If you've ever been to one of my classes, chances are you've seen me drinking green juice. I get a lot of questions about the juice: Did you make it? What's in it? Does it taste good? I thought I'd start out 2013 by telling everything you need to know to get started juicing. Juicing is one of my favorite healthy habits. It's delicious and it provides so many food-based vitamins and minerals, provides excellent hydration, oxygenates the body, is an excellent diuretic, facilitates elimination, and some studies have shown it even can help prevent or reverse disease. In yogic terms, fresh juice provides prana - life energy.
People often ask me what is the difference between juices and smoothies. Juices are made in juicers which remove the pulp, while smoothies are made in blenders and include the pulp. Both are beneficial in different ways. Smoothies contain fiber and are more filling. Juices do not contain fiber, so ounce per ounce, they are more nutrient dense.
I like to make a double batch of juice in the morning before I leave the house. I drink the first serving as an early breakfast and save the second serving for an afternoon snack. Each serving is between 16-20 ounces.
The Juicer Most home juicers contain the same type of components. The base houses the motor. On top of that sits one or two plastic pieces that contain the juice as it's being extracted. Inside that plastic area will be a perforated metal bowl-shaped piece that actually extracts the juice. The pusher pushes the produce down the feeder. The juicer will also have a bin to catch the pulp and possibly a small pitcher to catch the juice. If there's no pitcher you can juice into your own container.
What to Juice Well, you can juice just about anything! The idea with green juices is to use mostly vegetables for maximum nutrition. Juicing a bunch of fruit may make a delicious juice, but it will be full of sugar.
My base recipe (for a double batch) is two cucumbers, eight organic celery stalks, and two organic apples. The apples add just a bit of sweetness that makes the flavor more pleasing to most people. Depending on what's in season, I also add 3-4 of the following:
- carrot greens
- beet greens
- kohlrabi greens
- swiss chard
- collard greens
- mustard greens
- broccoli or cauliflower stems
How to Juice I lay out and wash everything I'm planning to juice. I take stickers off the produce and peel the cucumbers because I buy conventionally grown (not organic). I'll save the debate about conventionally grown vs. organically grown for another day ;)
Then I cut the produce down just enough so that it will easily fit through the juicer's feeder. Basically I cut the celery in half and I quarter the apples. You don't have to worry about seeds or peels - the juicer will just spit them out with the pulp. To make clean-up easier, I like to use a produce bag from the grocery store as a liner for the pulp bin.
The actual juicing is easy: just put all the produce through the feeder and use the pusher to push it down. Make sure you have the pitcher or your own container in place to catch the juice! I made that mistake the first time. And make sure not to over-stuff the feeder or it can get stuck.
Once you're done juicing all your veggies, you can use my money-saving trick: take the liner bag out of the pulp bin and feed all the pulp back through the juicer again. You'd be surprised how much juice comes out!
How to Serve the Juice When the juice is done, you'll probably notice a good amount of foam on the surface. It's a good idea to skim that off. Some juicer pitchers come with a skimmer lid and some don't. If your juicer has one, great! If not, just use a big kitchen spoon to hold the foam back as you pour the juice into your container.
I like to serve my juice in 24 ounce mason jars. The lids screw on tightly, which is great for transporting the juice and for storing the second serving in the fridge. All the juice should be consumed the same day you make it.
I think that covers all the basics to help you get started! If you'd like more information about juicing, you might check out Kris Carr's excellent book Crazy Sexy Diet. That's where I learned everything I know about juicing. In fact, you're welcome to borrow my copy. Just send me a note.
Did I leave anything out? If you have any questions, please leave me a Comment below. I'm happy to answer any questions and help you get started :)
Here's to a happy and healthy 2013!
Lots and lots of love, Zelinda