Juicing is a refreshing way to make the most of summer produce—here’s how to do it right
Juicing can be an excellent way to get more and varied produce into your diet. It provides a concentrated dose of nutrients, and it gives you a fun way to enjoy some vegetables that you might otherwise avoid.
The downside is that juicing fruits and vegetables removes much of their fiber content, as well as some nutrients (unless you’re using only a blender). So it’s always a good idea to put a little of the removed fiber back into your juice.
The key is to choose your ingredients carefully, mix and match them well, and use a blender whenever possible to preserve as much fiber and nutrition as you can. Here are a few tips:
Go easy on the fruit. Yes, fruit is the tastiest part of juicing. It’s also the most caloric. And it contributes to blood sugar spikes. So try to use fruit only as a flavoring for your juices, and allow the vegetables to take center stage. But remember that carb-laden veggies such as beets and carrots should also be used judiciously.
Go for the Green. Leafy greens boast high concentrations of useful vitamins and minerals with very little sugar. Combining them with a little fruit and a splash of citrus makes them not only palatable, but delightful.
Wet Your Whistle. Veggies with a high water content and mild flavor—such as cucumber, celery, and fennel—will contribute to a more harmonious texture and flavor.
Try Something New. Vegetables that you never liked before can be much more appealing as part of a juice cocktail. Try cabbage, kale, or red leaf lettuce, and toss in a little parsley (helps purify the blood) or cilantro (helps detoxify heavy metals).
Drink It Now. Juiced produce rapidly degrades, losing its nutritional peak and becoming prone to spoilage. So plan to enjoy your juice immediately upon making it. If you want to hold it for a few hours, fill a container with a tight lid all the way to the top and keep it well refrigerated.
Add a Little Zing. Brighten juices with some perky additions: a bit of fresh ginger, a squeeze of Meyer lemon, a dash of cayenne pepper, or even a handful of cranberries. Not only do these add-ins provide a burst of flavor, they all offer their own nutritional contributions.
So check out the freshest and sweetest produce the season has to offer—and give it a whirl!
Get the Right Tools
If you want to do some serious juicing, you’re going to need the proper equipment—a citrus juicer for oranges, lemons, and such; a blender for softer solids and liquids; and a juicing machine for firmer and/or leafy produce.
Luckily, many people already own one, if not two, of these items. Because they serve a variety of culinary purposes, citrus juicers and blenders are a staple in many kitchens. But juicing machines? Not so much.
Your choice of a juicing machine should be based on how often you intend to use it, as well as your budget. There are three kinds of juicing machines: centrifugal, masticating, and triturating. Centrifugal are the least expensive—and the least effective. They produce some heat and remove the most fiber from produce. Masticating machines are the mid-price option, and they’re believed to preserve a little more of the fiber. Triturating juicers are the most expensive—and the most effective. They press the produce to extract the maximum amount of juice.
Boost Your Juice
Try these superfood add-ins to make your juices even healthier.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Add 1–2 Tbs. to your juices—it helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline balance, which benefits acne and fights yeast infections. And apple cider vinegar is known to help detoxify the liver and enhance energy.
Hemp Seed Powder
Hemp seeds are high in protein and contain all 20 amino acids, including all of the essential amino acids our bodies don’t produce. They’re also high in omega-6 fatty acids, and contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
Use the seeds, not the powder, as the powder can quickly thicken juices a little too much. Whole chia seeds, however, have a satisfying texture and are an excellent source of omega-3s. They are also a good source of fiber and provide incredible energy.
Maca powder has a slightly nutty flavor and mixes well into juices. It’s high in protein, B vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that can give you a noticeable energy boost. It’s even said to boost libido and relieve menstrual cramps. Its effects can be potent, though, so use 1–2 Tbs. per day max.
This powder is best used with sweet juices, as it tastes like, well, the algae it is. But it’s well worth it—it’s incredibly high in protein; omega-3s, -6s, and -9s; calcium; iron; antioxidants; and detoxifying chlorophyll.
We all know green tea is incredibly good for us. This concentrated green tea leaf powder is rich in cancer-fighting, fat-burning compounds and cell-protective antioxidants. Try adding about 1 tsp. to green juices—a little goes a long way.