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- 1 How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables
- 2 How to Prepare Produce for Juicing
- 3 Should you juice the peels?
- 4 Juice Recipe Builder
- 5 Juicing Your Produce
- 6 Getting the Most Out of Your Juice
- 7 Using Your Juicer
- 8 Centrifugal vs Masticating Juicers
- 9 Conclusion
Juicing at home is a simple and efficient way to get the powerful nutrition of natural fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
The USDA recommends people consume 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily (based on 2,000 calories diet). If you don’t eat this recommended amount, then adding juice made from fruits and veggies to your eating plan can help fill the gap.
We put together a list of juicing tips for beginners. Even if you have been juicing for a while you might pick up a couple of helpful tips.
How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables
All produce must be washed, even if it is to be peeled. Contaminants such as dirt and bacteria can be transferred from the peel to the inside of the fruit, vegetable or herb.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after washing produce.
- Clean countertops, cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water.
- Examine produce and cut away damaged or bruised areas.
- Under running water rub produce with your hands to remove exterior contaminants.
- A vegetable brush can also be used for fruits and vegetables that have a hard rind or firm skin (apple, potato, cucumber, melon). Do not use bleach or dish soap solutions as they can become absorbed or trapped in the pores of the produce.
- Dry produce with a paper towel or clean cloth.
- Discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.
Can baking soda remove pesticides?
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry published a study comparing the effectiveness of Clorox, baking soda solution and tap water in removing pesticide residues from apples.
The pesticides applied to the apples were thiabendazole and phosmet. Apples containing thiabendazole and phosmet were immersed in a 10mg/mL* baking soda solution and rinsed using freshwater. It took 12 and 15 minutes to completely remove the thiabendazole and phosmet surface residues respectively. However, it was not entirely effective in removing residues inside the apple peel.
The same test was applied using water alone and Clorox Bleach. The results showed that baking soda and water is more effective in removing the pesticides, thiabendazole and phosmet, from the apple surface, than using water alone or Clorox Bleach.
*The concentration used was about one teaspoon of baking soda per cup of water.
How to Prepare Produce for Juicing
Produce should be prepped before being placed in the chute. Some people chop celery to ensure the tough strands don’t clog the juicer while others feed the stalk into the chute.
Produce with hard seeds or pits should always be removed before juicing, as they have trace amounts of compounds that can be dangerous and potentially toxic. Always remove the peel of citrus fruits, kiwi, produce that has been waxed or those with hard or edible skins.
Some people prepare their produce the day before they make juice. They wash, pre-cut produce such as carrots, beets, pineapple, store it in glass jars or Ziploc bags and refrigerate. Sometimes I juice the night before and place the juice in these glass containers. If you store juice in a container be sure to fill it to the top so there is little to no air. Also, make sure the cap is on tight.
Tips for Preparing Produce
- Core apples
- Examine ginger for mold
- Some people peel ginger while others don't;either way, examine it for mold.
- If you peel ginger, use a spoon.
- Peel garlic
- Juice only leaves of parsley and mint (not stems)
- Remove the stem of bell pepper and zucchini
- Leafy tops of celery can be juiced
- Cucumbers that are not waxed don’t need to be peeled
- Cilantro stems and leaves can be juiced
- Soft produce will process easier if it is refrigerated prior to juicing
- Cut carrots lengthwise if they are thick
Should you juice the peels?
The answer to this question depends in part on the type of juicer you will be using. It's best to check the user manual before juicing citrus fruits. The Breville manuals for centrifugal juicers explicitly state to remove the rind from all citrus fruit before juicing.
Another factor to consider is whether the peel produces an undesirable taste in the juice. Some people don’t care for the peel taste in their juice as they find it bitter.
If you have a juicer that can handle citrus peels, be sure to wash the fruit thoroughly to remove pesticide residues and other materials from the peel.
Most juicers can handle the peels of these fruits and vegetables:
- Cucumber (non-waxed)
As long as the juicer can handle beets, juicing its skin is a matter of preference, as some folks don’t care for the taste of unpeeled beets.
The rind of a ripe watermelon can be juiced or removed before juicing. If you juice a watermelon that isn’t ripe, it won’t have much flavor.
