We don’t really buy juice in our household. Occasionally, we will pick up some OJ for mimosas, but that’s pretty rare.
While our go-to thirst-quencher is water, we tend to make a fresh juice for breakfast on weekends. It’s fun, healthy the kids love to help choose ingredients, plus you get to use up some of your less-perky veggies. And most importantly, it tastes *way* better than any sitting-on-a-shelf-for-years-juice you could ever possibly imagine…
All you need is a juicer – any type will do. We have an Omega (low speed, masticating) juicer. There are heaps of types available. Just pick one that’s in your budget and start juicing.
September is coming to an end, so our apple trees are dropping the last of their fruit and the kids have eagerly been collecting the apples. We discussed all sorts of things we could make with the less-than-perfect, sometimes-slightly-eaten-or-bruised apples… apple sauce, apple crumble, apple salad – and eventually settled on some apple juice. With beets, ginger and greens of course…
When making juice with the kids, we like to set out all the ingredients and get them rinsed, chopped and prepared first, so they can see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ visual.
For our family of 4, we typically make about 1 litre of juice for our morning drink.
This juice included:
Beet root, 1 large or 2 small (scrubbed and 1-2″ cut into pieces)
Beet tops/greens and stems, approximately 2 cups or 2 beets-worth (rinsed and cut into 2-3″ pieces)
Apples, approximately 3 large or 6 small (rinsed and chopped into 1-2″ pieces)
Fresh ginger root, about 1 thumb (cut into 1/2″ pieces)
Water, about 2/3 cup
Another thing I love about juicing is that recipes are totally unnecessary. Add some lemon, throw in some fennel, skip the ginger, use kale instead of beet tops – it really doesn’t matter. The kids love adding the ingredients, watching the juice change colour and talking about what they’ll add next time. Fun, educational and it’s only 7:30 am on a Saturday………….. ah, kids.
With juicing you don’t even need to peel or core anything – just rinse and chop to whatever size your juicer can accommodate (some super-juicers can handle a whole apple at a time, but our model requires some minor chopping). For really fibrous and stringy items (like kale, collards and other greens), I tend to chop stems and leaves into shorter sections, rather than stuffing in entire leaves. By cutting down the size of the stems/leaves, your juicer is less likely to get jammed up. We also add small amounts (approx 1 Tbsp at a time) of water to our juicer, particularly after adding fibrous ingredients. This just helps to get the most maximize juice extraction and minimize jams. I really only peel things with thick, tough or inedible rinds, like citrus and melons. Seeds can be left in (lemons, apples, etc.) – OR if you are looking to use the left-over pulp (in muffins, sauce or soup), you can remove the seeds before juicing.
Chopping and sorting through fruits and veggies with the kids also presents a great opportunity for important life lessons (e.g. you can’t judge a book by its cover)… sometimes the lumpiest of apples are perfectly juicy and crisp inside; on the other hand, a seemingly lovely smooth, round apple could be the home of an ant family (destined for the compost).
Lastly, in our family, we tend to strain the juice before serving. While I am happy to have a little pulp and froth remain in my juice, there is a certain adult male who prefers his juice “sans pulpe” (…and so the kids and I immediately devour the delicious juicy fibre and foam with a spoon!)