Want to enjoy all the health benefits of loads of fruits and veggies without taking on all that bulk? Just juice it!
Many of us (myself included) find eating the recommended two whole fruits and three to four vegetables a day challenging. But transforming an entire stalk of celery ribs into a long, cool glass? Now we’re talking.
You don’t have to be a chemistry major to figure out which produce items are good for you because, basically, they all are. Experts advise selecting a good mix of different-colored fruits and vegetables to gain the goodness each delivers.
My neighbor Jim, a retired pharmacist, turned me onto juicing. Sure, I’d heard about it but I never paid it that much attention. He’s a big fan and said, right off the bat, that getting a specialty juicer appliance is much better than hauling out the old blender since it separates the bulk from the liquid.
Jim also recommended spending a few more bucks to get a large-capacity machine able to gobble up entire apples and peeled oranges. This saves prep time. I paid about $60 for a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro at our local big box store and couldn’t be happier with how simple it is to use and clean. The parts go in the dishwasher!
Juicers sell for as much as $400. Some models grind up the tough stuff: outer rinds, solid cores, and hard seeds.
There are three main kinds to choose from: slow juicers, centrifugal juicers, and citrus juicers. Slow juicers and centrifugal juicers work best for fruits and vegetables. As their name suggests, citrus juicers are designed to pulverize oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits with having to peel, segment or remove the seeds first.
A slow juicer typically features a narrow vertical chute that sends ingredients to a chamber where they are compressed by a rotating auger. The fresh juice squeezes out through a strainer into a pitcher as the pulp comes out another spout. Although time-consuming, the leisurely delivery system avoids losing nutrients to the heat generated by higher-speed machines.
A centrifugal juicer has a feed tube large enough to insert ingredients whole before grinding them up at a very high speed. The time saved may seem insignificant to some: about 7 seconds to process 100gm of kale in a centrifugal juicer compared to 60 seconds or more in a slow juicer.
The Good Housekeeping Institute shared 2020’s Top 9 Best Juicers:
- Best Overall Juicer: Breville Juice Fountain SL Cold Plus
- Best Value Juicer: Hamilton Beach Easy Clean Big Mouth 2-Speed Juice Extractor
- Best Juicer for Easy Cleanup: Hurom H101 Easy Clean Slow Juicer
- Most Stylish Juicer: Hurom HP Slow Juicer
- Fastest Juicer: Breville Juice Fountain Elite
- Best Juicer for Citrus: Smeg Citrus Juicer
- Most Versatile Juicer: Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer
- Smoothest-Running Juicer: Breville Big Squeeze Slow Juicer
- Easiest Juicer to Use: Hurom H-AI Slow Juicer
Be sure to empty and clean the strainer when you are processing a lot of items as well as when finished. Be careful not to touch the sharp grinding blades or damage them with too much scrubbing action.
Because a juicer removes most of the dietary fiber from the foods you run through it, you may want to add some pulp back before drinking or cooking with the juice.
Adding juice to soups, rice, pasta, and baking batters boosts the vitamins and minerals needed to keep our bodies running at peak performance.
Keep in mind that juice, no matter where it comes from, is a good supplement to a well-balanced diet. Most people still need to eat solid food, too, to keep the digestive tract lively. Juice from a juicer does provide soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and includes plant pectin and gums. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and includes plant cellulose and hemicellulose.
A smoothie is a blender drink that retains the insoluble fiber that aids digestion but can’t be absorbed by the body – it passes right on through to the other side (in a manner of speaking).
You say you have a perfectly good blender and don’t want to buy a juicer? No problem! Use a kitchen strainer or some cheesecloth or other material that lets liquids pass through while collecting the food solids. This technique requires a bit more labor peeling and chopping with less yield but it’s a good alternative with those with limited budgets – or counter space.
Drinking freshly-prepared juices has been shown to help detoxify the body and raise its pH level. Disease-carrying bacteria have a harder time flourishing in a more alkaline environment. My neighbor Jim says that he has more energy from downing his own concoctions.
Speaking of home-grown recipes, if you are new to juicing (as I am), ideas abound online. Check out these appetizing juices.
We are what we eat – and drink – so do yourself a favor and get your dietary daily allowances of fruits and vegetables from both their whole forms and squeezed into delicious and uber-nutritious juices. To your good health!