Hearing more and more about juicing lately? I know I’ve spent some time researching juicer prices, spending hours reading about others’ juice fasts, and reflecting on the “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” doc. Normally being one to spend time reading up on healthier lifestyle changes instead of implementing them, I decided that enough is enough. It’s time to jump in and give juicing a try.
One doesn’t necessarily need a pricey juicer – a kitchen tool which serves only one purpose – to produce healthy, fresh, energizing juices. The versatility of the VitaMix is what originally drew me to it so strongly… and led to my excited purchase of the magical tool a few years back.
With the VitaMix you can whip up ice creams and sorbets, creamy sauces and dressings, smoothies, and even soups in minutes. Unlike a conventional blender, the speed and power of the VitaMix is what makes it such an incredible cooking instrument: A few months ago I had made some basic green smoothies for the boyfriend and me, using his blender. It was then that I realized just how fast and effortless using my machine truly was! Stop-scrape-start, stop-scrape-start, stop-scrape-start… there’s none of that with the VitaMix.
Having said that, I wouldn’t deter anyone from attempting their own juicing experiments with a conventional blender. Go ahead and see how it works! With some success, it will only prove the true accessibility of delicious juices for those with the most basic kitchen accessories.
Here’s what is needed for juicing with a Vita-Mix:
- Selection of fresh, organic produce (Organic is so important here – you don’t want to be blending up pesticides and harmful chemicals, right?)
- Cold, filtered water to aid with the blending
- Cheesecloth or a nut milk bag (Most grocery stores carry cheesecloth on the cheap, and you only need a section about 6-8 inches across.)
While preparing for the experiment, I dreaded using cheesecloth to filter out the pulp. This is because I became very frustrated with the process when making my own almond milk. The key here really is patience and gentleness. Put on some soothing music or your favorite podcast, or even use the time as a meditative/reflective part of your day. The straining is the most time-consuming portion, but the end result is really worth it.
For the first juice I used:
- One small, organic Gala apple, cut into chunks
- 3-4 inches of cucumber, cut into chunks
- 4-5 organic baby carrots, cut into chunks
- One large leaf of organic kale, de-stemmed
- One large handful of organic baby spinach
- 1-1.5 cups of cold, filtered water
A very basic, sweet & leafy green recipe. Whizzing everything up in the VitaMix takes absolutely no time at all, and I did not need to scrape down the sides. Let everything blend for 30-60 seconds.
Take your section of cheesecloth and drape it over a large glass or mason jar. While pressing the cheesecloth to the rim of the glass so there is no overspill, pour about 1/2 cup of the juice mixture onto the cloth.
Gather the cheesecloth together and let the juice slooowly drain into glass. Help the process along by slowly and gently squeezing the cheesecloth. If you are too forceful, little spurts of juice pulp will fly out of the cheesecloth, which defeats the whole purpose!
Once you have squeezed out most of the juice, open the cheesecloth and gather the pulp. You can save it for future use (pulp crackers
, anyone?), compost it, or discard it. Then, rinse the cheesecloth in the sink, and repeat with 1/2 cup more of the juice mixture, until you are done.
My yield was about 16 oz. – good enough for two mornings’ worth of juice! Not bad, eh?
Let me know what your favorite juice combination is, and whether you have experimented with unconventional juicing in the kitchen. Vegan Noms, out!