RECIPESJUNE 13, 2013

green juice du jour – plus tips + tricks for diy juicing

It seems people can’t get enough green juice these days. I love getting a daily dose to help boost energy, increase my intake of vitamins, alkalize my body, and prevent cravings. The fact that they taste pretty great is an extra bonus.

Sure, you can easily grab a green juice at a smoothie shop or health food store – but nothing beats making your own. You have control over the quality of ingredients, can adjust them to suit your tastes to a tee, and avoiding the $10+ price tag will make you feel super responsible.

So whether you are a juicing pro or newbie, here are my top 5 tips to keep in mind when the urge strikes you. I’ve also shared my go to green juice recipe – that I happen to be sipping on as I type…

TIPS FOR DIY JUICING:

1. Source organic ingredients whenever possible. Sure, its ideal to choose organic for all food and drinks, but even if you don’t regularly splurge for organic produce you really want to make the effort when it comes to juicing. Essentially, when you juice, you are extracting everything from the produce into a liquid form: which is inclusive of any pesticides or chemicals that are on your fruits and veggies. Juicing can be really cleansing, but that isn’t really the case when you have toxins lurking around in your glass. You also want to be sure to give your juicing ingredients a good wash.

2. Keep it simple. It can be a common desire to put everything in your fridge down the chute of your juicer. It’s so gratifying to see the juicing carafe fill up! But really, the best juices (and smoothies) taste best with a few ingredients. It’s nice to be able to taste what’s in there, instead of having dozens of flavors muddling each other. To control the amount of sugar and taste – I like to usually add only 1 (sometimes 2) fruits or sweet vegetables (like carrots or beets). Have the other 1-3 ingredients be herbs, veggies, spices, or lemon/lime. It can be helpful to try to recreate a juice that you have had by using the same ingredients at home. Once you get the hang of juicing and the different flavors of ingredients, you will be more comfortable mixing and matching.

3. Be sure to include one of these ingredients Since we’re making juice – you need to include juicy ingredients! I love using 1-2 cucumbers as they add a lot of juice without much sugar. Apples and pears are also pretty juicy and are lower on the glycemic index than other fruits. Carrots will also yield a lot of juice and I am also partial to pineapplefor adding sweet brightness.

4. Drink it fast. The beauty of juicing at home is that you can drink your creation straight from the press. This will allow your body to absorb the maximum amount of antioxidants and energy available. Some people like to make a double batch to have more juice available for later in the day – and that is fine to do – just make sure to chug some of the batch at the time of juicing. I usually say its ideal to drink within 24 hours.

5. Use what you’ve got. I know I just said not to throw your whole refrigerator in your juicer… but at the same time, you want to be smart about the ingredients you stock up on and use what is available. For example: I will sometimes de-stem kale leaves for salad. Hang onto those stems for juicing (or blending) as they are still nutrient-dense and beneficial to consume. If you are using fresh herbs for a salad or sauce, use the rest of the bunch for the juicer. Herbs are are alkalizing, naturally detoxifying, and full of flavor. Pineapple cores – and even carrot peels – might seem like garbage but they will actually make delicious juice.

Do you have any tips and tricks to share? Please do so in the comment section! I always love learning something new.

Amanda’s Fave Green Juice

Ingredients:

1 cucumber
2-3 celery ribs
2-3 handfuls of dark leafy greens (lately, I have been using a mixture of kale, dandelion greens, and cilantro or parsley)
1 lemon

Procedure:

Place cucumber, celery, and greens in a juicer. I find it helpful to alternate pieces of cucumber, celery, and kale to get the most juice. Squeeze both halves of lemon into the green juice. Pour into a glass. I like to add a few ice cubes to add a little chill.

*Like your juice a little sweeter? Try adding an apple (granny smith adds a nice tartness), pear, or a few pieces of pineapple.

*Don’t have a juicer? Place all ingredients in a blender with 1-2 cups of water.

Yield: 15-16 oz of juice

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