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A couple of years I had a bit of a craze where healthy eating was concerned. At the time, I often read articles in newspapers and magazines about the health benefits of increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetable juices in your diet. Freshly squeezed juices can offer a natural remedy to just about any ailment that you can possibly think of – so a juicer seemed like the essential purchase. Since then juicers and juicing have become more and more popular – many celebrities, such as Geri Halliwell, heavily promote the health benefits of fresh juice, and juice bars are now popping up in many towns and cities. Prepared fruit and vegetable juices are readily available from most supermarkets, but only truly freshly squeezed juice offers the optimum benefits for health.
WHY THE MAGIMIX
A cursory examination of the range of juicers available left me with no real alternative. I am a firm believer in ensuring that any electrical appliances that I buy look good, have as many features as I can find, and won’t fall to bits within two months. It is certainly true that you can buy quiet cheap juice extractors these days – around the £20 mark – but they don’t have the range of features that Le Duo has and nor do they look like they will last the mile. The Magimix model is sturdy, substantial and has a good quality feel to it. At £99, it was virtually the most expensive model I could find – the next one up was an industrial grade model, and probably more powerful than I required.
APPEARANCE AND DESIGN
The Magimix is housed in high quality plastic – at the time of purchase, the model was available in white or yellow. A stainless steel finish was also available, but this cost £30 more. The unit comprises a 250W motor that sits in the base of the extractor and stands upright, occupying the space of a larger-sized electric kettle. The unit is very sturdy – the weight of the motor in the bottom means that it is very stable, and sits comfortably on four soft, rubber feet. As such, despite the unit’s comparative height, it is very difficult to knock over during usage. The unit is virtually cylindrical, and fits in well with most modern kitchens – it also takes up limited space in the cupboard, so this is a very practical unit to choose. I also liked the compact design of the unit – the shape and layout is such that operation is very simple.
All the parts of the juicer fit easily and snugly into place. When disassembled, you can wash each of them independently, and putting them together again is also very easy – you don’t need to be a Krypton Factor contestant to work it out!
THE APPEAL OF JUICING
One of the greatest appeals with fresh juice is the experimentation. Fruit and vegetable juices are rich and varied in colour and taste and the Magimix provides the perfect tool for you to rustle up your own specialities. It’s great fun when you first have a play with it, especially when you juice different colour fruits and watch the vibrant colours start to appear. Preparation is very important though – don’t cut corners to rush into the actual juicing. You need to:
Wash ingredients thoroughly. With vegetables such as turnips or carrots, this means scrubbing them. To retain the goodness, you don’t really want to peel your ingredients, but you need to ensure that all traces of soil or contaminants are removed first. Don’t trust “Ready to Eat” labels – it ain’t necessarily so! Chop and dice to a manageable size. Whilst it may be great fun to see if you can shove a whole marrow down the tube in one go, you could do the machine some damage, and hamper its efficiency. If you are having trouble getting the pieces down the tube, then the chances are that you haven’t cut them up enough. Don’t prepare too much in one go. Fresh juice only retains its goodness for a limited time, so try to juice what you need there and then – storing juice isn’t really an option.
The juice extractor sits in the upper half of the machine. This basically comprises a stainless steel basket, which has little teeth in it. When the basket spins round at speed, the teeth act like a circular cheese grater, and slice open the fruit or vegetables, releasing the juices within. On top of the steel basket is a plastic lid, which clicks neatly into place with one simple turn. To feed the fruit or vegetable chunks into the juicer, you push pieces into an upright tube, the bottom of which empties out into the basket. In case the pieces get stuck in the tube, you are supplied with a plastic utensil that you push into the tube, to force the pieces out of the other end. When juicing oranges or lemons, you are provided with two special cones, onto which you place the segments of fruit and then activate the mechanism so that it extracts the juice. In this instance, you simply lift the lid and throw away the peel – with other fruits and vegetables, the waste is stored in the drum, and needs to be emptied out when you have finished.
The on off switch is located on the base of the unit, and once you turn the power on, the basket starts spinning round. Once the juice has been extracted from the fruit and/or vegetables, it is drained through the basket and out of the unit via an adjustable spout on the side of the unit. The design of the spout ensures there are no accidents – the juice will not run out until you fold it downwards, by which time you will (hopefully) have placed a jug underneath. According to the fruit or vegetables in question, I have found that the waste seems to clog the drainage flow, and juice starts to leak out directly underneath the spout. The only way to avoid this is to keep taking the juicer apart and clearing the waste.
QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF JUICE
The juicer extracts beautifully clear and pure juice – the pulp and waste from the fruit and vegetables is retained safely in the stainless steel drum, so only the real juice gets through the extractor. A major advantage of this model over others, is the comparative size of load that can be juiced before you have to clean it. The capacity of the drum is enough to juice a good portion of orange juice – there’s nothing worse than having to keep stopping to empty out all the waste. In one extraction, you can obtain nearly a pint of juice before the drum needs emptying – although this may differ according to what you are actually juicing.
CLEANING THE APPLIANCE
Cleaning the juicer is a relatively simple, if not time-consuming, task. All the components come apart and should be washed promptly in hot, soapy water. Don’t make the mistake of leaving the waste in the basket until the next day – this makes cleaning much more difficult. Cleaning does take a relatively long time. Once you have removed the lid and the drum, you need to get all the pulp and waste out before you can actually rinse the drum. This can be a cumbersome task, as the drum has a plastic lip, which makes it very difficult to get all the bits out. A plastic spatula is supplied that is designed specifically to ease this task, but it can still be quite awkward. The little teeth on the drum can also be tricky to clean – a brush is probably the easiest way to clean them, as a cloth will simply get shredded. All the plastic parts are easy enough to clean, but you will find after time that the juice starts to stain the plastic, unless you scrub it quickly and vigorously soon after usage. If I’m honest, one of the reasons that I tend to use the Magimix far less often, is that the thought of having to clean it simply puts me off using it. Whilst I fully appreciate that all similar appliances need regular cleaning, the relative effort required to produce a jug of juice can easily offset the pleasure of drinking it.
The machine comes with a very well written manual and instruction booklet. Common sense is always a useful thing to have, but the booklet will certainly help you get started. As well as tips on cleaning, maintenance and general care, the booklet also contains some super recipe suggestions for some juicy concoctions. I bought a separate juicing recipe book, as I found a fantastically detailed edition, but the one that comes with the Magimix is a good starter. A customer service help line is also provided – I haven’t tried this service, so I cannot comment.
At just under £100, the Magimix is one of the more expensive models on the market, but you get what you pay for. My juicer works as well now as it did the first day I used it – it really is a durable piece of equipment. My criticisms about cleaning would apply to any such appliance – I cannot really criticise Magimix for my laziness!
I think it was Nigel Slater who said that you couldn't clean any juicer without swearing and it's one the things that's put me off. I like the idea and I did toy with the idea of a Waring juicer, but I'm still havering!
COOOEEE 23.08.2002 16:06
I find a toothbrush ideal for cleaning the stubborn bits, Fionaxx
starsaber90 29.05.2002 02:19
Wow, that looks like something which is great fun to use. And you managed to make a review of a juicer both informative and great to read! Well done!