Juicing is a simple, efficient, delicious way to get the powerful nutrition of natural fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. While juicing isn't difficult, there are definitely ways to make sure that you are juicing in the best way for the care of your juicer, and to get the greatest benefit for your health. Here are some of the best juicing tips for beginners.
Start With a Juicy Base
If you are new to juicing, it's good to remember to start any juice blend with a fruit or vegetable that contains a lot of liquid, to yield a lot of juice as a base. It's also best to start any recipe with the softest, most liquid fruit or vegetable, and then work up to harder, tougher produce. Working from soft to hard extracts the most liquid, allows your juicer to work efficiently, and reduces the need to pause and clean the filter.
Some good candidates for starting a juice recipe with are:
- Citrus fruits
- Romaine lettuce
Then you can follow with firmer, less juicy ingredients like:
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potato
Finish up with tougher vegetables like beets, ginger, butternut squash, or broccoli.
Mix Fruits and Vegetables
If you are juicing to add more nutrition to your diet, make sure your juice has more vegetables than fruits. When you juice, the natural sugars in fruits are separated from the fiber, so they are absorbed very quickly and elevate your blood sugar. Combining fruits with vegetables makes your juice more nutritionally complete, and lends a natural sweetness that makes your juice both healthy and delicious. Generally speaking, aim for 1/3 fruit juice to 2/3 vegetable juice in every glass.
Use a Variety of Ingredients
While you will naturally develop your own favorite juice recipes, don't forget to choose different recipes and different ingredients in your juice. Your body naturally needs a variety of different nutrients, and falling into too basic a routine doesn't allow for this natural variation. The best way to remember to keep variety in your juice is to pay attention to the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Choosing seasonal ingredients allows you to naturally incorporate variety into your juice regimen, and also helps your fruits and vegetables to be their most delicious and most nutritious every time.
Add a Squeeze of Citrus
Citrus fruits can be a bit time consuming to prepare for juicing, and yet 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.
Don't Forget Herbs
Herbs like mint, parsley, and basil contain important trace minerals and are extremely healthy. They are also delicious, and can be juiced just like other greens. They have a powerful flavor, though, and are best used in moderation.
What Not to Juice
While it may seem like you can juice almost anything, there are a few ingredients 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 and eggplant also do not juice well.
Fast Juicing Tips
Always wash your produce
Even when buying organic, soak your produce in water for 5 minutes and then wash it before juicing. This will remove dirt and bacteria, as well as any fertilizers or pesticides.
Always prep your produce
Aside from the fact that you will usually need to chop up your produce before feeding into a juicer, you should prep produce anyway. Fibrous vegetables like celery and kale can leave long tough strands that clog a juicer, and it helps to chop them before juicing. Any fruit seeds and pits should always be discarded before juicing, as they have trace amounts of compounds that can be dangerous and potentially toxic.
Always peel citrus
Always remove the peel, pith, and seeds of citrus fruits before juicing.
Drink juice immediately
When the delicate nutrients in juice are exposed to air, they immediately begin oxidizing, which reduces the amount of nutrition in the juice. Never let your juice get warm, or it may attract bacteria. Depending on your model of juicer, you may be able to put your juice in an airtight container and refrigerate it, and store it cold for 24-72 hours. However, the greatest benefit from juice is if you drink it within 15 minutes of making it.
Drink juice on an empty stomach
One of the reasons people juice is that, without the fiber in whole fruits and vegetables, the essential vitamins and minerals are easier for the body to absorb and use. For that same reason, you get the most benefit from your juice if you drink it on an empty stomach, when your digestive system can process the juice immediately. This is also a great way to be attentive to how your juice makes you feel, so you can get good feedback from your body.
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.
Only use the plunger that comes with your juicer
Almost all juicers come with a plunger or pusher. These 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.
Following these tips will prolong the life of your juicer and make cleaning easier, as well as giving you the most delicious, nutritious, healthy juice you can make, all year long. 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.