While we don’t deny our love for coffee, however, Kal and I also have another favourite beverage, juice. I don’t mean the pre-packaged sugar filled from concentrate stuff. I mean freshly made veggie and fruit juices that we can make in our own kitchen. So I thought I’d tell you a little about juicing, the equipment we use, what we love and what to avoid.
When I first met Kal the only juices he’d drink were orange or pineapple, preferably a mix of the two. From a cardboard carton, pasteurised and from concentrate. The top two ingredients were listed as water and sugar (meaning it contained more of those than other ingredients). He does drink those still from time to time but I have managed to persuade him to try fresh juice. I think I can safely say he prefers it and requests it whenever we’re buying fruit. Seeing as orange and pineapple juice (as a mix) isn’t that easy to find here in the UK it’s nice to be able to make it fresh for him.
I’d never had great experiences with veggie juices, most can be very bitter or just plain nasty. As a child, I was given a glass of carrot juice as a joke and found it horrible. It was oddly sweet and bitter at the same time with a weird metallic taste. Now I gladly sip my way through a large glass of carrot, beetroot (beets) and various leafy greens without hesitating.
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We use this juicer the Cookworks centrifugal juicer. I was lucky enough to find it on sale after our last juicer broke. It certainly is not the best juicer ever but it works for now. The basic idea of the machine is that the fruit goes in the main chute at the top, juice comes out the spout and the pulp from the other end.
This particular juicer is considered a “whole fruit” juicer, meaning minimal chopping of fruit and vegetables before they can be put through. While it can take whole small apples I still find the need to chop an average sized apple into rough thirds to get it into the chute. I find with leafy greens that I have to pack them between chunks of hard fruit or vegetables.
When buying this I knew from the beginning that what I was buying wasn’t the greatest on the market, however, for the price and compared to what I had been using it is so much better.
- The base has small suction cups that keep it from sliding around and help reduce the noise it makes.
- The pulp collection bin is a really good size.
- The width of the chute means less chopping than previous juicers required.
- It is quieter than previously used juicers.
- Tricky to clean, little nooks that collect bits of pulp which dry rock solid.
- A good stiff brush is required to get the residue out of the sieve section. The tiny holes clog and prevent juice from being separated from the pulp.
- The gap between the lid and the base where the pulp passes through is too narrow. I have to take the lid off often when juicing to clear it.
- The pulp is still quite wet with wasted juice so it is not the most efficient of juicers.
- Despite having two different speed settings, it struggles to produce juice from soft fruits like pineapple.
- The “stainless” steel isn’t. With heavy scrubbing, I can’t get all the yellow and orange stains off the metal. The plastic parts aren’t fairing much better.
- Excess pulp can build up around the rim of the sieve section allowing pulp into the juice. This is a problem that blocks the spout and leads to juice leaking out from between the bowl and base.
As you will notice, the Cons outweigh the Pros quite heavily. Don’t let this put you off from this juicer, however. If you are just starting out and are not sure if you will stick with it or have a very tight budget like us then this will work for you.
If We Didn’t Have a Budget:
On the flip side, I am very lucky to have access to a juicer at work. Behold the Robot Coupe J80. I swear I could put rocks through this thing and get juice out the other end. It’s not as efficient as some available on the market today but good lord is it powerful. You will notice the price tag and feel a little queasy. There are much cheaper better yield juicers available, I just enjoy watching this one at work! If your budget can stretch then I suggest looking into a masticating juicer or “slow” juicer. They don’t use a centrifugal method of extraction and the blades don’t heat up as much, apparently preserving the quality of the juice for longer.
There are several that are endorsed by juicing celebrities such as Jason Vale (The Retro Juicer) or Joe Cross and Heston Blumenthal (Sage Nutri Juicer). Both juicers have their pros and cons and certainly cost more than our little juicer (but a whole lot less than the Robot Coupe!)
When buying your fruit and veggies keep an eye out for a deal. If you have a local farmers market or street market watch out for great bargains, we score huge amounts of beetroot, apples and carrots for next to nothing from them. Discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl are also great for cheap vegetables and fruit and more and more stock organic versions as well.
- When juicing pineapple go slow! Small pieces and wait in between each chunk. This prevents a build up of what is a much thicker juice than apple or carrot.
- When adding beetroot or ginger remember less is more. Both are strong flavours that will overwhelm others.
- Strawberries and pineapples will mask other flavours.
- Watermelon doesn’t yield nearly as much juice as expected.
- Try blending juices with avocado or banana for a thicker, creamier juice.
- Don’t try to juice avocado or banana. It is messy and not juicy!
- If you don’t intend on drinking the juice right away then seal it in an airtight container. I use a metal water bottle and fill it as close to the top as possible to prevent air coming in contact with the juice.
“Orange You Tasty”: (see what I did there?)
- 1 Whole orange, peel cut off, leave the white pith on for extra goodness.
- 2 Whole large carrots, washed.
- 1 Whole apple.
- A small piece of ginger.
Juice it all and drink! Careful with the ginger quantity, it can be rather potent.
“Where Have You Green All My Life?”:
- 1 Whole green apple.
- Half a lime, peel cut off, leave the white pith on for extra goodness.
- Half a cucumber.
- 1 Whole pear.
- 3 leaves of Kale or 2 handfuls of chopped kale.
Cut the apple in half, place on half in the juicer, pack the kale in, then place the other apple half on top. Juice everything else and enjoy!
- 1 whole small beetroot, washed.
- 5-6 Strawberries
- Large wedge of watermelon
- A handful of fresh basil leaves.
The basil adds a really nice flavour to this one I promise! Juice the watermelon in chunks, slowly as it can be quick a thick juice. Pack the basil and strawberries in between two halves of the beetroot then juice.
(I do apologise for the terrible recipe names. Kal loves a good pun so that was for him.)
If this inspires you to try juicing let us know! Or perhaps you are already juicing and want to share any good recipes in the comments below. Either way, we hope you enjoyed our little chat about it all!