There are a number of benefits to drinking cold-pressed raw juice. It can help get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, increase energy levels and maintain a healthy body weight. Juicing can also assist with the prevention and treatment of health conditions or other ailments.
I have been hooked on juicing ever since I started a few years ago, drinking a cup of juice every morning before breakfast. I prefer to make it myself rather than buying it because it is more cost effective and I like having control over the ingredients (I also like that my kids try to help out while munching on fresh vegetables!). But, as a full time working parent I simply don't have time to make fresh juice each morning.
Here are my top five tips for making great tasting juice, efficiently and effectively.
1. Invest in a masticating juicer that's right for you
Masticating juicers have a gear (or an auger) that rotates slowly to maximize the release of juice and nutrients. Centrifugal juicing machines operate at high speeds which causes heat, killing enzymes.
The Norwalk is a top of the line, commercial grade juicer that easy to use once you get the hang of it, and the juice it makes tastes really good (I find it less pulpy and gritty compared to juice from other brands of juicers). The Champion 2000+ Juicer and Omega masticating juicers are also great and much more reasonably priced (to the tune of about $2,000 less than the Norwalk). These juicing machine are multi-functional - they can be used to make things like baby food, nut butters, ice cream, sherbets, fruit sauces and smoothies!
2. Use enough vegetables to make juice for at least a week (or up to a month), storing it in airtight containers
With all of the prep and clean-up involved, juicing can be time consuming, especially if you are preparing enough for more than one person to drink on a daily basis. Try blocking off a few hours in your schedule once a week or each month to make juice (the amount of juice you make will depend on your freezer space). I like to make a whole month's worth of juice at a time and freeze it in Lifefactory 22 oz glass bottles which have protective silicon sleeves to help prevent breaking. Check out the recipe below to get an idea of how many fruits and vegetables are needed for juicing in bulk.
3. Use high quality, fresh and organic fruits and vegetables and prep accordingly
Fill your sink with cold water and a cup of organic apple cider vinegar, then let your fruits and veggies soak for about half an hour. Cleaning your produce with apple cider vinegar is particularly important if you are using organic vegetables to help get rid of germs and bugs, etc. Depending on the instructions for your juicer, you may need to peel certain vegetables or cut the stems or leafy parts off and discard. Cut all of the fruits and vegetables into appropriate sized pieces and throw out all of the bad pieces. Keep a few dish cloths and towels close by in case things get messy while you are juicing - it's easier if you clean up as you go!
4. Mix it up by using a variety of fruits and vegetables and different recipes
Try changing your recipes from one container of juice to the next. There are a number of great recipe books on the market, including ones that contain recipes to help treat specific health conditions and other ailments. I like Norman Walker's Fresh Vegetables and Fruit Juices and Siegfried Gursche's Juicing for the Health of It.
5. Make the juice easier to drink and digest
Depending on the fruits and vegetables you use and your preference in terms of texture and taste, you may find a batch of juice to be thicker, pulpier or more bitter tasting than you might like. Here are are a few ways to help with this and to make juice easier on your system to digest.
- Get rid of excess pulp: Use a small strainer when you pour the juice into your storage containers and when you pour juice into your cup.
- Sweeten your juice without adding sugar: Juicing with vegetables rather than fruit is generally recommended because of the nutritional value (vegetables typically contain less sugar than fruit). Adding extra carrots can help sweeten juice naturally, but you could also add a cored apple or two if you really need to (Note: apple seeds contain cyanide!).
- Make juice and greens easier to digest: Drinking juice at room temperature can make it easier on your system, but if you are having trouble digesting green juice or smoothies check out @YOGUE's article for some helpful tips. Adding more carrots to your juice is a great way to add flavour while reducing the amount of greens, and carrots tend to be less expensive and yield more juice than other vegetables (plus they are super healthy!).
The recipe below makes enough juice to fill about 12- 22 oz bottles. I find that it usually makes enough juice for one month if two people drink approximately 150 ml or 5 oz every day. This recipe takes about two hours start to finish, including prep and clean-up.
25 pounds of carrots (one 25 pound bag, or 5 bags of 5 pounds each)
5 large bunches of celery
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of mint or cilantro
1 bunch of kale
2 bunches of spinach
1 clove of garlic
piece of ginger to taste.
Keep in mind that the time commitment and exact amount of fruits and vegetables you need will differ depending on the type of juicing machine you are using. This usually takes more two hours using my Norwalk juicer from the time I start prepping my veggies to the when I've finished cleaning up.
If you're looking for the best juicing machine for you and your family, check out How to Choose a Juicer, According to Science – 12 Factors to Consider.