Blenders and juicers are both popular kitchen appliances used for making delicious drinks and snacks. But is it possible to use a blender in place of a juicer to make fresh juices? Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between these two appliances to understand if and when it’s okay to use a blender for juicing.
How Blenders and Juicers Work
Blenders and juicers operate in different ways to process fruits and vegetables:
- Blenders use fast-spinning blades to finely chop and purée ingredients into smooth liquids or pastes.
- Juicers extract the liquid juice from produce, leaving behind separated pulp.
This difference in mechanism means you’ll get very different results depending on which appliance you use. Blenders create thicker drinks and smoothies containing all the fiber from produce. Juicers strain out the fiber, resulting in a thinner, clearer juice.
Benefits of Juicing vs. Blending
There are pros and cons to both juicing and blending:
Benefits of Juicing
- Juices tend to be lower in calories and higher in nutrients than blended drinks.
- The lack of fiber allows for quick nutrient absorption.
- Extracting only the juice can make it easier to consume large amounts of produce.
Benefits of Blending
- Blending retains all the fiber, which can promote gut health and fuller feeling.
- It’s easier to blend a wider variety of ingredients like nuts, seeds, yogurt, etc.
- Blending entire fruits and veggies allows you to consume more of the plant.
Neither method is inherently better or worse. Juicing offers more concentrated nutrients and easy digestion, while blending provides fuller nutrition and fiber.
Can You Juice in a Blender?
While blenders aren’t designed specifically for juicing, you can make juice-like blended drinks. Here are some tips:
- Use a high-speed blender for best results. Look for blenders with 700+ watts and sharp blades.
- Cut produce into small pieces before blending to maximize liquid extraction.
- Use a fine strainer or cheesecloth to filter out pulp for a smoother juice texture.
- Add minimal amounts of water to help blend the ingredients.
- Stick to juicy fruits like oranges, lemons, grapes, etc. rather than leafy greens.
You can certainly make a tasty blended beverage with the right fruits and veggies. But without an actual juicer, you won’t achieve the same smooth, pulp-free juice consistency and clarity.
Best Fruits and Veggies for Juicing in a Blender
Certain fruits and vegetables are ideal for “juicing” in a blender because they contain a lot of moisture:
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, chard, etc. tend to get chopped up when blended rather than releasing their juice. They’re better suited for juicers.
Tips for Juicing in a Blender
Follow these tips to get the most juice-like results when using a blender:
- Wash and chop produce into 1-2 inch chunks before adding to blender.
- Avoid cramming too much into the blender jar at once.
- Add a splash of water or mild juice to help liquefy ingredients.
- Pulse a few times to break things up before blending on high.
- Let the blender run for at least 30 seconds to fully extract liquid.
- Strain blended juice through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
- Press remaining pulp with a spoon to squeeze out more liquid.
- Store juice in airtight container in fridge for up to 72 hours.
Be patient with the blending and straining process. Getting the consistency of juiced produce will take more time and effort with a blender.
Juicing vs. Blending: Which is Healthier?
Both juicing and blending offer nutritional benefits. Here’s a comparison:
|Removes fiber from produce
|Retains all fiber
|May be slightly higher in vitamins and minerals
|Provides complete nutritional profile
|Tends to be lower in calories
|Can have more calories from fiber and pulp
|Higher glycemic index due to lack of fiber
|Fiber helps slow sugar absorption
|Less satiating due to lack of fiber
|More filling because of fiber content
For most people, blending strikes the best balance of easy digestion with complete fruit and vegetable nutrition. But both methods can be healthy parts of a balanced diet.
Can You Juice in a High-Powered Blender?
Blenders require a very powerful motor and sharp blades to effectively break down produce and extract juice. High-powered blenders like Vitamix, Blendtec, and Ninja blenders can achieve juicing results thanks to features like:
- Heavy-duty motors with 1,200+ watts
- High blade speeds of 20,000+ RPMs
- Durable blades made from stainless steel
- Vents for heat circulation
- Large, wide jar design
These commercial-grade blenders are your best bet if you want to “juice” in a blender. You’ll still need to strain the results, but can come closer to the mouthfeel of real extracted juices.
Juicing vs. Blending: Which Appliance Should You Buy?
If you’re deciding between a blender and juicer, consider what you’ll use it for most:
|Making pure juices and shots
|Smoothies, shakes, and chopped drinks
|Juices relatively quickly
|Requires blending time to break down fiber
|Thin, pulpy, filtered juice
|Smooth, thick liquid with fiber
|Pulp collection and screen washing
|Thorough rinsing of blender jar
In general, a quality juicer produces the best juice results. But a high-powered blender offers greater versatility for creatively blending anything. Choose based on your goals and budget!
FAQs About Juicing in a Blender
Why doesn’t juicing in a blender work well?
Blenders aren’t designed to separate juice from pulp the way juicers are. The blender blades chop and mix the ingredients rather than squeezing out the liquid. You’ll always end up with some pulp in a blended “juice.”
Can blender replace juicer?
Blenders can’t fully replace juicers, but you can use blender recipes to mimic juicing. Look for juice-like blended drinks made with very juicy fruits, a bit of water, and some straining. The texture won’t be quite the same though.
Is it better to juice or blend vegetables?
Juices made with mostly non-starchy, low-sugar vegetables are lower in calories than blended smoothies while still offering concentrated nutrients. But blending keeps valuable fiber intact. There are benefits to both methods.
What can I do with leftover juice pulp?
Some ideas for using up leftover pulp from juicing include: adding it to muffins, breads or crackers for moisture and fiber, mixing it into oatmeal or yogurt, dehydrating it for snacks, composting it, or repurposing it in new juices or smoothies.
The Bottom Line
While juicers are specially designed to extract juice from fruits and veggies, you can make thick juice-like blends by using a powerful blender. Look for produce with high water content, blend thoroughly, and strain well. The resulting nutrition and flavor won’t be exactly the same as true separated juices, but you can still make delicious drinks.
Invest in a quality juicer or blender based on your priorities. Juicers offer fast pure juice, while blenders provide versatility for countless needs. But in a pinch, a trusty blender can work for whipping up juice-inspired beverages at home.