unitasker. Just because you might not find a need for something, Matt, doesn’t mean other people won’t. What happened to the stuff like miniature donut makers, huh?

  5. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    If you drink carrot juice every day, then this device wouldn’t be a unitasker. However, I can make a couple of glasses of orange juice with my hand-held juicer in less than five minutes … the same amount of time it would take to do it with an electric juicer. I have to agree with Matt for the most part on this one (excluding, of course, the daily carrot juice people).

  6. posted by craig on

    I agree, (to reiterate) if you are only making orange and lemon juices, then a juicer is overkill. But if you are using it to make carrot, strawberry, grape, pear, apple, pomegranate, kiwi, pineapple, (other exotic fruit name here) juices, a handheld definitely wouldn’t work.

    However, easy to clean is a must. We’ve stopped using ours because making juices from all those different fruits left all sorts of pieces in the strainer and grinder. And the juicer parts were hard to take off and harder to clean.

  7. posted by May on

    If you’re only making orange juice with a juicer, sure it’s a unitasker…but if you bought it for juicing a variety of fruits and vegetables, it really isn’t. Even if you only use it once a week.

    The logic of this post suggests that if you use a product in a limited way, then it is a unitasker. Shouldn’t unitaskers be products which have only a limited use in the first place? After all, we don’t want to call computers unitaskers just because my granddad only uses them for playing solitaire.

    I prefer the more ridiculous unitasker posts–the funny ones :)

  8. posted by Daniel on

    Steph’s right that it’s far and away better to eat the fruit or vegetable rather than to drink the juice. When you juice, you essentially over-process it yourself (instead of paying for a factory to do it). You ditch the fiber and keep the sugars. When a diabetic’s blood-sugar is dangerously low, orange juice is the most commonly used thing to bring it back up quickly.

    I make lemonade and limeade a lot during the summer, and I use a hand-juicer that’s more like this: Amazon. Except mine is white plastic, not stainless steel, and has a handle. It fits onto any cup or bowl. A pitcher of lemon- or limeade takes 2 lemons or limes, 2 c. sugar, and the rest water. Juicing a lemon, lime, or even an orange is a piece of cake (so long as you don’t have arthritis, I assume).

    It fits into a container along with spatulas, spoons, etc., so it doesn’t take up any extra space at all.

    All that to say, I don’t get it either, and in my book it’s a bona fide uni-tasker.

  9. posted by Karen in Wichita on

    The handheld juicer doesn’t get enough juice out when it’s operated by someone with wrist issues (i.e., me). So I have to get out a more powerful one to avoid wasting fruit.

    He’s not electric, though, and does take up quite a bit more space. But he’s far from a unitasker. (Though without him, I wouldn’t own unitaskers like the ice cream maker, so there are tradeoffs.)

    My handheld isn’t quite like that one in the Amazon link, though. Does that kind work better than this kind (I can’t find one quite as generic as mine, but this gives the idea)?
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/

    Not, mind you, that I’d trade the, uh, power option on mine in…

  10. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    Oh, and I should add that I’ve edited Matt’s unitasker for next week and it is my FAVORITE one ever. It has nothing to do with food … so stay tuned for next week if you want to laugh until your side’s ache … I may still be laughing …

  11. posted by Mikey on

    One’s unitasker is another’s necessity – hey isn’t a dishwasher a unitasker? Couldn’t the sink work just as well? :)

  12. posted by Aaron Jacques on

    Love this site, been keeping up for the past few weeks since I found it (via curbly).

    And, no, it’s not impossible to make carrot juice w/o a juicer, just watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03YyB-8rglc

    I’m sure it’d go smoother if you took an extra minute to cut up the carrots into smaller pieces.

  13. posted by Jakob on

    Mikey, exactly.

    A coffeemaker is a unitasker too. Doesn’t make it bad.

    Personally I love me some fresh squeezed carrot juice, or apple celery, or pineapple. Yum!

    When not in use, it goes away into the cabinet. No counter top clutter.

    Matt, you’re wrong on this one.

