As I’ve mentioned we recently got a juicer! The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor, to be exact. In addition to a comprehensive review of the juicer we bought, I also wanted to do a post on Juicing 101. I hope to answer all of your questions about juicing, nutritional benefits, the process of juicing, and I’ve even included a few recipes!
Why did you buy a juicer?
Let me be super clear – I did not buy a juicer or start drinking juice to start some DIY juice cleanse. We drink juice once a day for the health and nutritional benefits. Weight loss is a secondary goal for us as well. At >200 calories per juice we’re finding it’s a great way to both control our caloric intake as well as nutritionally benefit from raw fruits and veggies.
Why is juicing so good for you?
Like all fresh produce, the enzymes, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants are at their highest when they are consumed raw. Juicing takes any produce item and extracts the juice without reducing the nutritional benefits (like heating, cooking, and processing can do). Drinking juice directly is also super good for you because the body spends less time digesting all of the fiber and pulp so all of the good stuff (enzymes, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants) are absorbed into the body much quicker. Juicing is also great because it allows you to consume your daily recommended serving(s) of fruits and veggies in a simple, yet delicious, way.
Isn’t juice super high in sugar because of all the fruit?
Juicing is all about balance. If you juice nothing but fruits, you’re juice will be very high in sugar. I use the ratio of 3 veggies to 1 fruit when I make juice. One thing I found to be really helpful was to print out a chart of the nutritional information of all fruits and vegetables to monitor the sugar levels. The FDA has some really great charts that I found and use often: raw vegetable nutritional information (PDF) and raw fruit nutritional information (PDF).
When should I be drinking juice?
We drink juice every morning for breakfast. You can drink juice at any time though as a meal or a snack. I have heard that for weight loss purposes, folks have swapped one meal per day with juice.
What’s the deal with juice cleanses?
The following is purely just my opinion – Juice cleanses are fad crash diets. And like fad crash diets, do not work. The trend seems to be that people indulge for a period of time (like during the holidays) then do a juice cleanse to “get back on track.” I don’t personally believe this works at all and probably only has created a juice cleanse crutch in our culture where it’s ok to go crazy with heavy food because you can fall back on a juice diet. In the end it’s an intense restrictive diet and those just don’t work. I have heard horror stories about how severe it is on the body (digestively speaking) to replace every meal you eat with juice. Plus, they are super expensive (BPC‘s plans are like $60 per day and $200 for 3 days worth of juice. I’ve seen their juices at Whole Foods for like $9/bottle!). Want to read more? Three staffers over on Serious Eats did a BPC cleanse for three days and wrote up an interesting recap.
Won’t I be starving if I’m only drinking juice?
This really depends on your body and daily caloric intake. That said, I’m obviously not a doctor and only really know what has worked for me. Since we started drinking juice for breakfast I have found that I am perfectly full between breakfast and lunch. I have no idea why, usually I’m hungry an hour or so after a normal 300-400 calorie breakfast and the juice I’ve been making is 200 calories tops. It’s a surprise to me but I’ll take it!
How long does juice last?
I’ve done a lot of research on this and have been experimenting. The general consensus is that juice is best in nutrition and flavor immediately. Once juice is made it begins to break down, the flavors dull, and oxidization begins. That said, it’s not super convenient to drink my juice right away in most cases especially during the work week so I’ve been experimenting. So far I’ve found that if I make juice at 6:30AM, put it in the fridge while I get ready for work, bring it with me, and drink it when I get to work at 9AM, that the flavor is perfectly fine. My next experiment will be to try to see how juice holds up overnight.
What do I need to do to prep the produce for juicing?
This all depends on your juicer. At a minimum though I have a golden rule that if you can eat the rind of whatever you’re juicing (e.g. apple, cucumber, kiwi), you don’t have to remove it. If you wouldn’t eat the rind (e.g. grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, ginger), you should remove it. That said, you should be mindful of how whatever you’re juicing will affect the blade. For example, keeping the skin on a beet is fine in the juicer but since beets tend to be rough and hard, I try to trim them a little bit so that the wear and tear on the juicer blade is lessened.
What can I do with all the leftover produce pulp?
Essentially what you’re left with after juicing is fibrous, pulpy, and dry. In other words, pretty useless. That said, I have a hard time throwing the pulp away. Of course you can compost everything the remains after juicing. I’ve also read that you can add the pulp into quickbreads, soups, bread, muffins, etc. I haven’t done that yet. I have also heard that if you dehydrate the pulp you can make crackers from it. I found two great articles online about ideas for leftover pulp, you can check them out here and here.
Where can I find juice recipes?
Well, here of course! Now that I have a juicer I plan to post a lot of recipes. You can also do a simple Google search – there is already a ton of great recipes online. Also, if you want ideas directly from me you can check out the Pinterest group my friend Melissa (fellow juice enthusiast) created called Juicy Gossip where we share all of our favorite juicing recipes.
With that said, on to some recipes!
John and I have slightly different juice preferences – he likes sweet and basic, I prefer green juice with funkier ingredients. So here are two basic recipes I’ve been using that we both really like.
Recipe: The Husband
1 stalk of kale
1/3 english cucumber
1 cup baby carrots
1 knob of ginger (about 1 inch)
John’s juice blend took no time to go through the juicer.
Green and orange colored juices don’t combine to be the prettiest color but it sure does taste good!
Recipe: The Wife
1 stalk of kale
1/3 cup baby carrots
1 small beet
1 handful of mint
1 knob of ginger (about 1 inch)
Another super quick run through the juicer. My juice didn’t yield a full mason jar full like John’s did so I just added a bit of water.
I cannot get enough of this beautiful color!
If you have any more questions about juicing, just ask!
We’ve been making “The Husband” too! It’s one of our go-to juices. One of the interesting things we learned today is that if you leave the pith on a lemon when you juice it, it has the same effect as salt. That is, it really opens up the flavors of the veggies. We had a spinach, carrot, cucumber, celery, pear, ginger and lemon juice today and it tasted really bright and refreshing because of the pith.
On another note, it might be correlation and not causation, but I’m starting to think that having juice for breakfast every morning for the last two weeks has controlled my eczema. Without steroid cream, I don’t have any itchies on my legs for the first time in months.
Oooh, I’ll try that with the lemon. Good tip!
That’s amazing! I’ve noticed that John’s skin looks clearer as well. Incredible stuff.
We have been juicing for a while and love our brevel! Its fun experimenting with different combos. Not always tasty but worth trying lol
Definitely – it’s all about trial and error!
I got a juicer for my birthday and have loved it. With the horrible flu going around I juiced oranges and lemons for a punch of vitamin C… it was pretty pucker-inducing, next time I’d add an apple to soften it out, but overall really good. Thank you for all those tips! I am trying to figure out how to use the pulp, too.
I swear, juice is a huge reason why we haven’t gotten sick yet.
I haven’t decided if using the pulp would be worth it just yet – seems like flavorless mush but I might try it eventually.
Two questions. 1) How long does it take to juice something and 2) Can you do a big batch on say, Sunday night, and refrigerate five mason jars for the rest of the week? Or do you have to drink it immediately?
1) Depends on how much produce you juice but it actually process of putting the ingredients in the machine and juicing it all takes me 1-2 minutes.
2) I think I covered this but yeah, you have to drink it immediately. Unfortunately, it’s not a make-ahead item (save an hour or two).