That’s right. I was going to call this post “Minimalist Juicing” because you don’t need a juicer, but the above title won because I realized that the Vitamix isn’t exactly a minimalist piece of equipment.
You’ve probably seen plenty of bloggers writing about green juices they’ve made with their fancy juicers, and I’m not going to lie – I own one myself. But if budget is an issue and you’re trying to decide whether a blender or a juicer is going to be a better investment, don’t worry – you can totally make juices and smoothies with a really good high-powered blender.
I bought my Vitamix back in 2012 and use it almost daily. You may have heard about all the glorious things a Vitamix can create, including frozen desserts, dressings, soups, and even dough for baked goods, but I wanted to try making juice using a recipe of my own. For those of you that don’t like pulp, that’s where the pair of tights comes in. The process was simple, and the results delicious. Here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Pick your produce.
Some veggies will make your juice sour or bitter, whereas some will sweeten your brew. Carrots and apples, for instance, are naturally higher in sugars and therefore will produce a sweeter juice.
I like to start with a good base of celery juice. The younger Angela thought celery was a terrible vegetable, even when smothered in Cheez-Whiz or peanut butter and dotted with raisins a-la-ants-on-a-log. The more sophisticated me thinks ants on a log are a terrible idea, and that celery is a beautiful vegetable! It’s super good for us too – celery helps to reduce blood pressure, contains anti-cancer compounds, and also delivers a hefty dose of vitamins A, B, and C.
The micronutrients in celery in its solid state include magnesium, iron, sodium, phosphorous, iron, and potassium, and the breakdown of its fiber during the juicing process helps to make the nutrients more available for our bodies to utilize. I like to combine celery with cucumber because the two together are super refreshing, especially on a hot day.
Another green in my flavour-of-the-week mix is parsley, which contains a boatload of cancer-fighting and inflammation-combating phytonutrients. This is not just a garnish folks. There is plenty of vitamins A, B, C, and K to be found in parsley, as well as iron, folic acid, and chlorophyll. Oh, and to top it off, parsley is a natural breath freshener. No mints or gum? No probs – chew on a sprig of parsley instead!
Of course, I’ve got some dark leaves in there – kale and spinach are my faves and you can add about as much as you like of these. Spinach is sweeter, so if you’re into sweeter juices, I’d recommend that you go a little more spinach heavy.
Aside from apples, lemon is the only other fruit in this mix. You can add as much lemon juice as you like, depending on how tart you like your juices. Lemons have detoxifying properties and help to give fresh juices a sour twist, which I enjoy.
Here are the quantities of each ingredient in my recipe:
- 6 long stalks celery
- 2-3 apples (use 3 if you prefer your juice sweeter)
- 3 carrots
- 1 medium sized English cucumber
- 2 cups mixed greens (kale and spinach are my favourites)
- 1 cup very loosely packed parsley
- juice of 1 lemon, plus more if you like your juices tart
- 1 cup water
Step 2: Wash your produce and chop the most dense pieces.
Since we’re dealing with several members of the dirty dozen here, be sure to either buy organic and/or wash your fruits and veggies as thoroughly as possible. Don’t worry about chopping the parsley, spinach, or kale – just chuck them right in the Vitamix. Cut the cucumber, celery and carrots into chunks about 1 inch wide, and toss them in too. Core the apples, and throw them into the jug with a hefty squirt of lemon juice and 1 cup of water. You will likely have to add these things in batches because in their whole form, they won’t fit in a 64-oz Vitamix jug.
Step 3: Blend away!
With about 1/3 of your ingredients in the Vitamix jug, blend until smooth. Then add another 1/3 and blend, and follow with whatever is left.
If you’re having trouble getting the mixture to move, try pushing it down in the jug with a spoon (with the motor off), or add a little more water.
By the time you’re finished, you should have a nice gurgling green concoction that resembles swamp water.
If it looks like this, then you’ve done it right!
Step 4: Make your strainer.
NOTE: You totally don’t have to strain the juice if you don’t want to. There’s a ton of nutritional value in the fibre so if you’re cool with the smoothie-like consistency, you can stop right here, throw a straw in, and drink up. However, if you want it to be more juice like (ie sans pulp), here’s how to do it.
You’ll need an old pair of tights and a pair of scissors. I cut up a pair of older opaque tights and I’d recommend these instead of nylons because you’re going to be squeezing the crap out of them. Nylons might be a little too thin, and as a result, you could end up with holes, defeating the whole purpose of having a strainer.
Cut about 12 inches/1 foot off of one ‘leg’. If they’re footless ones, tie a knot near the bottom as shown below.
Step 5: Separate the juice from the pulp.
To do this, place the bottom end of your tights/strainer in a clean pitcher. Transfer the green mixture from the Vitamix jug into the top of your strainer, adding about 1-2 cups at a time. Use your hands to squeeze as much of the juice out of the tights as possible, leaving the pulp inside.
Continue adding the green mixture to the tights until you’ve emptied the Vitamix jug. By the time you’re finished squeezing, you should have at least 1 liter of juice in your pitcher. Taste it and add a little more lemon if desired, or stevia if you’re looking to make a sweeter juice.
Now you may be wondering, “so what do I do with all the pulp?” and I have several answers for you:
- Use it in omelettes for added fibre – simply whisk it into your eggy mixture, then pour it all into a frying pan and wait for it to set.
- Make veggie chips by pressing the pulp into a very thin layer on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle it with sea salt and black pepper, garlic powder, or whatever else you want to season it with. Then bake the pulp in the oven at 300F for around an hour. (If you have a dehydrator, use that instead.) Be sure to check on the oven occasionally, tearing the layer into ‘chips’ in order to create crispy edges and dry out all the wet spots. This works best if you get as much juice out of the pulp as possible before baking.
- Pulp can also be used in muffin recipes, although you might want to save this one for juices that are heavier in things like carrots and apples, rather than kale and celery.
This juice can be stored up to 1 day in the fridge, but enjoying it when it’s fresh will provide the greatest health benefits.
And there you have it! So tell me…
- Are you a green juice fan? What are your favourite blends?
- If you have a Vitamix (or other high-powered blender), have you tried making green juice? How did it turn out? What other blenders do the job?
Lastly, if you’re not really into juices but love smoothies, be sure to check out my 30 day smoothie challenge – 30 days, 30 smoothie recipes, and I can almost guarantee by the end you’ll be feeling a whole lot more energized!