I just love fresh juice. Apple juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, even carrot, tomato, and spinach juice. Sometimes I like to combine different ingredients and make something original. Sometimes my concoctions are delicious, other times, well, let’s just say the dog really likes to drink them. With so many different fruits and vegetables in my kitchen, it’s good to know how to properly prepare them for juicing. Trust me; properly prepared ingredients can make the difference between having a glass of fresh, delicious juice chock full of nutrients, vitamins, and enzymes for you to drink, or having a mix that goes straight to the dog’s bowl.
It’s also very important to know how to use your juicer, so I provide some basic tips below. It’s also helpful to have a few juicing tips and techniques at your fingertips to ensure that you get the most out of your juicer in the most efficient way. And if you’ve ever wondered what to do with the pulp leftover in your juicer, I have a few suggestions about that as well.
Buying and Storing Fruits and Vegetables
It’s important to always use fresh fruits and vegetables for juicing, preferably items that you purchased that day or at most a day or two before. Now I know that’s it a pain to have to go to the store every day to buy produce, so if you only like to make a couple of trips a week, then try to get hardier fruits and vegetables. Many of these can be stored at room temperature. Some of the more delicate items like berries, leafy greens, and tomatoes, will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
To help prolong storage life you should wash all of your produce before storing it. This is why you see most grocery stores washing and wetting down their produce throughout the day. It really helps to keep it fresh.
Also, be sure to wash all of your fruits and vegetables before you juice. This is a health issue because there may be pesticides and other chemicals on the produce that will easily wash off. Apples are a prime example.
Preparing Your Fruits and Vegetables
There are many fruits and vegetables out there with skin that you cannot eat. The skin of certain fruits is even mildly poisonous. You always want to peal hard skin or shells before juicing any produce unless you are using a citrus juicer. With a citrus juicer, all you have to do is cut the fruit, like an orange, in half and stick it onto the top of the reamer. Then you push down, the reamer turns and the fruit gets juiced.
If you are using a masticating juicer or all-purpose juice extractor, then you’ll need to remove the skin from fruits like pineapple, guava, melons, or mango. You will also need to remove any hard seeds, pits, or stones from fruits like peaches, nectarines, mangoes, plums, and cherries.
Helpful Tip #1
Try to buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season. This will save you some money, and the produce will be fresher and more vitamin-packed.
Helpful Tip #2
For the freshest, best tasting orange juice, refrigerate your oranges before you juice them.
How you juice different fruits and vegetables will vary based on the type of juicer you are using. There are three major types of juicers, citrus juicers, multi-use centrifugal juice extractors, and masticating and triturating wheatgrass juicers. Your owner’s manual should have the best techniques that are specific to the type of juicer that you own. Here are some techniques that apply to most centrifugal juicers and wheatgrass juicers.
- If you are juicing different ingredients and they all have a variety of textures, then you want to start with the softer ingredients first. Run these through your machine on the low-speed setting first, and then move to a higher speed for the tougher ingredients.
- Put small amounts of produce into the machine at a time instead of trying to shove in large amounts.
- If you juicing multiple items at once let most of the juice get extracted from one item before adding another.
- When juicing sprouts, herbs, or leafy green vegetables like spinach you’ll need to bundle them up. This keeps them compact and your juicer is better able to pull the juice out of them. The other option is to juice them in the middle of a group of different ingredients, again so they are bunched up. A slow-speed juicer works best for the juice extraction in this case.
- If you are following a juicing recipe, don’t worry if you don’t come out with the exact amount of juice that the recipe calls for based on the number of fruits and vegetables used. All vegetables and fruits will yield a different amount of juice. Juicing one set of four grapefruit will result in a different amount of juice than another 4 grapefruits. The juice recipe will taste just as good even if the amount of one type of juice is slightly off.
Helpful Hint #3
Soft produce juices more easily if it has been refrigerated.
Using Your Juicer
Proper use of a juicer will vary based on the make and model, and again your owner’s manual will be able to provide you with all of the detail you’ll need. However, here are a few tips that will apply to any juicer.
- Don’t ever put the juicer’s cord, plug, or motor base into water or any other liquid as this can cause electric shock.
- Because of all the sharp moving parts, you should not allow children to operate your juicer.
- Always make sure you turn off the machine and unplug it when you’re not using it, cleaning it, or taking it apart.
- Don’t stick your fingers or any body part near any of the moving parts, especially the feed shut and blades.
- Many juicers, especially centrifugal models, will come with a food pusher. If that is the case with your machine, always use the pusher and not your hand to feed in the ingredients.
- Always make sure you have the pulp container in place to catch the pulp whenever you are juicing.
- If you ever need to unclog your juicer for any reason, make sure you use a food pusher. If that doesn’t work, then unplug the machine and disassemble the juicer to remove any clogged food.
- Always watch your juicer while it’s in use. Never leave it unattended.
- If any part of the juicer is damaged, including the cord or plug, do not try to use it.
- Always use your juicer on a dry, flat surface.
- When juicing make sure you keep your hair, clothing, jewelry, and any kitchen utensils like spoons or knives, away from your juicer’s feed shut. Nobody wants hair juice.
- Don’t try to repair the juicer yourself, take it to an authorized service center.
What To Do With The Pulp
The pulp from your juicer is very nutritious and full of fiber and cellulose. If you like to juice a lot, you’ll have a lot of pulp leftover. There are several different uses for this.
- Just throw it away. If you don’t have any practical use for your pulp after you finish juicing, then you can just trash it. To help with cleanup, place a plastic freezer or grocery bag into the pulp container of your machine. Then when you’re done juicing, you can just pull out the bag and throw it away. This minimizes clean up and really makes things easier.
- Use it in a recipe. I have a whole list of different juicer pulp recipes on this site. They’re all free so check them out. If you plan on using your pulp in a recipe, make sure you use it the same day to avoid the loss of vitamins. This is the same that applies to the juice that you make; drink it as soon as possible after you make it. Pulp is also great for thickening up soups and casseroles.
- Compost it. Pulp is fantastic for using in your garden or flower bed, after it has composted.
Helpful Tip #4
There may be some small pieces of vegetable or fruit remaining in the pulp after you juice it. If that’s the case, then simply remove the pieces before you use any of the pulp in a recipe.
Helpful Tip #5
I like to boil pulp with tea. This really adds some nice flavor and additional nutrients to any variety of green or black tea. When you pour it out though, you’ll need to use a strainer so that there are not little pieces of pulp in your tea. Try it with pineapple pulp and see if you like it.