Got Juice? A Primer on the Art of Juicing

As I mentioned in my inaugural post, my vegan lifestyle was the culmination of a series of epiphanies I experienced last year, watching the “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentary, and then researching what this juicing thing is all about.  Today, I plan to show you how to get from this:

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to this:

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in about 45 minutes, soup to nuts.  The bounty of fruits and vegetables listed below yielded about 100 ounces of pure, delicious instant nutrition.

5 large granny smith apples

5 large mcintosh apples

10 large carrots

1 large cucumber

1 large parsnip

4 large stalks of celery including leaves

1 medium lemon

1 bunch of kale

As you can see, that is a LOT of produce for one day’s juice supply.  Before you think that it’s too expensive, consider this:  a 16 ounce bottle of prepackaged juice at whole foods will set you back $6 to $9 each, depending on the maker.  For 6 bottles, which is more or less the amount of juice I produced today, that is $36 to $54 if you buy it at the store.  On the other hand, I spent a grand total of $120 on shopping for the week, including all of my produce for juicing each day, dinners, and other sundries and staples.  Just the produce was about $100 for the week.  My point is that eating (or drinking) healthy is not all that expensive.  If you do some investigating, you will find that there is probably a decent source of reasonable produce nearby.  It might not be 100% organic, but it is still healthy.  If you live in South Florida, for instance, Penn Dutch in Hollywood and Margate has fantastic produce prices.

Here is a step by step illustration of my juicing process.

Assemble all of the produce you plan to juice.  Wash thoroughly under cold water.  Have a large stainless steel colander ready to hold your cut up produce.  I cut up the apples first, using an 8 section apple corer/slicer.  Next, the lemon in quarters, the cucumber in quarters lengthwise, then in half, the carrots in half, then the parsnip in half and the top section in quarters, then the celery stalks in half.  Finally, the kale bunch is cut in half.  I only remove the ends of the carrots and parnips and the apple cores including all seeds. Here is everything ready to juice:

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My juicing process requires 2 steps – grinding the produce into wet pulp using a Champion juicer (first picture), then pressing the wet pulp using a manual hydraulic juice press (second picture)  Both items were purchased used on Ebay for less than $300.

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To make the wet pulp, each of the different types of produce are fed through the juicer feed hopper on top.  I alternate between all of the various produce.  Kale and other leafy green are the hardest, so I space it out evenly during the process.  Once finished, cleanup is quite easy.  Just thoroughly rinse each part under hot water and let air dry.

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Once you have cleaned all of the equipment used for producing the pulp, the pressing process begins.  I use 18″ square juicing cloths, which are porous like cheese cloth.  They let very little pulp through, only pure juice.  I make 2 pillows at a time, which are placed in the manual press.

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Once all of the pulp has been pressed, here is what you will have:

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We save the dry pulp “slices” and feed them to our dog, Ellie. crumbling one slice up with her kibble for each meal, and adding a little warm water.  Not only does she love it, but it is very healthy for her.  One caveat – you should always research every ingredient you plan to juice to make sure that it is OK for dogs to ingest.

Using a funnel, I fill as many 18 ounce Aquasana glass bottles as I need.  These are available on Amazon in packs of 6 including lids. A really great product.  In this case, the produce yielded 5 18 ounce bottles filled completely, and another 10 ounces in the glass.  

A word on juicers.  There are several kinds, each with different techniques and yields.  My process used the cold press method.  I will discuss different types of juicers in another post.

There are as many juice combinations as your imagination can think of.  It is an iterative process that is tweaked over time.  Personally, I find the ritual very therapeutic and relaxing.  Maybe you will, too…

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