Welcome to the Erica Zellner Nutrition Blog. Today we are taking a look at the basics of juicing. What is juicing? What kind of juicer should I get? How do I get started? All of this and more will be answered in this short blog post! Let's get started.
What is juicing:
Juicing is the process of extracting the natural water, vitamins and minerals from raw fruits and vegetables. Juicing strips away the solid and fibrous parts of the plant and leaves only the liquid. This is liquid gold that you are left with! This beverage is loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, enzymes, and phytonutrients, in addition to the vitamins and minerals found in the fruit or vegetable. Juicing is the best ‘fast food’ you can consume! When you drink a fresh juice, it only takes about 15 minutes for your body to absorb and begin putting to use all those beneficial compounds!
Different Types of Juicers:
Before you go out and buy a juicer, it’s best to become familiar with the different types and which type will best suit your needs. Some factors to consider when deciding on a type of juicer include how the juicer produces juice, how long the juice will stay fresh (read: nutritionally intact), and the variety of produce your juicer can process.
There are five types of juicers that we will discuss today: centrifugal juicers, masticating juicers, triturating juicers, and manual juicers.
Centrifugal juicers are probably the most widely available types of juicers. You will see them in department stores such as Macys or JC Penny as well as places like Target and Wal Mart. They are generally, very affordable and can be easily found under $100.
Centrifugal juicers are named for the way they work. These juicers use a cutting blade to chop the produce and then spin the produce at very high speeds through a strainer to separate the pulp from the juice. This rapid spinning action makes this type of juicer less efficient at extracting juice than other types, leaving the discarded pulp quite moist and the high speed produces heat and friction, which will inevitably oxidize the fresh juice. The result can be a degradation of the taste and compromise of the quality of nutrients produced. Juice from this type of juicer cannot withstand storage due to the oxidation and degradation of the nutrients. Centrifugal juicers are generally easy to use and to clean and are the quickest method of producing fresh juice.
The take away: This juicer is a good choice for someone who is looking for the quickest way to make a fresh juice and will be consuming the juice immediately. This is also an economical option, as centrifugal juicers tend to be less expensive than other types and can be found in many different stores.
I am a little biased here, because this is the type of juicer I personally own and use, and I believe is the best option for most people. Masticating juicers have a single gear (called an auger), that crushes the fruit and vegetables into pulp and slowly releases the juice as a result. Unlike the centrifugal juicer, the masticating juicer runs at a much lower speed, limiting the oxidation and preserving most of the vital enzymes and nutrients. This juicer is also much more efficient than a centrifugal juicer, producing a dry pulp and maximizing the amount of juice that is collected. Thanks to the minimization of oxidation, this juice can safely be stored (air tight and refrigerated) for up to 72 hours without major nutrient loss. This means you can make larger quantities of juice to sip on throughout the week, with less of an overall time investment. These juicers tend to be around the $250-$350 range.
The take away: This type of juicer will produce the most juice from your fruits and veggies and will preserve nutrients for storage up to 72 hours. It is a higher initial investment than a centrifugal juicer, but these juicers tend to last longer than other types.
Also known as twin gear juicers, these are the top of the line and champions of the juicer world. These juicers extract fresh juice from produce using twin gears that interlock with each other while rotating inwards - crushing everything you put between them into a very dry pulp. Triturating juicers operate at a very low speed, producing no heat and ensuring thorough juicing of all produce while simultaneously preventing air getting trapped in the juice and causing oxidation. This is the best option for someone for whom price is not an issue as they tend to be in the $1,000 and up price range.
The take away: These juicers are very versatile, the top of the line. They are some of the best juicers available but that does not mean they are the best choice for you. Just as you wouldn't buy a Limo when all you plan on doing is driving to and from work, there's no need to spring for a triturating juicer unless you really have use for it.
Just like their name suggests, these juicers are operated by hand and are relatively inexpensive. Most of the manual juicers you will see on the market will either be for citrus or wheatgrass. Manual juicers are limited in the variety of produce they can process. They are a worthwhile investment if you are looking to just try out juicing without wanting to invest too much financially upfront.
The take away: Manual juicers need elbow grease! Depending on your strength and endurance, you can juice relatively quickly, or not so quickly. Harder produce, such as carrots or celery, may be difficult for you to juice with a manual juicer, so you may be limited as to what kinds of juices you can create for yourself.
What To Juice
Try to always choose organic, and if you cannot shop exclusively organic, at least adhere to the dirty dozen for produce.
· Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, romaine, mustard greens, dandelion greens, swiss chard, etc.
· Herbs such as mint, basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.
· Carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, beets, celery, ginger root, etc.
· Citrus such as grapefruit, oranges, limes, lemons, etc
· Kiwi, apples, pears, pineapple, berries, watermelon, etc
How to Juice:
Remove any inedible skin (such as the hard skin on lemons) and thoroughly wash all other fruits and vegetables.
Dice produce to fit the size of your juicers chute. Slowly pass produce through the juicer, alternating leafy greens with other fruits/veg if applicable.
Drink immediately or store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.
Easy Juicing Recipes:
· Three organic carrots, two organic green apples, one thumb of ginger
· Three stalks organic celery, ½ large organic cucumber, one organic green apple, one organic pear
· Two medium organic beets with green tops, one cup organic blueberries, one cup organic strawberries
· One bunch organic spinach, two organic yellow delicious apples, 1 organic lemon peeled, two organic oranges, one thumb ginger peeled, eight stems organic mint
I hope this blog post gave you a great introduction to the world of juicing! Stay tuned for future juicing recipes that I love and use often.