Where it went wrong

Of course you remember the juicer that I bought at Goodwill for $3.00 USD. But I didn’t tell you why.

Many moons ago, a good friend of mine at Microsoft had me over at her house before we were to go teach programming at a neighborhood volunteer center thingy. She had just bought a Binford TurboMaxiJuicer 20001 and wanted to try it out.

It was pretty cool! I’d never seen a juicer in action, let alone had juice fresh out of one. She dumped carrots, beets, apples, celery, pears, … I lost track. But what came out was sweet, delicious, fresh, and memorable.

So, here it was, about a couple of years ago, and Michele and I are browsing a Goodwill that was next to a restaurant where we’d just had a decent breakfast. We were in the market for some kind of furniture, but we always appreciate a good bargain.

So, hidden in a corner near the counter was this juicer, with a friendly-looking handwritten $3 sticker on top. I couldn’t resist. Michele looked askance, but I insisted. After all, if it was a dud, it really didn’t cost much to find out. The lady at the counter even plugged it in and ran it for a second to prove it worked.

So I hauled it on home. We had a few Things Of Produce in the refrigerator that might be juicable. I dropped them in. I really do like carrot juice, and we had a few of those.

It was not terribly pretty. The juicer juiced them carrots, all right, but unlike my friend’s juicer, the pulp was not disposed of as neatly into the pulp bucket thing. Rather, when I opened the unit to clean it, there were carrot guts everywhere. Plus, a few spoonfuls of carrot juice managed to sneak down the inside and pool around the counter. The separator basket (the thing with a thousand little sharks teeth at the bottom and wire mesh along the sides that turns carrots into carrot juice and carrot mush) was devilishly hard to clean.

So I put that juicer away in a cabinet for a while, and forgot about it.

Fast forward to about three weeks ago. Put in fast-forwarding tape recorder effects, if you like. Michele and I had recently renewed a Costco membership, and I discovered the existence of 10-pound bags of carrots. Alongside this discovery came the filtered memory of my possession of a juicer. Naturally, the two begged to be brought together.

I stuck the 10-pound bag of carrots in bottom of the pantry. They’re root vegetables, right? They should keep for a while in a cool, dark place. Hahahahahahano. They do not. I lost about a pound of carrots to some kind of weird black rotting thing. Fortunately, it didn’t spread, and most of the carrots were fine.

I started at 6:30. Separating orange carrots from carrots with non-orange parts. Cutting tips and ends off. Scrubbing them with a vegetable brush. Finally, at 7:00, I have eight pounds of carrots, ready for juicing.

There’s a dinner intermission.

At 8pm, I begin the juicing procedure. After 2 pounds of carrots, the pulp bin is full, and the motor sounds like it’s slowing down. So I stop, unplug it, disassemble the thing, swipe out the carrot guts, run them down the disposal, and pour the juice into a container. Then I reassemble it, plug it back in, and keep going.

Mind you, the carrots go in just fine, but I take care to push them in kind of slowly, because if I just jam them in, I wind up with mostly wet pulp and not a lot of juice.

This procedure repeats at the 4 pound, 6 pound, and finally 8 pound mark. I extracted nearly 2 quarts of very good looking and tasting carrot juice.

But it took me until about an hour to do this. So, one and a half hours of work, on a bag of carrots that cost about $4, to save about $3 from what a 2-quart bottle of carrot juice costs at the store (about $7).

It’s just not worth it.

P.S. Then, upon writing this blog post, I found out that my juicer had been recalled (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02041.html), so this was all done (unwittingly) at the risk of life and limb. No, thank you. I’ll risk cancer from the plastic bottle, instead.



1 Make and model not guaranteed accurate

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