The healthy habit of juicing can provide you and your family with several nutritional benefits while saving up to hundreds of dollars annually that may be otherwise spent at the grocery store on less fresh juice.
To make sure you get the most out of your new juicing regime, you’ll want to learn a bit about how juicers work, what types there are out there, and what vegetables and fruits are best to use with them. Read on to get started today!
How Do I Choose The Right Juicer?
There are a few important considerations to make before purchasing a juicer. Are you juicing for weight loss, or a way to consume healthy raw nutrients? Juicers can be quite expensive and it’s worth it to make sure you’re getting the best value out of your machine as possible.
Firstly, you will want to consider your budget. Automatic juicers can range from as little as $40 all the way up to $1000 for commercial units. A manual juicer can cost as little as $10 if you plan on only using it infrequently or as a compliment to food recipes.
As with most appliances, paying a bit more for a higher quality machine that is sold by a reputable company can save you lots of money in the long run, since this juicer will last longer. Be prepared to spend approximately $60 to $200 on your first juicer if you’re looking for a reliable machine that will last at least a few years.
Educating yourself on juicer maintenance can be handy before investing as well. If you’re busy and often on the go, it may be inconvenient to get a juicer that has several little pieces that need to be cleaned. You could opt to buy a unit with less complex pieces and easier cleanup, or get one that comes with small specialty brushes that make cleanup a breeze.
All juicers are not created equally, and some have a better ability to remove liquid from plant material than others. If you’re investing in a juicer to save money and stop paying for expensive store made juices, it may be a priority to find a juicer with high efficiency extraction. This way you’ll get a higher yield of juice and won’t have to buy as much produce.
If you do have a unit that is unable to extract all of the juice, one simple tip is to run the produce (or pulp) through the machine 2 to 3 times. Make sure to regularly touch your leftover pulp to get a sense of how much moisture or juice is left in it. The top juicers will produce a bone dry pulp and will extract nearly all of the liquid in the plant.
What Types Of Juicer Should I Get?
There are three types of juicers you can consider, each offering their own benefits and drawbacks.
A manual juicer doesn’t require electricity, is easy to store, easy to clean, and affordable to purchase. This type of juicer is great for occasional juicers, such as those who want to add a small amount of lemon to their water or want a glass of fresh orange juice once in a while. It’s also ideal for those who want to extract small amounts of fresh juice for cooking purposes.
While this type of device is an excellent choice for a beginning juicer, it may not be a great long term solution, since it will take a tremendous amount of effort and time to juice large quantities or daily. They’re also not very effective for juicing plants such as leafy greens, wheatgrass, or celery. They primarily work with citrus fruits.
A masticating juicer is also known as a cold-pressed juicer. This means that the machine does not heat up, which is important because heat can remove nutrients from your juice by “cooking” them and breaking them down. This type of juicer works very similarly to how your own teeth do. They slowly crunch and grind the plant material, seeds, and pits release liquid and locked up vital nutrients.
These juicers will create a more nutritious juice that can be stored in your fridge for up to 3 days. Since they don’t use a fast strong engine, they are also much quieter than other mechanized juicers, perfect for those who want to juice early in the morning without waking anyone else up, or for use during nap times.
However, these machines do produce juice very slowly and may not be best for those looking for a quick cup of juice, or the capacity to make a large amount of juice for several of people without it taking a long time.
These common and effective juicing machines can create a large amount of juice quickly, making them the most efficient choice time wise. They work very similarly to a blender or food processor using small spinning blades to dice up the plant material.
In addition to making juice faster, these juicers are also a fantastic value, and you can get a good quality machine for much cheaper than a masticating juicer. However, this process releases a lot of heat into your juice, which can reduce the amount of antioxidants in your final product. To make sure you get the most nutritional value from these machines, make sure to drink the juice as soon as possible, preferably within an hour of extraction.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Juicing?
Citrus is both a powerhouse of nutrients and a family favorite. It’s high in phytonutrients, carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids, which are all types of antioxidants that can help detoxify your body. The high amounts of vitamin C helps to strengthen your immune system, which is particularly useful during flu season or before travelling.
Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, which is protein that strengthens your skin, muscles, and joints. Consistent intake of this important vitamin may reduce signs of tissue damage and aging over time.
Wheatgrass should not be confused with the same stuff that grows in your lawn. This plant is the young sprouting wheat plant, and has a much higher density of nutrients than the matured wheats you’re used to eating in cereals and flours.
Wheatgrass includes nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. In addition to aiding in a healthy diet, many of these minerals have antimicrobial properties that can help the body defend itself against infections.
There is a good amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting that wheatgrass can significantly help reduce inflammation in the stomach, helping minimize symptoms such as bloating and diarrhea. These anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries and improve cholesterol.
Juicing Leafy Greens
The sky’s the limit when it comes to juicing leafy greens. If you mix up the types of greens you use on a regular basis, you will take in a full spectrum of nutrients and get the highest benefit from your juicer possible.
Kale may improve cholesterol and heart disease symptoms with regular use. Spinach is a little-known source of protein that can support strength and muscular growth. Dandelion greens are a great natural remedy for allergies and help to level out blood sugar levels for consistent energy throughout the day.
If you or those in the family can’t handle the bitterness of these greens, they can be easily juiced alongside apples, celery, ginger, and lemon to balance out their flavors.
Celery is one of the most popular vegetables to juice and their are several juicing regimens one can find online or in a book that promise glowing skin, digestive health, and much more. Just one serving of celery juice will provide you with a daily amount of vitamin K. It also has a high concentration of minerals and electrolytes, which help the body to stay hydrated throughout the day.
As you can see, there are many juicing options for different budgets, lifestyles, and palettes. Taking the time to assess your personal nutritional needs, those of your family, and your budget will help you to make a good decision for your first juicer purchase.
You’ll surely enjoy the health benefits of fresh squeezed juice as much as you’ll enjoy the flavors, which are of an exceptional quality to anything you could buy, made in the convenience of your own home. Enjoy!
Guest Author Bio
Rachel Dennis is the founder and author of City Homesteads, a blog that explores ideas of homesteading, gardening, and sustainable practices in urban, suburban, and office environments. She received her MFA from The University of Hartford where she studied cultural and ecological sustainability in the arts.
Rachael has taught several workshops and courses on fermentation, natural medicine-making, and other self-sufficiency skills in Chicago and Austin. In her free time, Rachel loves making art, being in nature, and experimenting with new cooking and homesteading techniques.