Juicing Tips for Beginners

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Juicing is a simple and efficient way to get the powerful nutrition of natural fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

The USDA recommends people consume 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily (based on 2,000 calories diet). If you don’t eat this recommended amount, then adding juice made from fruits and vegetables to your eating plan can help fill the gap.

We put together a list of juicing tips for beginners. Even if you have been juicing for a while you might pick up a couple of helpful tips.

How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

All produce must be washed, even if it is to be peeled. Contaminants such as dirt and bacteria can be transferred from the peel to the inside of the fruit, vegetable or herb.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after washing produce.
  • Clean countertops, cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water.
  • Examine produce and cut away damaged or bruised areas.
  • Under running water rub produce with your hands to remove exterior contaminants.
  • A vegetable brush can also be used for fruits and vegetables that have a hard rind or firm skin (apple, potato, cucumber, melon). Do not use bleach or dish soap solutions as they can become absorbed or trapped in the pores of the fruits and vegetables. 
  • Dry produce with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.

[Sources: FDA and Colorado State Extension (Zander and Bunning)]

Can baking soda remove pesticides?

The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry published a study comparing the effectiveness of Clorox, baking soda solution and tap water in removing pesticide residues from apples.

The pesticides applied to the apples were thiabendazole and phosmet. Apples containing thiabendazole and phosmet were immersed in a 10mg/mL* baking soda solution and rinsed using freshwater. It took 12 and 15 minutes to completely remove the thiabendazole and phosmet surface residues respectively. However, it was not entirely effective in removing residues inside the apple peel. 

The same test was applied using water alone and Clorox Bleach. The results showed that baking soda and water is more effective in removing the pesticides, thiabendazole and phosmet, from the apple surface, than using water alone or Clorox Bleach.

*The concentration used was about one teaspoon of baking soda per cup of water. 

green spinach leaves in ceramic bowl on wooden tabletop

How to Prepare Produce for Juicing

Produce should be prepped before being placed in the chute. Some people chop celery to ensure the tough strands don’t clog the juicer while others feed the stalk into the chute. 

Produce with hard seeds or pits should always be removed before juicing, as they have trace amounts of compounds that can be dangerous and potentially toxic.  Always remove the peel of citrus fruits, kiwi, produce that has been waxed or those with hard or edible skins.

Some people prepare their produce the day before they make juice. They wash, pre-cut produce such as carrots, beets, pineapple, store it in glass jars or Ziploc bags and refrigerate. Sometimes I juice the night before and place the juice in these glass containers. If you store juice in a container be sure to fill it to the top so there is little to no air. Also, make sure the cap is on tight.

helpful tips written on chalkbaord
  • Core apples
  • Peel skin from ginger
  • Peel garlic
  • Juice only leaves of parsley and mint (not stems)
  • Remove the stem of bell pepper and zucchini
  • Leafy tops of celery can be juiced
  • Cucumbers that are not waxed don’t need to be peeled
  • Cilantro stems and leaves can be juiced
  • Soft produce will process easier if it is refrigerated prior to juicing
  • Cut carrots lengthwise if they are thick

Juice Recipe Builder  

Use a variety of ingredients

Although you will have favorite juice recipes, don't forget to vary the ingredients and develop additional juice formulas. This ensures that you are consuming a variety of nutrients.  Also, you won’t get burned out and decide to stop juicing.

Mix fruits and vegetables 

It is important to be aware of the portion size and calorie count of the produce you juice. If you are juicing to add more nutrition to your diet, make sure your juice has more vegetables than fruits. When I combine fruits and vegetables I only have one serving of sugary fruit and vegetables (lemons and limes don’t count).

If you want to juice but are concerned about the carbohydrate intake, then consider juicing vegetables that have a low net carb value.  

What not to juice

While it may seem like you can juice almost anything, there are a few items that should not be juiced. Foods with a low water content do not juice well. Coconut and grains, while delicious, do not yield satisfying juice. Avocado, banana, and eggplant also do not juice well.

Centrifugal juicer with apples, grapes, oranges, kiwi

Fruits 

When juicing, the natural sugars are separated from the fiber. Juice made solely with fruits is absorbed very quickly and elevates blood sugar quickly. This results in a large release of insulin from the pancreas, which then causes a fast drop in blood sugar.

Even though citrus fruits can be a bit time consuming to prepare for juicing, it is worth it because they are delicious and loaded with essential vitamins. Adding a squeeze of lime, lemon, orange, or grapefruit wedges to your finished juice enhances the flavor, and adds even more vitamins and nutrients to your juice.

Fresh green kale in white ceramic bowl. Top view. Selective focus.

Vegetables

Juice containing only green vegetables is usually lower in sugar and calories than fruits. Leafy greens are terrific foods to juice as they contain important nutrients. The bitter taste of the greens can be lessened by adding a small amount of lemon.

It’s a good idea to rotate your leafy greens. Some people rotate daily, weekly or every couple of weeks. This is a well-written article on why and how to rotate leafy greens.  

fresh basil parsley mint herbs in garden

Herbs

Herbs like mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil contain important trace minerals and are healthy. They are also delicious and can be juiced just like other greens. Since they have a powerful flavor they are best used in moderation.