  14. posted by ciara on

    for those who love fruit/vegetable juices but without the added sugars, this item would definitely be the way to go and not be a true unitasker. it would be a total counter clutter for me because i’m not a juice drinker, nor a coffee drinker, but i still have that darned coffee maker on the counter because of my husband. i’d rather it be put away, but he’d probably freak if he didn’t see it there lol

  15. posted by jm on

    When I lived in Los Angeles, we’d go to the farmer’s market and buy a bag of organic oranges and squeeze juice every day. We used one of those electric citrus juicers (Black & Decker, I think). It was faster than the hand juicer, but took marginally longer to clean. Since our move to Central New York, we’ve used it less than once a year in the past dozen years, so calling it a unitasker is probably overstating its utility.

  16. posted by Gabriel on

    (1) The Unitasker pictured is a reamer. It reams citrus fruit. I wouldn’t pay $130 to get reamed by Jack Lelanne, when I can do the same job by hand.

    (2) You can’t squeeze juice from a carrot, Jakob.

  17. posted by lb on

    I think you’ve missed the point (as other people have pointed out above). A juicer isn’t really designed for making citrus juices, it’s for pureeing and liquifying a whole range of fruits and vegetables. You can’t “juice” a vegetable any other way, so in fact this item is absolutely necessary for people who want to drink fresh vegetable juices. There are quite a few of them out there and many people believe it has significant health benefits, so they drink fresh juices several times a week (or daily). Many people use this for cleansing or fasting, too. (I’m not advocating it, just saying…)

  18. posted by Andy on

    Juicers *are* unitaskers. Some people find them worth it, but that doesn’t change their nature.

  19. posted by Filipa on

    “Why would someone invest the money and space in their kitchen for an electric juicer?”

    Because that someone could have about 6 orange trees, 4 tangerine trees and 2 lemon trees and doesn’t like to waste any piece of fruit. Believe me, its reeeeally quicker when you juice all the time. And it’s me, a “decluttering fan”, speaking! ;)

  20. posted by Mikey on

    Might be fun to go through my house and write a list of unitaskers in addition to that space-waster of a dishwasher….

    My Unitasker list:
    vacuum – I could use a broom
    car – I could walk
    clothes washer and dryer – I could wash everything in the bathroom sink
    iPod – the very definition of a Unitasker
    sewing machine – wow now there is a Unitasker
    coffee maker – there is always Sanka if I am desperate
    television – my laptop plays tv
    radio – it’s crap anyway
    iron – we have “Permanent Press” folks

    OTOH, I could argue that all these things make my particular, individual, and quirky life a little better. While I could certainly live without any or all, I choose not to.

    I would further argue that there really is no such thing as a Unitasker, just household items you find silly, and those that you do not. As long as we all recognize that our choices should not necessarily govern others, it’s all good.

  21. posted by Karla on

    I more than likely would not ever buy a separate juicer. But my mixer (a Kitchen Aid) has available attachments to juice. I’ve never bought that one. The new food processor I own did come with a juice attachment and we use it pretty regularly. Ice cream maker – I have the attachment for my mixer that works great.

  22. posted by Patrick on

    I use a manual press juicer (like this one: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/.

    For what it’s worth, I usually buy oranges whenever they get cheap and then I’ll have about 3 when I want a glass of juice. That’s a relatively small glass, but that’s usually all I want at once anyway. A friend of mine works in a restaurant and he says that when a customer orders their fresh-squeezed juice, they use 8 oranges for the glass.

  23. posted by Sheryl on

    Patrick – 8(!) oranges for a glass of O.J.?! WOW. That’s a boat-load of sugar…I’m hypoglycemic, and that would lay me out flat on the floor. And I don’t know anybody that would sit and eat 8 whole oranges…

    I, too, think that you eliminate a lot of the good fiber and stuff when you juice fruits and vegetables, but I know a lot of people that love their juice (and juicers.)

  24. posted by Michael on

    One of these would be much better!

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/06/04

  25. posted by Kimberly on

    Are there any unitaskers that you do recommend? I don’t need a juicer, but I do need a stovetop espresso maker which is a unitasker. I would love to hear what unitaskers you think are worthwhile.

