Hey there friends!
How are you doing? Happy Family Day long weekend to everyone who has today off. I know several people who are away in tropical destinations right now, and although I’m incredibly jealous, I’m also quite content with a lazy day at home! After my workout this morning I’m planning to chef up some magic in the kitchen and I can’t wait to share the recipes with you (if they turn out, that is!)
Last Monday I kicked off my Juicy Tidbits series, and today I’ve got the second installment for you. This one’s all about the equipment you need (and don’t need) for making delicious, fresh juices.
Let’s start with perhaps the biggest question of them all: Do you NEED to have a juicer?
Nope! A high-powered blender can do just the trick. My Vitamix is used almost daily (and multiple times each day during the summer months) and is capable of both juices and smoothies. If you want to juice but absolutely can’t stand the pulp and you don’t want to fork over money for a juicer, you can easily make a green juice with a Vitamix and a pair of tights (or a nut milk bag, or any other sort of very fine mesh material). You’ll just need to add a little water to the jug to get things moving.
What types of juicers are there?
Just like blenders, not all juicers are created equal. There’s the centrifugal type, which as the name suggests, spins all your juicing produce in a circle at a super high speed as the juice is extracted.
Then there’s the masticating juicer. Masticating is exactly what your teeth are doing when you chew food – you’re breaking it down into smaller parts with the help of the digestive enzymes found in saliva. Similarly, a masticating juicer ‘chews’ the produce you feed into it, and spits out the nutrient-rich juice. Your juicing ingredients become ground into a pulp thanks to a bunch of gears inside the juicer. Think of the gears as the juicer’s teeth. Chomp chomp chomp. 😉
What juicer should I use?
Masticating juicers are said to be the better choice because they don’t create as much friction and heat as the centrifugal juicer. Heat reduces the potency and power of the live enzymes in your juice, so if you’re really looking for maximum benefits, masticating juicers are a good choice. But…..(yes, there’s always a catch) they also tend to come with a higher price tag and take longer to extract juice.
What do I have? A centrifugal juicer. It’s the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer Deluxe and I got it barely used on Kijiji for $60 (more than half the original price). It does a great job, it’s relatively easy to clean, and I can have a juice made and ready to drink in less than 5 minutes. Overall, I’m totally happy with it.
What about using a blender?
Yep, totally possible. As I said above, prior to buying my juicer I was using my Vitamix and straining the pulp out of the juice with either a pair of tights or a fine mesh strainer and the back of a spoon. I’m told that nut milk bags work equally as well – just make sure you clean them really really thoroughly or else you’ll have some nasty stains to deal with. If you’ve got a similarly high-powered blender, such as a Blendtec, you can totally make your green juice with it as well. One advantage to using a blender rather than a juicer is that you can throw softer items into your concoction, but more on that in Juicy Tidbits 103.
Do I have to strain my blended juice?
Nope! I’ve found that if I leave my Vitamix spinning for long enough, the pulp gets so broken down that I don’t feel the need to strain it. (I’ll even prove this to you in an upcoming post!) This does however, create heat which decreases the potency of the nutrients. (Just like a centrifugal juicer, all that spinning means friction!) If you really can’t stand pulp and want to preserve as many enzymes as possible, I’d recommend doing only as much blending as you need to, then straining to separate the pulp from the juice.
Ok, it’s recipe time! Below is one of my go-to basic green juice recipes. Of course, you can tweak it with whatever greens you like. If you’re brand new to juicing, you may want to stir in a little stevia or other natural sweetener at the end. I always like a big squeeze of lemon for some extra tartness, but taste and add as you go.
Basic Green Juice
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Keywords: blender raw no-cook beverage snack dairy-free gluten-free low-fat nut-free vegan vegetarian kale vegetables
Ingredients (1 serving)
- 1 seedless English cucumber
- 1 big handful kale
- 1 big handful spinach
- ¼ cup loosely packed chopped parsley
- 1 ripe pear
- lemon juice, to taste
- stevia (added afterwards if desired)
- Set up your juicer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and switch it on.
- Add all of the ingredients, alternating a bit of each at a time until everything is juiced.
- I recommend bunching the leafy greens into a tight ball, then pushing them down with a more solid fruit or veggie to help them pass through easier.
- When finished, pour the juice into a tall glass and enjoy, or store it in an air-tight mason jar in the fridge. Consume within 8 hours for optimal freshness.
- Halve all quantities in the ingredients list above.
- Add the ingredients to the blender jug, starting with the greens in the bottom, with a small amount of water to get things moving. Add more water only if needed and blend until smooth.
- If you would like to strain the pulp from the juice, use a nut milk bag, pair of tights, or a fine mesh strainer and the back of a spoon to do so.
- Alternatively, leave the blender running for longer. This will help to further break down the pulp.
- Enjoy immediately or seal in an air-tight container and consume within 8 hours for optimal freshness.
Alright, that’s all for this Juicy Tidbit! Now I want to hear from you!
- Do you have a juicer? What brand do you have and what has your experience been like so far?
- Pulp or no pulp – how do you like your juice? I wouldn’t go near orange juice that wasn’t pulp-free as a kid, and although I’ll tolerate it now, I still prefer my beverages to be without floaty things!