If better health is at the forefront of your mind, then you may want to consider juicing as an addition to your daily mealtime regimen. Juicing can be a way to get more fruits and vegetables into your body without having to spend time cooking them in the kitchen.
People become juicers for many reasons. Some like to use a juicing fast to cleanse their system and launch a better health diet. Others use juicing as a way to shed pounds. Many people just use juicers to start implementing better foods into their diets.
Cooking your foods often destroys many of the nutrients and enzymes found in your food that improves your health. By using a juicing machine, you keep all of those healthful benefits intact.
Juicing even helps you maintain the great tasting qualities of your fruits and vegetables, without you having to add sugars or fattening additions to the food to make it edible to your tastebuds.
The process also saves you money, because buying pre-made juice is often very expensive. And you can make a meal off of a juice mixture!
Picking the Right Juicer
Before you can start juicing, you have to have a machine to do the work for you. There are manual, cheap plastic versions you can buy, but it’s highly recommended that you invest a little more into your options, because those will take you forever to get a small trickle of juice into your cup.
Juicers typically come in three main versions. There are manual juicers, like the one I described above that require a lot of work and arm strength in some cases, not to mention ample amount of time to extract the juice from your fruits and vegetables.
Some of the manual juicers are very lightweight, so you can’t put too much pressure on them. This means you won’t get to create larger batches of juice – you’ll have to stick to small quantities.
Instead of a manual juicer, you can consider buying a masticating or centrifugal juicer. Masticating juicers actually chew up the pulp, making it easier to extract the juice from the fruit or vegetables.
These are single gear juicers, and they work slowly. Some people enjoy the slow juice creation because whenever speed is involved, it means heat is typically a factor – and heat destroys some of the nutrients found in the fruits and vegetables.
The masticating juicers are quieter than the centrifugal juicers, due to their low speed, but many people prefer the centrifugal juicer to the other options. These juicers shred the fruits or vegetables and then spin and strain it, so you get more juice and less pulp.
These are high-speed machines, so the noise level might be a bit higher. However, the speed is faster, so the process is complete in less time, making noise less of an issue. If you get one of these machines, you’ll remove the pulp periodically if you’re making large batches of juice to store for future consumption.
Each type of juicer will have different results when it comes to the volume of juice it can put out. On average, juicers can turn one pound of fruits or vegetables into a standard, 8-ounce cup of juice, but this depends on the product you pick and the power of the juicer, too.
Choosing Perfect Juicing Foods
If you want to feel better and take better care of your body, then your juicing foods should be tailored toward that goal, because some foods are better for you (even in juice form) than others are.
You’ll need to look at your own health requirements and decide which recipes to use for your juicing. For instance, you might be diabetic and need to lower your intake of sugar. Or you might be anemic and need a raise in your iron levels.
For basic health, always think green. Look for foods that are in the vegetable family over the fruit family because you’ll get more health benefits for your body. Fruit has a lot of nature’s own blend of sugar and it can pack a health punch by raising your glucose rapidly.
But keep in mind that just because a food is a vegetable, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some sugar in it and some vegetables do contain more sugar despite the fact that they’re good for you.
Even though they contain beta-carotene that helps lower cancer risks, carrots are an example of vegetables that have a higher sugar count than other vegetables, such as cucumbers.
While green vegetables are very good for you, their juice can be difficult to swallow if you’re new to juicing. You’re going to want good recipes for these and then start slowly introducing them to your juicing routine.
You might have read that the minute you make any juice at home, you should go ahead and drink it. The reason behind this advice is because when fruits and vegetables are cut, they start to lose some of the nutritional punch that they pack.
Since the whole purpose behind juicing is a healthier way of eating for your body, you want to take full advantage of everything that these foods offer you, so enjoy them right after you finish juicing them whenever possible.
Because juicing requires time (and because that’s not a commodity you might have a lot of), you want to take steps to eliminate any part of the process that’s a time drain. Waiting until the last minute to gather your foods, get it sliced and diced and then juice it can take more time than you want it to take.
If you have to get up early and get your day going, the last thing you want to do is stand sleepy eyed in the kitchen chopping up food. To cut out this step, get everything ready before you need it. Scrub any residue from the soil from your vegetables, wash your fruit and get out the cutting board. Dice the foods up and it’ll be handy when you’re ready to go.
Remember that if you’re planning to use certain fruits like apples, they might turn brown if they’re cut and you don’t use them the minute you cut them up. They’re still okay to use, they’re just not as visually appealing.
Using your juicer for homemade juice is a nice treat, but unlike the less healthy store bought kind, you might end up with pulp in your glass. That’s not a problem unless you absolutely can’t stand to have pulp in your juice.
Pulp is actually good for you, but if you don’t like it, you don’t have to put up with having it in your glass. You can use a mesh strainer – but if your juicer has made the pulp fine, some of it’s still going to get through.
