At a Glance
- Juicing is a fun way to add extra nutrients to your diet.
- Juicing extracts nutrients from fruit and vegetable pulp, making them easy for the body to digest and use.
- The right equipment can make a big difference to the quality of your juices.
I fondly remember my early juicing days. I thought there was nothing to it. Buy a juicer – check. The first one that caught my eye online. Wait for it to arrive, plug it in, chop some fruit, and away I went!
I juiced all sorts of fruit and vegetable combinations, some that worked – and some that didn’t. I also wasted a considerable amount of money.
With hindsight and a bit more knowledge about juicing, I now know there’s a little bit more to it. I hope I can help you in starting off in the right way, and avoid some of the mistakes I made. I’ll also share some of my favorite juicing recipes for beginners.
What Is Juicing?
Juicing is the practice of extracting the juice, and most of the nutrients, from the pulp of whole fruit and vegetables. This produces a drink that is rich in beneficial nutrients.
While it shouldn’t replace your whole day’s intake of fresh produce, juicing is an enjoyable way to supplement it.
The Benefits of Juicing
Freshly prepared juice contains roughly the same nutrients as whole produce, but extracting the juice from the pulp makes them easier and quicker to assimilate into the blood.
This means the nutrients – vitamins, minerals and other plant compounds like flavonoids – reach the cells in your body more efficiently.
Consuming fresh fruit and vegetables in juice form also makes them easier to digest, so it gives your digestive system a break from the hard work of processing whole foods.
Juicing is a great way to boost your intake of fruit and vegetables, and sneak in ingredients that you know are good for you, but you just don’t like the taste or texture.
Another advantage of juicing is flexibility – you can mix many ingredients together. This means you can, with a little research about the benefits of each ingredient, create juicing cocktails for specific health conditions.
What Equipment Do I Need?
The first thing to consider is which juicer to buy. There are lots of different juicers on the market, and the one you choose depends on your budget and the produce you want to juice.
There are three basic types of juicers:
- Masticating, gear or cold press juicers
- Twin gear juicers
Centrifugal juicers are the least expensive, but there is a reason for this. They work by chopping and spinning produce at high speed. They produce wet pulp – so they don’t extract all of the nutrients. They aren’t good at juicing things like herbs, leafy vegetables and wheatgrass.
The high speed creates heat and friction which destroys some of the nutrients in your juice. The wet pulp means it uses more produce other types of juicers, so you use (and buy) more produce.
Masticating juicers are more expensive, but they leave the pulp drier, and are much better at extracting juice from herbs and leafy vegetables. They work at low speed, crushing and pressing the fruits and vegetables through a strainer.
Masticating juicers extract more nutrients into your juices, and the juices can also be stored for longer than those from centrifugal juicers with less spoilage and loss of nutrients.
Twin gear juicers are for serious juicing fanatics. They have two roller gears which rotate inwards to finely crush produce, releasing the maximum amount of nutrients and leaving the driest pulp. They tend to be the most expensive type of juicers, but the juice produced is high quality and can be stored for longer than the juices from a masticating juicer.
Twin gear juicers are good at juicing things like leaves and wheatgrass, but aren’t so good with citrus fruits. Many juicing fans buy a separate citrus juicer and use a twin gear juicer for everything else.
To start juicing, I would recommend a good quality masticating juicer. They juice pretty much everything well, and although they are pricier than centrifugal juicers, they’re more economical in the long run, as you save money on buying less produce. In addition, they’re not as expensive as twin gear juicers!
Amazon is a good place to research which juicer might be good for you – you can check out their best-selling masticating juicers here.
The only other equipment you need are some good, sharp knives and a chopping board. If you’re planning to store your juices, invest in some good quality, preferably dark colored glass jars that are the right size for the quantity of juice you will want to store.
If it’s part of your plan to take some of your juices for lunch at work, or to have after a workout on the way home from the office, there are some things you need to know.
The longer you store juice, the more oxidation occurs and the more nutrients are lost. However, there are some things you can do to minimize this.
Firstly, buy airtight storage containers – preferable glass rather than plastic (chemicals from the plastic can leach into the juice over time), although some people use stainless steel vacuum flasks.
If you opt for glass, try to get dark colored, amber glass, but if not, wrapping the glass container in aluminum foil also works well.
Make sure the storage containers you buy are the right size for one portion of juice when filled right up to the top, and buy containers with a secure lid! The more air in the container with the juice, the more oxidation and loss of nutrients occurs.