  26. posted by Marie Alice on

    Yes, I juice almost everyday and that’s a habit that anyone who is interested in staying fit, healthy and save cooking time should pick up. Talk about a uncluttering tool! If I don’t have time to wash the salad, chop the veggies, saute or steam them, I just juice: clean, juice and drink. And a whole lot of it in a glass to! You save energy (no cooking), time, clutter (very little cleaning up for the kitchen counter, barely any tools used but a cutting board and a knife) and still get my vitamins. It won’t replace cooking – I would never give that up – but will surely be a healthy simple shortcut to get a whole lot of fresh vegetable in my system if I don’t have the time for the cooking and cleaning. As far as Stovetop expresso makers, these are cheap, small and make as good a coffee as the big pricey and cluttering machines. What multitask instrument can make expresso?

  27. posted by Marie Alice on

    And I disagree with the idea that an iPod is a unitasker. It is a learning tool that allows you to get information on your own time (podcast everything that is on NPR, then get back to me if you haven’t learn something), it is a great way to pass the time on an airplane (all the movies I want, in my little bubble of space), a great way to take my workout videos with me when I travel (hotel rooms charge for these and I don’t always have the time to get to the gym when on a conference), and of course I can listen to ALL my CDs anywhere I go. It is also the best media storage. You can now put your CDs in storage, get rid of your radio. I have also done away with cable as long as I was at it. I can find an easy hour to hour 1/2 of good video programming on the web, and if I watch more TV than that, I must be wasting time. I installed an old laptop in my kitchen and cooking time is when I watch good TV (Frontline has 70 episodes on line, all excellent, for example)

  28. posted by Tina Mammoser on

    Hmmm… I can see your perspective. But disagree with it. I juice about 4-5 times a week. I juice carrots, beetroot, celery, apples, ginger, pears, cucumbers… actually my juicer doesn’t do citrus. The difference from an ice cream maker is that fruit and veg is healthy and not a luxury food, and of course juicing eliminates wastage: I juice together any fruit and veg that will otherwise go bad soon.

    I have elbow and shoulder joints problems so couldn’t possibly juice even citrus by hand for very long.

    Dishwasher? What’s that? My juicer takes a minute to clean out in the sink with a dish brush.

  29. posted by Kris on

    We have a heavy duty plastic juicer that actually is part of a larger ‘kit’ that serves other functions as well. Works fine, no plugs, and it all fits together for minimal storage.

    As far as the iPod goes, I have a friend who watches movies, listens to podcasts, listens to music, etc … all on her iPod. She got one for her son and he watches all his movies on his iPod, instead of using a TV in his room, and DVDs, not to mention the DVD player they didn’t have to have installed in their minivan for trips, etc. All his movies are loaded on the iPod and they’re done .. and it takes up space a little bigger than a credit card.

  30. posted by Mary Beth on

    Wow! A lot of people feel strongly about their juicer! And thanks to these posting I discovered that if I am interested in staying fit, healthy and save on cooking time I should invest in one. Sorry, not buying it. As far as I can see there is no way the specific item posted will help me, or anyone, in any way. I still like cutting a hole in the orange and mashing it, squeezing it and drinking straight from the orange for orange juice. Lemonade I like slicing the lemons putting sugar on them and pressing the sugar into the juice, with an ice cream scoop (another potential unitasker), and adding water. Amazingly people did have orange juice and lemonade before electricity. And for those of you who swear by carrot, beet, etc. juice, this item won’t make it.

  31. posted by Shannon on

    I’m beginning to find the Unitasker posts annoying.

    Everyone has a different lifestyle, and thus everyone needs different equipment to go along with it. Some people backpack (tent, sleeping bag, camp stove, water purifier), some people cook gourmet foods (pasta maker, creme brulee torch, dozens of spices), some people exercise (yoga mat, weight bench, treadmill), and some do crafts (sewing machine, scrapbooking supplies, paints and easel). To those who enjoy these activities, these items may be absolutely necessary. To others, they may seem like a waste of space.

    Lots of products are unitaskers, but that does not mean that they aren’t necessary or useful to the pursuit of a particular activity. When it comes right down to it, most of the products we use are single-use items. Who really needs a couch anyway? We could all just sit on the floor!

    I liked the Unitasker feature when it was about over-the-top products that everyone could laugh about (battery powered spaghetti-winding fork, anyone?). Perhaps it should return to its roots instead of becoming a venue for criticizing others’ possessions and lifestyle choices.

