Juicing and Blending Basics

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From Using a Juicer to Picking the Best Ingredients, Here's the Everything Guide to Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Drinks.

Category:
Healthy

Carrot-Orange Juice

For the juice obsessed, the smoothie fanatic, the blender beginner or the juicing novice, here’s how to enhance your experience and get the most out of both your appliances and your ingredients. Because whether you’ve resolved to break out your blender or break out of your rut, know that there are two trends that have withstood the test of time: trying new things and eating your veggies.

The Appliances

Juicers

There are two kinds of juicers: masticating and centrifugal.

Masticating juicers, which are a little slower, “chew” the produce to separate solid from liquid, which is moderately more efficient at getting every last drop of juice out.

Centrifugal models spin the fruit and vegetables around to separate juice from pulp, which is faster than masticating.

Blenders

As far as blenders go, there are high-performance blenders and regular blenders.

High-performance machines let you incorporate harder products such as nuts easily. They also puree foods at incredibly high speeds, and they may even have preprogrammed settings for super-efficient blending.

Regular blenders tend to be much more affordable and a bit less powerful than high-performance machines — many are daunted by ice or nuts — so if you have one, use the tricks below to make blending a breeze.

Prep and Cleanup

Consider color: Never underestimate the power of visual appeal. Combine ingredients of similar color to create vibrant concoctions that look as great as they taste.

Shoot for seasonal and organic whenever possible: Almost everything tastes better both local and in season. If you can afford organic, go for it, especially for delicate berries or anything without a skin that you discard.

Wash your produce: Thoroughly wash your produce (even if it’s organic). Since you’re not cooking or pasteurizing the juice, it’s a handy way to reduce bacteria.

The myth about pith: When juicing citrus, peel the fruits well, but leave behind a little white pith. It can be mildly bitter, but it also contains pectin and bioflavonoids, which help the body absorb vitamin C.

Build a better smoothie: Add smoothie ingredients in a specific order so your blender operates as efficiently as possible. From first to last: harder (nuts, seeds, dried and frozen fruits), softer (nut butters, fresh fruits and vegetables), powdered (cacao, protein, supplements), liquid (the choice is yours). Ice can be added at any time.

Get the most out of your greens: Pack leafy greens in between juicier items like apples or cucumbers to help get the most juice out of them. Or, if you have multiple speed settings, tightly pack your greens into balls that fit into the feed chute and juice them on low speed.

A tough nut to crack: Want to incorporate nuts into your smoothies but don’t have a high-powered blender? Soak the nuts in water for at least 2 hours and up to a day and blend with liquid.

Sweeten your smoothies with something different: Dried fruit (like dates) are great for adding sweetness. For extra-smooth blending, soak them in water for up to 20 minutes to rehydrate them before adding to the carafe.

Make the most of your pulp: Juicing leaves behind a lot of pulp, but it doesn’t have to end up in the trash. Consider using your pulp in baked goods or soups. Carrot muffins, anyone?

Drinking

Consume drinks quickly: Fresh juices and smoothies deteriorate and oxidize with extended exposure to air, so drink them soon after you juice them.

Eat your vegetables — or drink a few: Juicing is a great way to round out your daily fruit and vegetable intake, but definitely don’t forget about whole fruits and vegetables either.