Kickstart your health kick
Blenders, juicers and extractors are the main products when it comes to turning fresh fruit and veg into a drink - find out which is right for you
Vitamin-packed, lip-smacking smoothies and juices can help you towards your five-a-day.
They're well established on menus at fashionable cafes, delis and juice bars - but with the right tech it's perfectly easy to recreate the same experience for less cash at home.
Finding the right appliance
Blenders, juicers and extractors are the main products when it comes to turning fresh fruit and veg into a drink. However, they each have their own features suited for certain types of drink.
- Blender: Puree fruit, create smoothies with
crushed ice, make soups
- Centrifugal juicer: Fresh juices from fruit and certain vegetables - often don't need to be peeled, but pulp is discarded
- Extractor: 'Green' juices and smoothies with fruit extracted to keep more nutrients in. Works with nuts, ice, seeds and wheatgrass as well as fruit and veg and retains pulp
Read on to find out more about each option...
A jug blender will blend your fresh fruit or vegetables to your desired consistency - they're great for soups and smoothies.
In the blending process, fruit or vegetables are combined with liquid such as water, ice, milk or yoghurt and blended to a puree.
Once your fruit is peeled and seeded it goes straight in the blender jug, and nothing is removed from it during the blending process.
A jug blender consists of a jug (made from glass or plastic) that sits on top of a box housing the motor.
Features to look out for:
Ice-crushing function: If you want to make smoothies then you are going to want an ice-crushing button.
Pulse function: Push it and the blender will run at its highest speed - once you remove your finger it will stop. This is great for making soup.
Example - KitchenAid Artisan blender
Blending smoothies, crushing ice, pureeing fruit or pulverising veg for a soup - this Kitchen Aid can handle the lot.
Everything about it has a premium feel - from its retro styling and heavy glass jug to its bold red design and user-friendly controls.
Its powerful motor and different speed settings will make short work of anything you throw at it. There's a pulse button to give you complete control when blending to a specific consistency - a soup for example.
Its large 1.5 litre jug has plenty of room for making batches of soups and smoothies for the whole family.
An extractor will make regular juices and smoothies you'd create in a juicer or blender. But it works differently to both of those products.
But its clever processing technology means it's also the best option if you want to make super-healthy 'green' juices and smoothies for detoxing, work-outs and special diets.
The extraction technology is designed to retain more of the fruits' nutrients. As well as fruit you can also use wheatgrass, spinach and nuts and seeds in some extractors.
Example - Nutribullet Graphite
The Nutribullet allows your body to get the best from food by breaking it down to a point where its nutrients can be properly absorbed.
It's designed to break down the cell walls of your food to unlock the vitamins, fibre and proteins and acids. Nutribullet says it can transform 'ordinary fresh foods into superfoods'.
Its 600-watt motor is powerful enough to pulverise nuts, seeds, ice and leafy veg such as spinach and wheatgrass into liquid.
It's simple to use, too. In the box are 3 components: a cup, an extractor blade and the motor.
Place your fruit, veg and other ingredients in the cup. Then fill with water to the max line. Screw on the extractor blade, then pop onto the base. Then push down and clockwise and it'll blast your juice - the blades work at 10,000 RPM.
Find stacks more recipes here.
With a juicer you can make your own fresh apple or orange juice at home for a refreshing snack or breakfast.
Our main types of juicer are centrifugal. You put your fruit down a feeding tube and it's pushed onto a spinning blade. The pulp is separated from the juice to be discarded. This - and the fact you can generally push whole peeled and sometimes unpeeled fruits down the tube - saves time.
Example - Philips Avance
Want a machine that's easy to clean, quiet and efficient to run and makes plenty of juice for your family? This Philips Avance is a strong contender.
Push whole fruit down the tube at the top, and the pulp is collected in a container for disposal. You can expect 10% more juice from your fruit and vegetables, with the ability to create as much as 2.5 litres at once.
And when it comes to cleaning - it's easy-peasy. The sieve has been designed so pulp doesn't get stuck in the mesh. All parts are dishwasher-friendly too.