Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Adventures in Juicing.

Man, last week was weird, eh? I needed to marinate on some things, as I suspect many did. Spouse & I were super lucky to have great bookend weekends, connecting with family and it really reset things. I'll write more about the weekends in another post soon. #SillyPeople #Beer #Fun 

Wanted to post the last part of my juicing adventures, which is, um, actual juicing and combinations of juices. 

I am pretty lucky in that I don't have a lot of aversions to fruits and vegetables. I adore brussel spouts, beets and kale. I do still really dislike lima beans but luckily for me, I don't believe they would be a good juicing choice. As far as fruits, my only "dislikes" are grapefruit and mango. I like a hint of grapefruit, and I love the smell of mango but the texture is what really bothers me. 

So juicing as an addition to my menus is pretty easy. The added bonus of it is you can be really creative with your concoctions. I have to say there was only one combo I made that got poured down the drain, and honestly, had I not run out of lemon and lime juices, may very well have been salvageable. #TheMoreYouKnow

Normally, how I juice is I prep items first, with minimal cutting/chopping/peeling so I can just turn the juicer on and go. The best items to use are actually organic, ideally locally grown and rinsed of any visible dirt. You only need to trim off the icky parts, basically - the whole point is to use the whole fruit/veggie and all. 

So I prep and then my standard operating procedure is to make one full juice at a time, so I think about what I want to make and juice those items together. My favorite is a reproduction of Northstar Cafe's Shooting Star: I take 8 carrots, 2-3 navel oranges (peeled), nice chunk of fresh peeled ginger, 1 lemon. Then after each juice is made, I rinse & quick dry the juicer machine elements, especially the mesh screen, so I can start another juice, fresh and free from the previous ingredients. 

I don't have a formula per se, but basically my juices end up being half-ish fruits, half-ish veggies and always a green veggie even if the ingredients aren't green. So for instance, I might put in a handful of kale into the shooting star, to get some of the benefits of the green juice. 

For this post, I went a little juicing crazy, and did one fruit and vegetable at a time so you can see how much you output get, etc. This is not the ideal way to do it, as I ended up with enough juices for a week (for me). Ideally, you want to make a juice and consume it within 24-48 hours - at the very longest interval, 72 hours. 

My friend, TS, has successfully frozen some of hers, so that might an excellent option and probably something I should have done for this one but, owel. #LiveAndLearn

I had these 8 in the house: starting top left and going clockwise - orange, apple, strawberry, watermelon, blueberry, green grape, pear & peach. 

Note: since I have a low-end juicer, I tend to get a lot of foam, esp with softer skinned or more watery items, like peaches, strawberries, watermelon. You can keep the foam or spoon it off - your choice. 

I used:
- 5 large navel oranges and the output was approximately 32 oz.
- 3 medium sized fuji apples and the output was approximately 8 oz.
- 1 quart of strawberries and the output was about 8 oz. of juice and 6-8 oz. of foam.
- 1 decently sized seedless watermelon - about the size of my head. Output was about 28 oz. of juice and 3-4 oz. of foam.
- 2 pints of blueberries and the output was 16 oz. of juice and about 4-5 oz. of foam.
- 1/2 lb. of green grapes and the output was 4-5 oz. of juice and 1-2 oz. of foam.
- 3 anjou pears and the output was 3-4 oz of juice and 3-4 oz. of foam.
- 3 peaches and the output was 15 oz. of juice and 1-2 oz. of foam. 

Honestly, I skimmed off some foam so contents would fit in my vessels. Plus the pears & peaches really needed to be used, i.e. getting wrinkly and whatnot, so extra juicy. 

Green Vegetables
I had these six in the house, starting far left and going clockwise again: cucumber, zucchini, celery, spinach, curly kale and green leaf lettuce. 

