This is a guest post by Dale Wettlaufer, the founder of Goodnature, and the inventor of the commercial cold press juicer.
Some of the things that nature has taught us about making the best tasting juice:
- Don’t squeeze too hard
- Don’t squeeze too fast
Although the natural tendency in a busy kitchen is to get things done as fast as possible, we have to resist the temptation to do #1 and #2 above. Here is why: The ideal method is to ease the juice out at the lowest pressure possible. True “juice” is held in the vacuoles which are like big bags of juice inside most plant cells. Generally speaking, if you cut the walls cleanly the juice will drain out under gravity with almost no help from a press.
In the making of wine, where there are more aficionados and experts than any other field I know of, the first, or “free run” juice is the most sought after, and used for the expensive wine that will carry the label of the maker. Most wine presses used today are careful not to use more than 30 psi (pounds per square inch) on the crushed grape mass. They have learned that bitter “notes” and bitter tannin flavors from the skins and seeds can intrude when the pressures get higher. They most often press slowly being careful not to exceed 30 psi. This takes longer than a fast, hard squeeze, but these winemakers are after quality more than quantity or speed.
Similarly, we have learned over time to not squeeze too hard either, and the last 40 years in the juice press business we have been adjusting our machines to reach the perfect pressures and speeds. If we squeeze too fast, the finely ground particles will turn into mush and squeeze through the press bags like gravy, making the juice murky. If we take our time the juice will be crystal clear.
Oils from the seeds and skins will be squeezed out if we press too hard, and the juice will be inferior. As proof of this fact, note that the Goodnature X-1 press (the foundation of many juice companies today), is capable of much higher hydraulic pressures, but we set it at the factory at a reduced pressure of 1800 psi in each cylinder, which translates to about 40 psi on the produce. We set the machine at this pressure simply because it makes the best tasting juice. You just don’t need more pressure than that. If we went with thicker bag layers and turned up the pressure we could produce more juice per hour but you might not want to drink it.
Take it easy man! That’s what nature has taught us. We listened.