In addition, the ripening stage of watermelon is one factor in the concentration of lycopene, an antioxidant.
An article published in The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis describes the testing of five types of watermelons at four different stages of ripeness. These stages were white, white-pink, pink, and red-ripe). The data showed that the riper the watermelon, the more beta carotene and lycopene were found in the test samples.
Here’s how to tell if a watermelon is ripe.
We recommend removing the rind of cantaloupe since the rind tends to contain pesticides and bacteria.
When preparing the fruits and veggies for juicing, if possible, keep the skin intact. This allows you to get the most nutrients from your food.
Juice Recipe Builder
Use a variety of ingredients
Although you will have favorite juice recipes, don't forget to vary the ingredients and develop additional juice formulas. This ensures that you are consuming a variety of nutrients. Also, you won’t get burned out and decide to stop juicing.
Mix fruits and vegetables
It is important to be aware of the portion size and calorie count of the produce you juice. If you are juicing to add more nutrition to your diet, make sure your juice has more vegetables than fruits. When I combine fruits and veggies I only have one serving of sugary fruit and vegetables (lemons and limes don’t count).
If you are following the keto diet, you can add some healthy fat to low carb vegetables. There is more information here about vegetables that have a low net carb value. In the long run, if you are going to juice greens such as kale, spinach, and lettuce on a regular basis, a masticating juicer is a good investment. These comprehensive reviews delve into the features, capabilities, and pros and cons of masticating juicers.
If you taste as you juice, you can make adjustments as necessary.
For some folks including children the color of a drink or food is important. For example, colorwise, it is better to pair greens with an apple than greens and strawberries.
What not to juice
While it may seem like you can juice almost anything, there are a few items that should not be juiced. Foods with a low water content do not juice well. Coconut and grains, while delicious, do not yield satisfying juice. Avocado, banana, and eggplant also do not juice well.
When juicing, the natural sugars are separated from the fiber. Juice made solely with fruits is absorbed very quickly and elevates blood sugar quickly. This results in a large release of insulin from the pancreas, which then causes a fast drop in blood sugar.
Even though citrus fruits can be a bit time consuming to prepare for juicing, it is worth it because they are delicious and loaded with essential vitamins. Adding a squeeze of lime, lemon, orange, or grapefruit wedges to your finished juice enhances the flavor, and adds even more vitamins and nutrients to your juice.
Juice containing only green vegetables is usually lower in sugar and calories than fruits. Leafy greens are terrific foods to juice as they contain important nutrients. The bitter taste of the greens can be lessened by adding a small amount of lemon.
Some people rotate greens daily, weekly or every couple of weeks. This is a well-written article on why and how to rotate leafy greens.
Herbs like mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil contain important trace minerals and are healthy. They are also delicious and can be juiced just like other greens. Since they have a powerful flavor they are best used in moderation.
- Ginger (I only use a ½ inch)
Juicing Your Produce
The Omega NC800-NC900 User Manual suggests alternating soft (low speed) and hard (high speed) items beginning with the soft item. This helps clean out the residue of the less firm produce. The following is an example of this process.
- High water content - celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce (low speed)
- Soft fruits or veggies such as melons, grapes, mangoes, tomatoes. (low speed)
- Herbs and leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach)
- Ginger, other add-ons
- Harder produce such as apples, carrots, beets (high speed)
- Lemons, limes
- Leafy greens
- Apples, carrots, beets
If you are only interested in making fresh orange juice, then a citrus juicing machine is a great choice.
Tips for Juicing Specific Foods
- Insert thinner part of carrot first
- Insert stems of leafy greens first
- Juice small quantities of wheatgrass
- Ways to juice greens
- Wrap them to form a bundle and juice using low speed.
- Put them between 2 ingredients and juice at low speed
Getting the Most Out of Your Juice
Drink fresh juice immediately
When produce is cut, the cell wall is disrupted. The cells inside the plant are exposed to oxygen in the air. This produces chemical and biochemical reactions one of which is oxidation. When oxidation occurs, there is a loss of nutritional value and sometimes browning. Therefore, the greatest nutritional benefits of juice are realized if it is consumed immediately after making it. 
Never let your juice get warm, or it may attract bacteria. If a masticating juicer or twin gear juicer is used, juice can be stored in an airtight container (fill it to the top) in a refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Juice from a centrifugal juicer can only last up to 24 hours in a refrigerator.