  32. posted by mr. Obsession on

    I’m with Shannon (and pretty much everyone else in this thread)…this week’s choice is way off-base.

    Whereas before, the item selected was something we could ALL agree was nuts (ex. snowball former), this seems to be an “I PERSONALLY find juicers to be unnecessary” choice without much follow-up thought as to how others may use the same product in situations outside the writer’s own personal reality.

    There are only so many ways one can use a Ten Can Soda Cooler…but (as proven above) juicers are in a lot of kitchens not out of neglect but out of necessity.

    Full disclosure: Got a juicer for Christmas last year and it was on Ebay within 24 hours…so it wasn’t even a UNI-tasker for me!

  33. posted by Pat on

    Well, I have a unitasker that most non-Asians would scoff at: a rice maker. All it does is make perfect rice. We use it 4 times a week. Our stove top only has 3 burners. It’s a must in our house, and it lives in a cabinet until we use it.

  34. posted by Kurt C. on

    I am about to go use my juicer. I have ten pounds of organic carrots that I am going to juice, and bottle. Every morning I drink it mixed with orange juice, and it is really healthy, and very tasty. Carrot juice is not cheap, and I don’t want it store bought and pasteurized. I want all of the nutrients.
    I will say though, that juicing isn’t realy something I can do every day, like they would have you believe in the infomercials. It takes too long to prep and clean. I would much rather do it once a week in a bigger assembly line like process.

  35. posted by Mo on

    Similarly to other gadflies, I think you’re misdirecting your criticism. Clearly, any tool that people use frequently ceases to be easily labeled as a “unitasker”. Even that lotion warmer was defended by those with arthritis, and porn stars.

    It seems to me that the problem isn’t tools, per se, but the misguided reasons people purchase them (such as notions of ease, health and beauty). Your indignation over appliances that are commonly purchased for the wrong reasons simply isn’t funny or interesting for a Wednesday schtick, since this is a pretty all-encompassing category of crap.

    You might as well target SUVs next week, which are no more excessive compared to small cars than electric juicers are to manual ones. They too are often purchased because of misguided notions of “freedom” and “getting back to nature” that are rarely, but sometimes, fulfilled.

    Or take my own kitchen, which is full of tools that I use all of the time, because I prefer not to buy packaged food. As a how-many-oranges-in-four-cups type, you must discard cartons or bottles after you drink your juice? Talk about unitasking! ; ) It’s all a matter of perspective.

  36. posted by Karen in Wichita on

    I think the problem isn’t that things are unitaskers, it’s that we acquire too many unitaskers that we don’t use often enough.

    There’s a key difference between “I make X all the time, and a dedicated X thingy would make my life so much easier!” vs. “If I had a dedicated X thingy, I’d start to make X all the time!” It’s the second case that’s the clutter trap, and Unitasker Wednesday is targeted at that: these are things you really need to be realistic about before you commit to them.

    Yes, sometimes there are really stupid unitaskers that don’t even make life easier when you *do* make X all the time. But if they’re fun to point and laugh at, then they’re probably not a real threat to uncluttering efforts. It’s the seductive “but it IS practical!” things you really have to examine, and decide where to draw the line.

    And one litmus test would be: if you feel compelled to defend it in comments, it’s probably one you’re justified in having. :}

  37. posted by Liz on

    I really want a juicer, but not merely a citrus juicer because I can buy OJ easily. I want to make my own evil concoctions :) I want something that I can make my own apple-ginger-carrot raspberry whatever with. Fresh juice would be nice. I think I’m going to find one on craigslist though. I want to make sure I’ll use it before investing the big money.

  38. posted by Jenny (usagi) on

    I have to agree with Daniel and Sheryl. I make smoothies on a regular basis with my blender. I’m not sure why you’d want to remove all that healthy fiber.

    I remember my mom having a juicer sitting and collecting dust for the most part on the kitchen counter. My blender though I use for all sorts of stuff.

    I regularly add veggies to my “fruit” smoothies. Baby carrots (because I don’t want to take the time to cut them), oranges or the 100% OJ I buy for my fiance, some frozen or canned 100% pineapple or pineapple juice, and usually a tiny bit of random other stuff sometimes(yogurt, ground flax, etc.) is one of my favorites. If it ends up too thick I just add some tap water.

