Admission. When a friend of mine recently suggested that I could benefit from watching a documentary she had seen, the title made me wonder whether she was pulling my leg - or putting me down. It's called 'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead'- and if you haven't seen it, you should (don't take it personal). All programs, products and people aside, it will- at very least- open your eyes to the world of juicing...
Let's just say that the scene where the Micro-nutrients save the day by busting up the evil Toxins and shining up the Cells until they sparkled and smiled with little *blings* and tiny shouts of joy, was enough to propel me out of bed the following morning so that I too could be a juicer!
Now this isn't just any plop-from-the-concentrate-can kind of juice; no, Sir, we're talking straight from the veg-home-squeezed-nutrient-rich, frothingly fresh JUICE. (WHAAAAAAAAH)
But something that potent can't just be coaxed from a carrot with a reamer. It takes muscle to get to all that goodness. Enter the OMEGA VRT330!
A literal juicing powerhouse masticating machine that gobbles up your fresh produce and spits it out; pulp goes one way, juice, vitamins and micro-nutrients go the other.
Sure, I've had fresh juice before. My first juicer was actually a ten ton (not really, just very sturdy, with reason) - big mouthed - centrifugal juice extractor.
Basically it has a huge plate with sharp teeth which revs up with jet engine spinning speed and flings the chomped up fruit and veggies against a screen that forces the juices to shoot out down a tube to your glass- phew!
It works great for small batches, but once the cavity is full, you have to stop the machine, empty it out and carry on. Plus, a lot of juice is left in the shreds of the fruits and vegetables, and the softer the fruit, the more moosh and mess.
A masticating juicer, on the other hand, has an auger that presses the fruits and veggies against a fine screen, squeezing the maximum amount of juice from the food at a slow rate, allowing the good stuff to stay together in a thick yummy liquid.
You will notice the label on the first picture with two juice glasses, one frothy and thick, the other separated- that's the difference slow juicing makes.
While this looks like separation, it's actually the layers of flavors. This recipe combines fruit and vegetables, adding nutrients from the greens, and blending them with the sweetness of carrot and apple juice. Yum!
Now remember, I'm no expert. My experience is more like 'experimence' and as far as the nutritional value, well all I know is that it just feels good and somewhere deep inside I can hear my tiny cells cheering little hoooorahs. So here are some tips and random learned bits, just in case your just embarking on your own juice journey...
Consider flavor combinations before you start- just randomly adding any and all produce from the fridge can be disastrous: onion-kale-tomato-beet-cabbage juice is not as savory and delicious as I had expected, but did add a nice flavor to a noodley soup dish....
Set up your juicing station before you start. Having a cutting board, knife, juice catcher, spill wiper and all the parts to your juicer ready to go will allow you to continuously feed the fruits in to the juicer with out stops and starts. Don't underestimate the Pusher, he's the MVP of this process and the only one- besides the food- that should be going down that feeder chute- so keep him on your side if you want to keep all your fingers.
Juice in order of hardness: soft foods first, with more dense or crisp to follow so that the the second can press the first through. Same goes for greens. Since they tend to be thin and light, they sometimes get caught up in the feeder chute and mouth of the juicer, so a good solid carrot or apple can help them down into the auger. Also, if you are doing a stringy fruit or vegetable (like celery, pineapple or ginger) save it for the second to last. The fibers tend to back up the ejector, so if you send it through with a nice dense item chasing it, you shouldn't get backed up.
Fruits with higher water content can be sent through more than once to maximize juice extraction. This would include things like melon, citrus, etc. Just catch the pulp as it comes out the ejector and drop it back in the top feeder. You can feel in the pulp when it gets to the 'dry', juice-less stage.
If you are adding citrus, remove the peel first. It will come out of the machine fine, but can add bitterness to the juice. Small wedges of lemon, lime or grapefruit can add just enough zing to any combination and ginger brings a good kick to just about everything!
Don't try juicing bananas... nor avocados. If you need the flavor or texture, juice the other items and blend them together in a blender. Or, if you have an immersion blender, use its beeker to catch your juice, then blend in soft items with the stick to avoid the extra heat a blender may create.
Ponder the usefulness of all that beautiful pulp. Depending on your flavor combo- you can save it to add texture to muffins, heartiness to soups or color to your compost pile!