Juicing Fruits and Vegetables*
Why Drink Fresh, Raw Juice?
In 1970, I went on a fast that lasted 26 days (read article on fasting). When the fast naturally reached completion, I broke it by carefully following the prescribed regimen. This regimen involved slowly drinking small quantities of vegetable and fruit juices at regular intervals during the first few days. I did not own a juicer and had to drink bottled juices. These juices, while high in quality, were unfortunately not fresh and raw. I therefore bought a juicer and started to make my own juices from raw carrot, celery, apple, etc. The difference was profound. Almost immediately after drinking the fresh, raw juice, I could actually feel the beneficial effects of the nutrients entering my blood stream and cells.
Even if commercial juice manufacturers use fresh and high-quality produce for their juice, the juice must be first pasteurized if it is to be bottled and then sit on a supermarket or health-food-store shelf. Heating the juice damages the nutrients and enzymes. Storing juice in clear-glass bottles that allow light to pass through causes it to deteriorate further. By the time you drink it, the juice is a mere shadow of its former self.
What to Juice?
My favorites, in order of preference, are pineapple, carrot, and celery. However, almost any other fruit or vegetable can be juiced. I have tried each of the following juices over the years: turnip, cabbage, apple, coconut, watermelon, tomato, beet, spinach, grape, sweet red pepper, and cucumber. Of course, fruits such as watermelon or banana, which practically need no chewing, really do not need to be juiced. The more difficult the food is to chew, the more benefit juicing it confers. Thus, carrots are ideal.
If you are going to make juice from a combination of fruits or vegetables, make sure that the mixture is compatible with the principles of food combining.
How a Juicer Works
Do not confuse a juicer with a blender, which only grates and neither extracts or separates any liquid from the grated pulp. Juicers all have a circular grater and basket, spun at a high rate by a strong motor. The spinning basket centrifugally extracts the liquid portion from the grated pulp in much the same manner as a washing machine extracts water from clothes during the spin cycle.
Comparisons of Types of Juicers
An Acme Supreme Juicerator® that I bought in 1970 and have used extensively, which still runs perfectly.
There are two main types of juicers. In one type, the spinning basket has vertical walls that retain the pulp in the basket until you empty it (shown above). In the other type, the basket has outward-sloping walls that cause the pulp to be centrifugally expelled into an external bin. Here are the relative advantages of the two types:
The type with a vertical-walled basket can produce only a limited amount of juice—usually about one quart—before the basket needs to be emptied. Emptying the basket requires first bringing the juicer to a stop and then dismantling it. Because of the inertia of the moist pulp, the basket tends to spin for a long time before coming to a stop. For the type with sloped walls, only the bin needs to be emptied, and since the basket is essentially free of pulp, it comes to a stop almost immediately. Thus if you are frequently going to make more than a quart of juice at one time, the sloped-wall type is advantageous in this respect.
Next, lets say you are going to make two different types of juices in quick succession, say carrot and then pear. With the juicer with vertical walls, unless you empty the basket, the pear juice will have to pass through the pulp of the carrot juice. Whether you like it or not, the pear juice will have some carrot juice in it. Even if you are making juice from only one ingredient, all the juice must pass through the pulp of the vertical-walled juicer, making the juice come out slower.
If you are going to make a small amount of juice twice in succession, with a few-hours gap in between, you will need to clean the vertical-walled type in between. The reason is that the new juice will have to pass through the remaining pulp, which by now, will have started to support the growth of bacteria and yeast. This problem is nonexistent with the sloped-walled type.
When it is time to clean the sloped-walled type your work will be made quite a bit more difficult than with the vertical-walled type because it has a more complex shape.
Most people I know (including myself) find that the greatest deterrent to making juice is the thought of cleaning the juicer. Therefore, unless you expect to make a lot of juice at one time or small amounts with intervals between, I recommend the vertical-walled type.
Choosing and Preparing Produce for Juicing
Fruits and vegetables start to deteriorate as soon as they are picked. Some but not all of this deterioration is retarded by refrigeration. Carrots and other root vegetables store well in the refrigerator, but the stalks and leaves of vegetables do not last very long. Also, some produce has already been stored for a period of time before sale. Therefore, juice produce as soon as possible after picking or purchasing it.
If you buy carrots from which the tops have already been removed, their degree of freshness is revealed by how green the remaining tops are. Carrots packed in plastic bags in the produce section of the supermarket may have been picked many months before. The width of the carrots is also a factor; very thin carrots take a long time to scrub and feed into the juicer, and fat ones take less time to scrub but need to be sliced in order to fit into the mouth of the juicer. The best size is the widest that can fit without having to be sliced.
It is definitely disadvantageous to peel fruits or root vegetables because much of the nutritive value is just below the skin. The skins should be scrubbed with a natural-fiber brush made for that purpose. Also, any dirt or decayed spots should be carefully removed.
There is a controversy over whether organically grown carrots are any different from ordinary carrots. Even if the difference is small, the effect escalates in proportion to the volume of food consumed. While I have no way of testing foods for pesticides, I do find that organically grown produce usually tastes better. At least for carrots, organic ones are not much more expensive than non-organic ones.
A natural-fiber brush for scrubbing vegetables.