  39. posted by Minnie on

    am I the ONLY ONE sick of listening to people WHINE about Unitasker Wednesday?

    OKAY we get it; you like your juicer!

    One person’s unitasker is another’s “can’t live without it.
    Stop picking on Unitasker.
    They can’t ALL be perfect Gems.
    Erin said tune in next week for a really hilarious one, so enough sniping.

  40. posted by Ethel on

    I never thought about a juicer, but now I am thinking about it. We suscribed to a fresh fruit / veggie delivery service, but found that sometimes using all of those fruits and veggies was a little tough. A juicer would solve that problem easily.

    Seems like it might sit next to the toaster in the list of useful unitaskers. But I have to agree with the poster suggesting Craig’s Listing the first one I own to make sure I use it before sinking any $$ into it (plus second-hand might be good enough :-)

  41. posted by Kaila on

    I’m not going to take a side on whether or not juicers are unitaskers.

    But I’ve worked in a juice place for a couple years, and I can answer your question about how many oranges it takes to make four eight ounce servings of juice.

    With an industrial juicer (I have no idea if it’s better at getting juice out than the kitchen ones), an orange usually yields between 2 and 3 ounces of juice. So it would take anywhere from 11 to 16 oranges to make 32 ounces of juice.

  42. posted by John on

    To be honest… a juicer was one of the greatest appliances I’ve ever owned. Although mine kind of blew up last year (yeah, don’t ask, lol). And yes they are big and clunky, but I have had few pleasures as delightful as freshly produced juice… and even fewer that were healthy vices.

  43. posted by John on

    Oh further to above… handheld manual juicers are great for some things. Not great for making juice from whole apples, pears, celery, carrots, beetroot, etc. etc. etc.

  44. posted by Michael on

    Vegetable juice? Yuck. I just uncluttered my stomach thinking about it.

    But seriously, does anyone disagree that this is a unitasker? How many tasks does it perform? 1-Juicer. Therefore UNI-tasker.

    It’s “unitasker wednesday”, not “I love my gidget and I don’t care what you say so I’m going to get all defensive wednesday”. We get it, stop putting the “nut” in health nuts.

  45. posted by Mo on

    Incidentally, everyone, I do not own or desire a juicer.

    Minnie, how boring to suggest that the internet is only for reading, like television!

  46. posted by Shell on

    I agree with Shannon. I thought this weekly segment was supposed to be funny and over the top, not belittling lifestyle choices. And for the record I do not own a juicer.

  47. posted by Amber on

    Store-bought juices will have been pasteurized, and therefore devoid of the enzymes found in homemade juice. Few people juice but I’d venture to guess most of those who do, do it for the health (and environmental) benefits. People on raw diets especially love juicing and to them, uni-taskers like ovens, microwaves, and even stove-tops probably seem just as unnecessary and foolish. So if you’re feeling THAT incredulous about juicers, try thinking about it from another viewpoint.

    I am a hard & fast declutterer, particularly in the kitchen (I don’t have a microwave, have only one pot that I also use as a skillet, use baggies rather than have an actual garbage can, etc.) but I’d be lost without my juicer. I just cannot justify paying $6 for a gallon of pasteurized juice in a plastic container when I can buy a bunch of fruits & veggies for the same price and compost all the waste or use it in soups/stocks, and get a ton of healthy great-tasting juice in the process.

  48. posted by chavajon on

    truth juice 12:30am

    “ In the process of pasteurizing, juice is heated and stripped of oxygen, a process called deaeration, so it doesn’t oxidize. Then it’s put in huge storage tanks where it can be kept for upwards of a year. It gets stripped of flavor-providing chemicals, which are volatile. When it’s ready for packaging, companies such as Tropicana hire flavor companies such as Firmenich to engineer flavor packs to make it taste fresh. People think not-from-concentrate is a fresher product, but it also sits in storage for quite a long time.

    Via: kottke

    An interview with Alissa Hamilton about her new book, Squeezed, reveals that that fresh orange juice you’re buying might not be so fresh or even orange-y.

  49. posted by Anon on

    normally i like unistasker posts but i love my juicer so poo on you

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