Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mixology 101

This week I did something different with my juicing. Instead of making up 3 days worth of juices already mixed, I made up pure juices and kept them separate, so I can mix them myself during the day.  First were the base flavors from foods that produce a lot of juice to serve as the "backdrop" to whatever flavors I wanted to add.  I did a large bottle of apple and I had a large bottle of orange and a large bottle of coconut water. I also did two small bottles as the star greens,  one small bottle of parsley juice (about 4 large bunches) and one spice jar size of kale (1 bunch).  This way I can mix as I go depending on what I want and Ian can always have plain fresh apple available.  Though I do find the apple is super strong at full potency so I dilute his by half with water.  He is a purist and not interested in green juice unless its in my glass and I ask him not to drink it....which I do purposely. Kids. 

I had read something that reminded me that iron can only be absorbed in conjunction with Vitamin C and that parsley is very rich in iron, so I thought...parsley and orange...it was delicious!  This morning is apple, coconut water, kale with a twist of lime.  

In the future I could see having one of the base flavors be tomato, cucumber, carrots, or pineapple. With small shot sizes of cilantro,  peppers, celery, and beet.  The possibilities are endless.

I heard, or read, to use a green juice base as the start of a smoothie. I haven't tried this yet, but I am not a fan of thick chewy smoothies, so I think this would lighten up a green smoothie to a place where I might enjoy it.  We'll see..

I am not a fan of commitment or structure and I find that some juice goes to waste if I have the flavors pre-mixed because I am just not in the mood for the same thing I was 2 days before when I made it.  I can mix as I go and have my own personal raw juice bar at my disposal, without having to lug out the juicer every day and deal with the clean up.  Works for me!

A word about juicers...

My first juicer was a Breville Juice Fountain. It is moderately priced, works quickly, juices large pieces of fruit without cutting, and has a relatively quick and easy clean up. This is the juicer I recommend to people starting out and wanting to see if they will enjoy juicing.  It is a centrifugal juicer, so a grater blade rips and shreds the incoming food and the centrifugal action flings the pulp out one side into a waiting container and the juice pours forth from the other.  Most of the lower models of juicer work this way, but they either don't work well, require you to cut the fruit into tiny pieces or clean-up is such a hassle you won't ever want to juice.  The Breville juices VERY quickly, which is nice.  The downsides to this type of juicer is that the pulp is still wet so there is some waste of potential juice and the action of the juicer produces a lot of heat and introduces oxygen which denatures the enzymes so this is a juice that you should ideally plan to drink immediately. Oh, and it sounds like a helicopter is about to land in your kitchen. I have used the well known Jack LaLanne Juicer and found it very cumbersome and a pain to clean.  After 1 year my Breville stopped working and I had gotten what I had wanted to from it and knew I wanted a higher model.  Breville very promptly replaced my juicer and gave me a new one, which I turned around and sold on craigslist to put towards a higher model.  In the interim, I juiced with my Vitamix, which offers the same speed and enzyme destroying oxygen introducing problem as the Breville but it worked for the short term. In the vitamix, I just made an ungodly thick smoothie out of whatever I wanted, poured it all into a nut milk bag and squeeze the juice from the pulp.  By the way, all the pulp from any juicer gets fed to our dogs who have been thriving on 100% raw food since 2001, so none is ever really wasted. Rinds and peels go into the compost. 

I currently have 2 juicers.  After almost a year of Vitamix style juice that progressed to not bothering to juice, I got a GreenStar juicer. This one works by twin gears (with teeth) slowly grinding the food, pushing the very dry pulp out one spout and dripping juice into a waiting glass.  This one does not heat the fruits and veggies in any way, exposes it to very little oxygen so the juices last longer and taste better; up to 3 days in the fridge when properly stored.  The clean up is slightly more labor intensive than the Breville ,but not significantly, and I now only use it 2-3 times a week instead of daily.  Oh and it's quiet!  The GreenStar also can grind nutbutters and makes 'n'ice cream too.  I couldn't be happier with this purchase.  It's only downside is if I am out of juice and am running out the door and want something, it isn't a zippy process.

My second juicer is the Juiceman Jr. I picked up at a yard sale for $3.00, missing the food pusher part that I need to order.  It is your basic centrifugal juicer like the Breville only with less parts.  I picked it up thinking it would go in the RV or I'd pass it on to a friend who wanted to try juicing for a time to see if they like it. I tried it out and it is super fast and easy to clean. So its great for needing something quick while running out the door.  

Here are some of my favorite juices, please feel free to post your favorite combos. I am always looking for new ideas.

Tomato/Red Pepper/Carrot/Parsley/Onion/Garlic with smoked salt and cayenne (V8!)
Apple/Carrot/Ginger - This one is a classic and Evan's favorite.

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