An important part of keeping fit is healthy eating. So, when Philips offered me the chance to try a juicer, offering a collection of healthy juice recipes and a whole host of food to juice too, I decided to give it a go.
I’ll come completely clean at the outset and say that the deal from Philips was that if I wrote about the juicer I could keep it. Now, that doesn’t mean I agreed to write in any particular way, so what you are getting here are my honest views as a first time user of any kind of juicer.
The Philips Viva HR1857 is fast. It’s really efficient. Its can gobble up average sized apples and even tough beetroots in seconds, and its rock solid on the worktop thanks to suckers that keep it anchored in place. It can create up to 2 litres of juice in one go, and this pours into a provided jug which sits securely held in place by a nozzle on the juicer itself.
Foods are dropped into a tube at the top of the juicer and you get a plunger to push them down. The clear plastic construction means you can see the blades whizzing round, and immediately juice begins to flow. When you turn the motor off, juice continues to drip into the collecting jug for a little while – so either pop a glass under the nozzle or wait for the drips to stop.
All this is very easy, quick and efficient and the process of making juice couldn’t be simpler.
However this piece of kitchen equipment is an absolute monster to store, and really tedious to clean. Philips says on the packaging that you can ‘quickly rinse clean’. Perhaps they need to think about their definitions of ‘quickly’, and ‘rinse’. With bits of food pulp left inside the juicer getting it clean took a while. The blades section was particularly hard to get clean, and the last thing I wanted to do was leave bits of old pulp laying in the blades and potentially getting germy. You can pour clean water into the juicer and switch it on for a minute to do the final bit of cleaning, but my experience says that it needs emptying of pulp and a hand clean first.
What about the health benefits of juicing? Well, if you are into your five a day juicing might seem like a great way to cram fruit and veg in. The recipes I tried had at least four ingredients, and some had six or seven. I certainly got through more different fruits and veg on days when I used the juicer than on days when I didn’t. I encountered a lot of new and different tastes too.
But quantity is not the same as quality. Scooping the pulp out of the juicer was not a particularly pleasant experience, and there was a remarkably large amount of it. While my garden compost benefitted I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps I was missing out by not eating all the stuff the juicer left behind. In fact, there’s a mixed story here – and it is about learning to juice the right way.
There is a growing school of thought that says by just extracting liquid and leaving fibre out of the mix juicers can deprive you of key nutrients. Juices usually lack protein too. That’s before you start thinking about things like the calories you burn digesting solid food versus drinks, and how juicing can actually lead to taking in more calories rather than fewer. I could juice four oranges and happily drink that – thereby taking on board a lot of sugar. By contrast, I’d only want to eat one orange.
And no, you can’t get over the pain of cleaning the juicer by making juice in bulk and storing it. Studies suggest that juice starts to lose nutritional benefits pretty quickly after being made, and I found that after even just a few minutes standing on the worktop the various layers of a juice could separate out fairly quickly making it look really unappetising.
The Viva Collection HR1857 costs a cool £100. That’s a lot of money and as I am not an experienced user of this kind of kit I can’t tell you whether it is good value or not.
What I can tell you is that it is fast and efficient at 700w, and a beast to clean. It will go in a dishwasher, but all its various bits take up a lot of space. If you wash it by hand you’ll spend longer cleaning it than using it.
As for juicing itself – don’t just plunge in juicing four oranges a day and think that’s all your healthy eating dealt with. Far from it. There’s plenty of information on the web about juicing healthily, and using juicing as part of a balanced diet, so please do some research.
- Fast and really easy to use
- Tricky to clean
- Juicing isn’t always as healthy as you think