It seems like the world is crazy for juicing just now. I had figured it for yet another American health craze for anyone hoping to drop five pounds, but recently I visited the Torvehallerne KBH in Copenhagen (essentially, a gourmet food hall) and even they had a raw juice bar.
I love the concept of juicing - a nice clean, hit of nutrition for a mid-day pick me up or small meal seems like a smart idea. A veg-based juice or a fruit-based smoothie is a blessing for me, as I'm often on the move and don't have time to sit for a proper meal. A hard boiled egg and some beet-kale-apple juice makes for a decent lunch when I leave my house early to get out to gardens, and they are easy to make ahead and toss in my purse. Additionally, I have never been a huge fan of breakfast - something about eating first thing in the morning never appealed to me. So, yeah……juicing has been great.
The problem is, I don't have the money or space for a home juicer. Yes, I know there are small versions and I know everyone swears by their Vitamix, but I figure that I have enough kitchen tools as it and I prefer to work with what I have. If you don't have a juicer at home, don't sweat it. Here's how to make your own with relative ease.
Using a strong blender (or a mini-smoothie maker, like this one), add 1/4 cup of water, a handful of fresh fruit, 1-2 tablespoons peeled & chopped ginger & 3 whole leaf greens. The water helps the fruit and vegetables break up, and allows for easier straining. Process in the blender for 1 minute and turn off. Let mixture sit for one minute, before turning the machine on again and allow to blend for 2 to 3 minutes more. This will seem like an excessive amount of time, but the color will continue to change as the mixture is fully pulverized, promising to extract as much as possible from the fruits and vegetables.
Using a fine mesh strainer set over a deep bowl, pour in the juice and strain, pressing on the solids firmly to extract all moisture. This process takes about 2 minutes total. Use a rubber spatula to fold and press the pulp until it is paste-like and dry and stops releasing juice. Pour the strained juice from the bowl into a drinking class & enjoy!
It is good to note that this process will remove most of the fiber found in the plants skin, membranes and stalks. This fiber is very healthy for you, so you need not strain the juice, if you don't mind the pulp. I prefer a smoother drinking juice, though on occasion I'll add a small spoonful of the pulp back in for good measure. It's up to you!
This is what I blended today - pears offer a natural sweetness and clean flavor, collard greens are more gently flavored than kale leaves (and it's what I had in the pantry!) and I use ginger in my juices because of it's medicinal properties. Ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory AND it tastes fantastic, adding a bit of a spicy kick to drinks.
1 whole pear, stem removed 2 tablespoons peeled & diced ginger 3 collard green leaves, cut into 2-inch wide ribbons 1/4 cup water
*You can add a small spoon of honey or maple syrup to sweeten slightly, if so inclined. Pears are still tasty this time of year, so you really shouldn't need it.