Using a straw to drink your juice or soda limits the amount of liquid that comes into contact with your teeth. This cuts down on staining and tooth decay.
Should I drink green juice on an empty stomach?
Many internet articles claim green juice should be consumed on an empty stomach in the morning. Sometimes they tell you why and sometimes not.
The most common rationale given is that if there is no food in your stomach, then the nutrients will be fully digested and absorbed quickly. Conversely, if you drink it before or with meals, it won’t be properly digested and all the nutrients won’t be absorbed. Although this makes sense, I haven’t been able to find scientific evidence to support this.
Fruit juice and bedtime
Consuming fruits before bedtime can cause a lot of sugar to be released which then leads to an increase in energy. Ideally, you’ll want your body to slow down when you are getting ready to go to bed.
Use the pulp elsewhere
Leftover pulp from your homemade juice can be used in a variety of ways. A few examples are adding to soup and baked goods. We have an article on the many ways to use leftover pulp.
Combining juicing and blending
If you want your diet to include the fiber from produce, you can juice the vegetables and add that juice to the blender containing fruits.
The fiber content is beneficial because it regulates digestion and you won’t be as apt to overeat since will feel full longer. Additionally, dietary fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease. In a Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals, researchers concluded that fiber, independent of fat intake was an important dietary component for preventing coronary disease.
For more information on juicing, check out our article on juicing pros and cons.
Using Your Juicer
Only use the plunger that comes with your juicer
Almost all juicers come with a plunger or pusher. They are designed to fit the precise make and model of juicer they come with and are not interchangeable. Using the wrong plunger can break the plunger, or even break your juicer. To extract the most homemade juice, push the plunger down slowly.
Line the pulp container
Cleanup will be a lot easier if you put a plastic grocery bag (if you are going to discard the pulp) or wrap (if you are going to use it in other foods) in the collection bin of the juicer. After the produce is juiced, the bag can be discarded or the pulp in the wrap can be placed in a container for future use.
Even though citrus fruits can be a bit time consuming to prepare for juicing, it is worth it because they are delicious and loaded with essential vitamins. Adding a squeeze of lime, lemon, orange, or grapefruit wedges to your finished juice enhances the flavor, and adds even more vitamins and nutrients to your juice. We have a list of fruits and vegetables that are great to juice.
Clean your juicer right away
Juicers can get stained, and dried pulp and plant fibers can be extremely difficult to remove. This is especially true of the filter basket. If the pores are clogged with dried pulp, cleaning it becomes more difficult than if the filter was soaked in water for about 10 minutes and then thoroughly cleaned.
By cleaning your juicer right away, or at least soaking the parts in water, you can prevent later problems with the machine and keep it in peak condition. The use and care manual has information on which parts are dishwasher safe.
MY LATEST JUICE VIDEO
Centrifugal vs Masticating Juicers
A centrifugal juicer has a mesh filter basket that is attached to the motor coupling. When ingredients pushed down the chute, they are forced against the rapidly spinning basket. The small blades on the bottom of the basket cut and process the ingredients. The juice goes through the small holes in the basket and into the juice pitcher. The mesh screen filters the pulp which then falls into the pulp container.
Masticating juicers are also referred to as slow, press, or single gear juicers. They have a rotating gear (auger) and a part (often shaped like a cone) that contains a screen (no blade). The auger gently chews, grinds and slowly squeezes the produce as it comes through the chute. Juice goes through the tiny holes in the screen and into the juice pitcher. The pulp is pushed into a separate container.
Fiber is broken down more thoroughly when a masticating juicer is used. This, in turn, releases more nutrients into the juice. Here is a brief comparison of centrifugal and masticating juicers.
Processor or grinder; can make peanut butter, almond milk
Although we drink fresh juice, we also still eat raw and sauteed vegetables for the fiber content. If you aren't too keen on a certain vegetable then you can combine it with a fruit you enjoy. Squeezing a half a lemon into your glass of green juice adds flavor.
Hopefully, these tips for juicing will make preparing and juicing produce easier. Juicing is a great way to save time, improve your health, and explore your own creativity as you discover the juice recipes that work best for your schedule and your body.