Getting Started: Juicing
I am often asked, “I want to start juicing but, what do I need to get started?” Here are some tips that have helped me to make juicing a part of my daily routine.
Tip 1. Get the right tools
If you are going to get serious about juicing, you will need to get the right tools. The tools we recommend are an apple corer, a scraper, a peeler, a small knife, an 8″ chef’s knife, and a cutting board. An example of these tools are shown in the picture on the right. The apple corer shown here is one of my favorite tools. It simultaneously removes the core of apples or pears while cutting the fruit into pieces that should fit into almost any juicer chute.
Be sure to purchase sharp, plain edge knives and keep them sharpened. A dull knife is unsafe when dealing with produce. The knife movement used to prepare produce for juicing is a pushing or pressing motion. Serrated (jagged edged) knives are best used in a sawing motion, the motion used to cut bread and meat. For this reason, OTGH does not recommend the use of serrated knives for prepping produce for juicing. OTGH recommends sharp, plain edge knives for preparing produce. We have found inexpensive good quality knives at IKEA. Using the right tools can prevent frustration and unnecessary blood-letting.
Tip 2. Get a good juice extractor not a blender
You will need a juice extractor in order to prepare the recipes in the Juice section of our site. Juice extractors, a.k.a. ‘juicers’, separate the flesh of the fruit or vegetable from its juice. Juice extractors should not to be confused with blenders and ‘food emulsifiers’ that make fruit and vegetable purees or smoothies. The ideal juicer separates the produce into a rich smooth juice and a dry (stiff of fluffy) pulp. Blender commercials like to blur the lines between juicers and blenders in order to sell their machines. Blenders and juicers serve different purposes and should not be confused. I recommend starting off with a reasonably priced juicer around $100.
I literally made more than 500 juices in a year with my 11-year-old Jack Lalanne juicer. Times have changes and so have the features. If you are new to juicing the whole thing can be quite confusing. There are a lot of opinions on which juicer is best. I will not dive into the fray, but I can say the following based on my experience:
- Lower price juicers tend to have smaller chutes and can be real a pain to use due to all extra food prep required to cut produce to fit into a small chute.
- Centrifugal juicers, like the Breville Juice Fountain or the Jack Lalanne Power Juicer, can cause the nutrients to dissipate more quickly than other juicing methods. It is believed that the high-speed blades in centrifugal juicers can slightly heat and aerate the produce during the juicing process and consequently expedite the oxidation of the juice. Depending on the source, most of the nutrients in the juice produced by centrifugal juicers are lost in a matter of minutes or hours after preparation. For this reason some juicer manufacturers offer variable speed juicers like the Breville Juice Fountain (shown on the right).
Centrifugal juicers have the advantage of being fast. However, juicers that press or slowly masticate the produce (with gears or an auger) do not aerate the juice as much and are believed to allow the nutrients in the juice to persist for up to 2-3 days. While on my fast, I could barely tell the difference between the juice I drank in the morning fresh out of the juicer and one I juiced in the morning when kept cold in my cooler until later in the afternoon. In general, I recommend consuming all fresh juices within 24-36 hours of preparation for maximum benefit.
- I also own a single auger masticating juicer known as ‘The Champion.’ The Champion is a classic, heavy-duty juicer with a cult-like following. I purchased it over a decade ago but I did not use this juicer during my fast because it has a very small chute and was slower than the Jack Lalanne.
- I have coached others who have used the Omega VRT-350 juicer on a long fast. The Omega VRT is a vertical single auger juicer. Those who used the machine liked its craftsmanship and the quality of the juice it produced. The Omega VRT-350 is highly efficient in that it produces a very dry pulp however, like other masticating juicers, it is slow and additional prep is required in order to fit produce into the chute.
Tip 3. Get a good recipe book.
It can be very discouraging to buy a great juicer and get all the gear, only to make terrible tasting juice. While the persistent may not give up that easily, finding the right combinations can waste a lot of time and money. A good juice recipe book is a great way to minimize waste and to have a good initial experience with juicing. For the beginner, we recommend The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies by Natalie Savona shown on the right. It is a beautifully illustrated book, sure to get your taste buds flowing and excited about trying the next recipe. Recipes are sorted by the dominant fruit or vegetable in the recipe. The intended effect of each recipe on the body is also outlined.
Tip 4. Increase your knowledge of fruits and vegetables.
Not all fruit and vegetable juices have the same effect on the body. Some fruits and vegetables are known for detoxification, some for energy, some immunity, some for skin or digestive health. Natalie Savona’s book can help increase your knowledge in this area. Click here to purchase The Big Book of Juices on Amazon.com
Tip 5. Know what to juice.
There are an unlimited number of juicing recipes on the Internet. It is important to know which juices make sense for your goals. If you are wondering what to juice and what not to juice on your weight loss program check out our post, “Juices To Avoid While Fasting.”