Other add-ons  

  • Ginger  (I only use a ½ inch)
  • Jalapeno
  • Turmeric

Juicing Your Produce

The Omega NC800-NC900 User Manual suggests alternating soft (low speed) and hard (high speed) items beginning with the soft item. This helps clean out the residue of the less firm produce. The following is an example of this process.

  • High water content - celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce (low speed)
  • Soft fruits or vegetables such as melons, grapes, mangoes, tomatoes. (low speed)
  • Herbs and leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach)
  • Ginger, other add-ons
  • Harder produce such as apples, carrots, beets (high speed)
  • Lemons, limes
  • Celery
  • Leafy greens
  • Apples, carrots, beets

Juicing Tips for Specific Foods

  • Insert thinner part of carrot first
  • Insert stems of leafy greens first
  • Juice small quantities of wheatgrass
  • Ways to juice leafy greens
  1. Wrap them to form a bundle and juice using low speed.  
  2. Put them between 2 ingredients and juice at low speed

Getting the Most Out of Your Juice

Drink juice immediately

When produce is cut, the cell wall is disrupted. The cells inside the plant are exposed to oxygen in the air. This produces chemical and biochemical reactions one of which is oxidation. When oxidation occurs, there is a loss of nutritional value and sometimes browning. Therefore, the greatest nutritional benefits of juice are realized if it is consumed immediately after making it. [1]

Never let your juice get warm, or it may attract bacteria. If a slow masticating juicer or twin gear juicer is used, juice can be stored in an airtight container (fill it to the top) in a refrigerator for up to 48 hours.  Juice from a centrifugal juicer can only last up to 24 hours in a refrigerator.

Should I drink green juice on an empty stomach?

Many internet articles claim green juice should be consumed on an empty stomach in the morning. Sometimes they tell you why and sometimes not. The most common rationale given is that if there is no food in your stomach, then the nutrients will be fully digested and absorbed quickly. Conversely, if you drink it before or with meals, it won’t be properly digested and all the nutrients won’t be absorbed. Although this makes sense, I haven’t been able to find scientific evidence to support this.

Fruit juice and bedtime

Consuming fruits before bedtime can cause a lot of sugar to be released which then leads to an increase in energy. Ideally, you’ll want your body to slow down when you are getting ready to go to bed.

Use the pulp elsewhere

 Leftover pulp from juicing can be used in a variety of ways. A few examples are adding to soup and baked goods. We have an article on the many ways to use leftover pulp.

Green smoothie with celery, cucumber, spinach, apple and lemon

Combining juicing and blending

If you want your diet to include the fiber from produce, you can juice the vegetables and add that juice to the blender containing fruits.

The fiber content is beneficial because it regulates digestion and you won’t be as apt to overeat since will feel full longer. Additionally, dietary fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease. In a Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals, researchers concluded that fiber, independent of fat intake was an important dietary component for preventing coronary disease.

Using Your Juicer

Only use the plunger that comes with your juicer

Almost all juicers come with a plunger or pusher. They are designed to fit the precise make and model of juicer they come with and are not interchangeable. Using the wrong plunger can break the plunger, or even break your juicer. To extract the most juice, push the plunger down slowly.

Line the pulp container

Cleanup will be a lot easier if you put a plastic grocery bag (if you are going to discard the pulp) or wrap (if you are going to use it in other foods) in the collection bin of the juicer. After the produce is juiced, the bag can be discarded or the pulp in the wrap can be placed in a container for future use.

Even though citrus fruits can be a bit time consuming to prepare for juicing, it is worth it because they are delicious and loaded with essential vitamins. Adding a squeeze of lime, lemon, orange, or grapefruit wedges to your finished juice enhances the flavor, and adds even more vitamins and nutrients to your juice. We have a list of fruits and vegetables that are great to juice.

Clean your juicer right away

Juicers can get stained, and dried pulp and plant fibers can be extremely difficult to remove. By cleaning your juicer right away, or at least soaking the parts in water, you can prevent later problems with the machine and keep it in peak condition. Read the use and care manual to determine which parts are dishwasher safe.

Centrifugal vs Masticating Juicers

Electric juicer on the wooden table. 3D rendering

A centrifugal juicer has a mesh filter basket that is attached to the motor coupling. When ingredients pushed down the chute, they are forced against the rapidly spinning basket. The small blades on the bottom of the basket cut and process the fruits and vegetables. The juice goes through the small holes in the basket and into the juice pitcher. The mesh screen filters the pulp which then falls into the pulp container.

Masticating juicer making carrot juice

Masticating juicers are also referred to as slow, press, or single gear juicers. They have a rotating gear (auger) and a part (often shaped like a cone) that contains a screen (no blade). The auger gently chews, grinds and slowly squeezes the produce as it comes through the chute.  Juice goes through the tiny holes in the screen and into the juice pitcher. The pulp is pushed into a separate container.

Fiber is broken down more thoroughly when a masticating juicer is used. This, in turn, releases more nutrients into the juice.Here is a brief comparison of centrifugal and masticating juicers.

Feature

Centrifugal

Masticating

Process

Chews, grinds

Cuts

Speed

Fast

Slow

Noise

More

Less

Versatility

Processor only

Processor or grinder; can make peanut butter, almond milk

Cost

Cheaper

More expensive

Conclusion

Hopefully, these juicing tips will make preparing and juicing produce easier. Juicing is a great way to save time, improve your health, and explore your own creativity as you discover the juice recipes that work best for your schedule and your body.

Updated March 6, 2020