During some recent conversations with friends and family, the subject of Blender vs. Juicer came up. I quickly realized that the marketing teams at major blender makers were doing an amazing job of blurring the lines between juices and smoothies. It may seem like an extremely trivial point to some but the differences in the final output of the products are major. There are amazing benefits of both juicing and healthy smoothies, but they both have different dietary purposes.
Let’s Define A Juicer and A Blender
The first thing we need to do is figure out is what the difference is between a “juicer” and a “blender.” Here are a couple definitions from Merriam-Webster to clarify the difference between them.
juicer : an appliance for extracting juice from fruit and vegetables.
blender : an electric kitchen machine that is used to cut food and ice into very small pieces and to make soft foods (such as fruits) into a liquid
While I am putting the definitions of words, I would like to add one more, “extract.” I will get into this one in a bit.
extract : to withdraw (as a juice or fraction) by physical or chemical process
These definitions make it extremely easy to decide if an appliance will make the final product a liquid that you are looking for! Let’s just use carrots as our example; vegetable to juice for the sake of this post. To be able to extract juice from a carrot, the machine would need to extract the juice from the carrot and separate it from the pulp of the carrot. This can only be done if the juice and the pulp are separated into separate containers. A juicer is designed to do this; it has a receptacle for the pulp (as seen below) and a separate discharge for the extracted juice.
A blender or smoothie maker has no way to separate the juice from the pulp and can therefore not make “juice.” This machine basically turns the fruits or vegetables into a puree with a high speed blade that chops it over and over at a very high speed. It somewhat liquefies the fruit or vegetable into what some people consider a “juice like consistency.” This is where the marketing departments of some major blender makers step in and try to trick you with their carefully crafted jargon.
It’s all Liquidy, So Isn’t It a Juice??
Why would any of this matter if a juicer and blender both make something that could be considered a juice like consistency? The answer lies in the micro-nutrients. I am going to try to explain this as best I can, so bear with me here for a minute!
Micro-nutrients are the vitamins and minerals contained in fruits and vegetables. These micro-nutrients are vital to your health and are usually fairly neglected in today’s American diet thanks to lots of highly processed foods. (One more definition of micro-nutrient)
If your main goal is to boost your micro-nutrient (vitamin & mineral) intake, you can do so in a couple ways. One great way is by juicing, I don’t mean smoothies, I mean actual juicing by means of extraction (aka…a Juicer). So why wouldn’t you get the same amount of micro-nutrients from a serving of juice as you would the same sized fruit or vegetable smoothie? Let me explain…
Juicing Is A Micro-Nutrient Boost
When you juice, you separate the juice from the pulp. This highly concentrates the micro-nutrients in the extracted juice and removes the part that quickly fills you up (the pulp). So let’s take an 8 ounce cup of carrot juice and an 8 ounce cup of carrot smoothie as an example. The carrot juice takes about 8 medium carrots to get the 8 ounces. This means that you are getting the benefit of the micro-nutrients from 8 carrots without having to eat 8 whole carrots and get stuffed full with carrots. You still have room to eat other healthy and nutritious food to balance out your diet.
The carrot smoothie takes about 2 medium carrots to get the 8 ounces. You are now getting the micro-nutrients from only 2 carrots before you start to feel a little more full and don’t feel like eating as much other nutritious food.
You might be thinking…but wait, the smoothie helps me out by filling me up so I don’t eat as much other not so healthy food. You are absolutely correct and if your goal is to fill yourself up with a healthy alternative then smoothies are probably a good idea for you. They just don’t pack the same micro-nutrient punch as the actual juice per cup.
If your goal is to boost your micro-nutrient intake without filling yourself up then you have probably figured out that juicing is the way you want to go.
Comparing Apple Juice to Orange Smoothies
I am not here to tell you one is better than the other because they both have their distinct advantages as I’ve experienced for myself lately. What you want really depends on what your goal is. Comparing a juicer and a blender is literally like comparing apples to oranges, i.e. apple juice and orange smoothie! They are distinctly different.
So here is a quick rundown of the purpose of each machine to help you decide what you need. Do not be fooled by the marketing departments into thinking that one machine will do either, because it’s just not true.
Juicer: If you are looking for a micro-nutrient boost to supplement your normal diet without filling yourself up and maybe need to detox and clean out your system, then a juicer is for you.
Blender/Smoothie Maker : If you are looking for a healthy option that will fill you up so you don’t want to eat as much, yet get the benefits of fruits and vegetables, then you are wanting a blender or smoothie maker.
What We Use
We have both, a Juicer and a Blender. We use them each quite a bit as you might be able to tell from some of our posts in our Liquid Power section. Here are the details on our equipment.
Our juicer is a Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor. This juicer makes quick work of the fresh fruits and vegetables that we put into it. We try our best to stick with a 80% vegetable/20% fruit juice ratio.
Our blender is a BLENDTEC Classic Blender, Wildside Jar. It’s a high speed blender which will obliterate almost anything you put into it and turn it into a perfect smoothie. It makes other things also such as soups and nut milks, etc…