To make sure that the pulp is cut completely out, some people take an extra step of using a cloth material just for straining that catches every little bit of the pulp. This might be a good idea if you have kids who are picky about pulp and complain if the texture isn’t just right. And the softer your choice in fruits and vegetables, the thicker the juice will be.
Fruits make great tasting juice and you can experiment on your own to create a blend of fruit juices to delight your tastebuds. Plus, many fruits offer additional health benefits by giving you antioxidants.
Look for fruits that are berries like strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Also use cherries, apples and plums to give your body that additional health boost.
Finding Delicious Juicing Recipes
Everything that grows doesn’t belong in a juicer. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but will end up tasting horrid. Juicing isn’t the time to unleash your inner food artist if you aren’t familiar with what foods will taste good together.
You can buy a juicer recipe book (highly recommended) but you can also use the trial and error method. You’ll know what tastes good and which mixtures are mistakes. But since mistakes can be costly, use the following tips to create delicious tasting concoctions.
If you don’t like apples, then juicing isn’t suddenly the time to decide that you’ll like them in a juice. You want to start out by sticking with what you already know that you like. You can broaden your juicing horizons later.
And if you know you want the health benefits of apples, then you might try working it into a recipe where another fruit or vegetable taste overpowers it. So you still get the health rewards, without having to drink what tastes like straight apple juice.
If you’re going to make vegetable juices, leave off the more potent tasting ones until you’re prepared for the stronger flavor. Remember that you can mix your vegetables in the juicer with ice cubes, water and a small slice of fruit to give it a better taste.
We all have a tendency to be creatures of habit. We do this even when we’re trying to eat healthier – we’ll just keep on choosing the same healthy foods we’ve always eaten, but that can keep you locked on a certain food source and you’ll miss the wonder of trying new combinations if you juice with the same foods you’ve always used.
Don’t be afraid to make subtle changes. Many recipes advocate sticking with straight vegetable juice or straight fruit juice, but if you do that, you’ll miss out on some tasty concoctions.
Adding a little bit of water can help lessen the strength and thickness of fruits that are too thick as a juice for you to enjoy swallowing. If you do add water, measure it carefully so that you don’t overdo it.
Whatever recipe you use, keep in mind that there is what’s known as a “half rule.” For every pound of raw vegetables that you use, you’re only going to get about half of that in juice value.
Storing Your Juice Concoctions
For the best nutrients and the best taste, use whatever you create in the juicer right away. But considering how busy people are, quick consumption is not always an ideal solution. So if you can’t always drink the juice immediately, you should know a few tips on how to keep the liquid in a container that locks in freshness and as many health benefits as possible.
Foods change because of the process known as oxidizing. When enzymes in foods mix with oxygen, they turn brown. You can alter this process by storing the foods you’ve cut or chopped in water. This cuts off the full access to oxygen supply the foods would get out of the water.
Once the juice is made, keep it as fresh as possible by putting it into a container that you can’t see light through. This will prevent the juice from acquiring any exposure damage that it would get in a clear container.
For the best possible storage for your juice, keep it in something made of glass. One of the handiest solutions is to use brown tinted canning jars. Glass is much better than plastic for storing juices. If you need to, use tin foil or another dark paper to wrap the glass container in to keep out light.
Containers that let air in are bad news for storing juices so choose containers that keep the air out.
You can keep juices with a higher acidic level longer than juices with a lower acid count, but you shouldn’t go longer than a day and not use up the juice that you’ve made.
Cleaning and Caring for Your Juicer
Like any kitchen appliance, taking proper care of your juicer will help ensure that your machine creates great tasting juices and lasts a long time. The best juicers can be expensive, and you want to lengthen the longevity of your appliance.
Always read the instruction manual if this is the first time you’ve cleaned your juicer, since there’s a lot of variety among the different brands and models. Some require more work than others.
For optimal performance, you want to clean your juicer each time that you use it. This isn’t the kind of appliance you can get lazy with, because juice in general is a sticky mess if left out to harden.
The first step is to get all of the pulp out. If your juicer has a built in pulp container, you can clean that out, but you want to make sure that you check for pulp that may have escaped the container.
Take apart the removable parts and run them under water to rinse them free of any food debris. You can put the dishwasher safe pieces in the top of the dishwasher if you don’t want to hand wash them, but if you do, double check after the dishwasher cycle is complete to make sure it cleaned all of the crevices.
Gently wipe down any electric or motor parts to get rid of any residue or splash, but don’t expose these by submerging them in water.
Clean the blades with a soft brush to make sure that nothing is compromising the blades, but take caution when doing this step because it can be easy to cut your fingers if you’re not careful. Don’t put the pieces of this appliance together if any of them are wet or damp. Once you’ve done all these steps, your juicer is ready to use again!