When storing your juice, keep it in the refrigerator if possible, or at a minimum, in a good quality cool bag with some freezer blocks.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Juices are most effective when consumed on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before any other food. This gives the digestive system time to absorb all those nutrients easily.
As a general rule, juices higher in fruit content should be consumed in the early part of the day, as the sugar provides you with energy.
Afternoon and evening juices should be mainly based on vegetables because they have a lower sugar content. We use less energy at the end of the day, so any excess sugar consumed in the evening gets turned into fat for storage.
What Should I Juice?
The short answer is – anything you like!
Initially, it’s best to start with produce you are familiar with – things you enjoy eating. Gradually add any fresh ingredients you like.
Fruit is a delight to juice with, and you can create so many delicious and nutritious combinations. In particular, pineapple has some fantastic and unique nutritional qualities. It tastes so good and is ideal to balance ingredients you’d like to include for nutrition, but you’d rather not know were in there!
Vegetable juices are not as pleasing to the taste buds as fruit juices. However you will become accustomed to the new flavors if you start by mixing a small amount of vegetables into your regular fruit juices and build up the amount and range of vegetables gradually.
Beetroot adds an earthy sweetness and contains some very powerful vitamins, mineral and other plant compounds, so it’s best to use it in only one juice every couple of days to start with.
Consider adding spices like ginger and turmeric, and herbs like mint, rosemary and parsley to juices. They add some amazing health benefits and flavors.
Juicing, especially when using only using fruit, can cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. This isn’t a problem for people in good general health, but can be a problem for people with diabetes, who are best advised to base juices on vegetables rather than fruit and juice under medical supervision.
Tips for Juicing
When preparing any fresh produce, it’s important to give your hands a good wash with soap and warm water first.
Wash all juicing ingredients thoroughly under running water, even if you plan to remove the skin. Give firm produce a gentle scrub and dry everything thoroughly. Remove any damaged areas, and do not use fruit of vegetables that look rotten.
You can leave the peels and skins on most fruit without a problem. However, the bitterness in orange peel can spoil the taste of your juice, so you might want to remove it.
Apples are not only nutritious, they also add sweetness to juices and are a good firm fruit to put through your juicer last to maximize all the other flavors. (source)
Juicing Recipes for Beginners
I really hope all of this information will help you get off to a much better juicing start than I did. I produce much tastier, higher quality juice now with my masticating juicer than I ever did with the cheap centrifugal model I started with!
Below are some great combinations of fruit and vegetable juicing recipes for beginners. Remember, once you get the hang of it, your juicing world is only limited by your own creativity!
#1 Orange Juice
Sounds simple enough, right? This is orange juice with a difference – all your orange-colored produce in one glass to give a huge boost of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- 2 medium oranges, peeled
- 1 cup mango
- 1 small sweet potato
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 medium apple
- Juice the oranges and mango
- Juice the sweet potato, carrots and apple
- Pour, add ice and serve
#2 Merry Berry
This juice is deliciously sweet and refreshing. It’s full of nutrients as well as flavor and packed with antioxidants.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1 cup cranberries
- ½ lemon, or 1 lime
- 2 medium apples
- Juice the all the berries
- Juice the lemon and the apple
- Add ice and serve immediately
#3 Pineapple Punch
As well as being super nutritious, pineapples are good for juicing because they have a strong, sweet flavor which helps balance savory ingredients, like the kale in this juice.
- 4 kale leaves
- 1 cup grapes
- ¼ pineapple
- ½ medium cucumber
- 2 medium green apples
- Juice the kale and grapes
- Juice the pineapple, cucumber and apples
- Serve immediately, with ice if preferred
This tasty juice combines herbs, many of which have huge health benefits, with sweeter ingredients to make a surprisingly tasty juice.
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 cup parsley
- 1 lime
- 2 kiwi fruits
- 1 medium pear
- 1 medium green apple
- Juice rosemary and parsley, followed by the lime
- Juice the kiwi fruits, pear and apple
- Pour over ice and serve
#5 Ready Steady Veggie
This is a savory vegetable juice which has a mild, refreshing taste and huge health benefits.
- 1 cup lettuce
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 medium beetroot
- ½ lemon
- 1 medium apple
- Juice the lettuce and spinach
- Juice the cucumber, beetroot and lemon
- Juice the apple
- Serve and enjoy