I used:
- 1 fairly round english cucumber (also known as a seedless cucumber) and the output was 24 oz. of juice (I know, right?!).
- 2 medium sized zucchini and the output was 12 oz. of juice.
- 6 ribs of a full-celery bunch and the output was 7 oz. of juice.
- 3/4 lb. of baby spinach and the output was 4 oz. of juice. 
- 1 decent sized bunch of curly kale and the output was 3 oz. of juice.
- 1 large bunch of green leaf lettuce and the output was 6-7 oz. of juice.

Here's the deal with green veggies on the whole: they pack a punch in terms of nutrients, and so a little goes a long way. Not to mention that other than zucchini and cucumber, a little has a big taste. So even though I had 3 oz. of kale juice, I added kale to at least 6 of the juices because all I really wanted was a splash. 

Zucchini is an awesome green juice to add, when you want the nutrients but not the flavor. You seriously cannot taste it. 

Side note: I really prefer lacinato kale, which is much more smooth of a veggie, but they were out, so I chose curly. I find the lacinato to have a slightly less bitter taste and get more juice per leaf, than curly. 

Non-Green Vegetables
I had these 5 in the house (from left to right): carrot, cilantro, ginger root, yellow squash, beet.

I used:
- 24 carrots and the output was 32 oz. of juice.
- 1 decent sized bunch of cilantro and the output was .5 oz. of juice.
- 5 oz. of ginger root and the output was 6 oz. of juice.
- 1 medium sized yellow squash and the output was 4 oz. of juice and 1 oz. of foam.
- 2 medium sized beets and the output was 6 oz. of juice and 2-3 oz. of foam. 

Herbs are another great way to get kinda fancy with your juices - I had more cilantro ready than anything, so that's why I chose it, but you could juice basil, mint, oregano - basically anything to add some flavor to your juices. 

Ginger is awesome - gives an awesome zing - and a little goes a super long way. Use sparingly, especially if you aren't a serious ginger fan. 

Yellow squash, like zucchini, is great to add for color and variety, but doesn't have a lot of taste per se. 

Lemons and Limes
I juice 4-5 lemons and 4-5 limes at a time and use that as a finisher basically, as a little goes a long way with these too. I really love citrus, so I add something to every juice I make. 

This was super fun, I have to say. Again, not the brightest or wisest option, but I was conducting an SCIENTIFIC experiment, so really fun. 

Bad news is, I didn't take photos of the combined juices nor keep a list of what I made. #DOH! #Sorry

But, from memory, here are some combinations I remember making:
- Carrot, orange, ginger, lemon.
- Strawberry, apple, green grape, zucchini, cucumber, celery, lime. (My Pimm's Cup version).
- Beet, pear, yellow squash, green leaf lettuce, lemon.
- Blueberry, beet, celery, zucchini, lemon.
- Carrot, peach, spinach, lemon.
- Watermelon, strawberry, blueberry, lime, beet. 

By the end, I have no idea what the <bleep> I was combining, but all tasted good, so there's that. 

One combination I made another day, that I wanted to mention was a Virgin Bloody Mary: juiced some grape tomatoes from my garden, added celery, red pepper, basil, kale, lemon and a dash of sriracha for fun. It was really quiet yummy. 

Another yummy option that TS made first was honeydew melon, kiwi, spinach. I tried it and did honeydew, kiwi, zucchini and lime. Very light and very refreshing!

In short, you can really think creatively and work to stretch your tastes. I've really enjoyed juicing so far, and feel like I am stepping outside comfort zones with my combinations. 

If it helps, when I started I made the matrix below, to jump-start my brain on choices. This is by no means, comprehensive, but just a tool I created for me to help shopping. 
Quick final notes:
- Remember beets tend to make themselves known through your waste products.....I know it's gross, but don't want anyone to freak out after using the lav.........
- If you have sensitive teeth, low-enamel on your teeth and/or are prone to heartburn - watch the use of citrus. 
- Have fun!!!!

If you juice already, I'd love to hear what your favorite juice combinations are. 

If you don't, and have questions, please feel free to leave your question in the comments or email me at anamcara1004 (at) gmail.com. 

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