Making the Juice
Always let the juicer come up to speed before juicing anything. Never force it to the point where the rotational rate noticeably decreases. Forcing the juicer strains the motor and also produces large chunks of pulp that throw the juicer off balance. If the juicer does become unbalanced, turn it off immediately, and, after it stops, remove all the pulp or merely that portion of pulp causing the problem. If you observe these cautions, your juicer will last much longer.
Big-Endians Versus Little-Endians
There are different opinions about which end of a carrot should be inserted into a juicer—the big end or the small end. I find that tapered items such as carrots are better fed through the juicer wide end first. Inevitably, the last bit does not get grated and passes through, unbalancing the juicer. The smaller the diameter of that last piece, the smaller the unbalancing effect. Try it both ways and decide for yourself.
When to Drink the Juice
Raw juices (or, for that matter, any juices) should be consumed only on an empty stomach. After consuming the juice, don’t eat anything until the stomach empties. Raw juices, drunk slowly, require little digestion and, consequently, are absorbed and assimilated very quickly. Mixing juice with food that takes hours to digest retards the digestion of the juice. Since the juice ferments quickly at body temperature, less-than-optimal results will occur.
How to Drink the Juice
Just imagine how much chewing you would have to do to eat the quantity of carrots in a glass of carrot juice. Chewing the carrots would have caused a substantial quantity of saliva to be secreted and then mixed with them. Therefore, slowly “chew” your juice, savoring it by allowing it to float in the mouth and combine with saliva like an expert tastes wine. Gulping any liquid—even water—should never be done. If you want to learn how to drink juice, just watch a cat lapping water, savoring every drop. In any case, never drink more than 16 ounces of juice at any one time.
Refrigeration of Juice
As soon as the juice is made, it immediately starts to oxidize and undergo bacterial decomposition. Therefore, any juice not drunk within a few minutes should be promptly refrigerated. If you expect to store a portion of juice, refrigerate the raw materials beforehand. This procedure ensures that the juice will spend as little time as possible at an undesirable temperature.
If juice is stored, use a clean glass bottle. Wearing neoprene gloves, sterilize the bottle by pouring in a small amount of chlorine bleach, covering it, and then shaking it well for a few seconds. Pour out the bleach and rinse a few times with water, each time shaking the bottle vigorously and draining it completely. After the last rinse, briefly fill the bottle to the brim with cold water to displace any vapor. Then make sure that there is no trace of any odor of bleach.
As soon as the juice is bottled, temporarily place it in the freezer to cool it as quickly as possible. If the juice is to be frozen, use a plastic container and leave space for expansion.
Cleaning the Juicer
I try not to put off this less-than-enjoyable task; otherwise, the juicer becomes difficult to clean. The following instructions are for the Acme Supreme Juicerator shown above.
Once the juicer comes to a stop, do not immediately dismantle it—just remove the top cover. Then use a heavy spoon to remove the bulk of the pulp from the basket while rotating it by hand. Next the juicer can be completely dismantled. It is permissible to wash the outer parts with hot water (detergent is unnecessary unless you juiced an oil-containing food such as carrot or coconut), but use only cold water on the basket. Hot water expands the entrapped fibers, making them even more difficult to remove. To clean the basket, rest it on its side in the sink and rotate it under running water, use a sponge to push the fibers back toward the inside. A toothbrush is useful for getting out stubborn fibers. Sponge off the fibers from the inside, and rinse.
Reassemble the juicer, bring it up to speed, and flush out any remaining residue with a glass or two of cold water. Then aerate the juicer by letting it spin for a few more seconds, tilting it to pour out any remaining water. Dry the outside and put the juicer away.
When you start to use a juicer, you will naturally want to try juicing every fruit and vegetable imaginable—even some you never ate before. Anything new or that you have not eaten for a long time should be consumed sparingly. Allow your body to adjust to a new food over days, weeks, and months, no matter how good it may taste.
Unfortunately, even some vegetables that you are used to eating can cause an adverse reaction when juiced. Juiced vegetables are in their most potent form and can too easily be consumed in relatively large amounts. Some vegetables, though nutritious, may stimulate toxins in the body to be released into the circulatory system too quickly. Juice made from beets, beet tops, parsley, spinach, kale, collards, cabbage, turnips, turnip greens, or mustard greens are said to be in this category and should be taken very sparingly and cautiously. Moreover, it is good to be aware that if you do drink juice made from beets, your feces and urine will naturally be colored red.
Because of their high oxalic acid content, Swiss chard and leaves of celery should probably not be eaten, let alone juiced.
About thirty years ago, a neighbor, aged sixteen years, was hospitalized with brain cancer. A woman living on the block told me in confidence, “I’m a nurse at that hospital, and none of us there expect him to live for long after the surgery.” When my neighbor returned from the hospital, he was extremely weak—not even strong enough to get out of a chair. I made some fresh carrot juice and brought it to him. Within a few minutes after drinking it, he was up and around. I lent the juicer to his mother, who made him carrot juice several times a day. Now, thirty years later, he is still alive and energetic. Perhaps the carrot juice helped; he believes it did, and I think that he may be right.
*From Robert Chuckrow, The Intelligent Dieter’s Guide, Rising Mist Publications, Briarcliff Manor, NY, 1997.
©Copyright 1997 by Robert Chuckrow
More Articles on Nutrition and Health
Book on Optimal Nutrition and Weight-Loss