Viroqua Food Co-op Recipe Blog

Raw Vegetable Juicing - easier than you think

Posted byCharlene Elderkin on Mon, Dec 28, 2009 @ 11:46 AM

vegetable juicingSince last March, I have been making my own fresh juice every day. It helps that I have a Champion Juicer, albeit over 30 years old, which my husband inherited from a friend. We had used it on occasion without getting into the habit. Back when there were two or three kids at home, it took a lot of prep work to make enough juice for everyone to have just a little bit. Being a jubilant empty-nester, I can now make fresh raw juice as a part of my morning routine in very little time, plus I get a full 12 to 16 ounces instead of a shot-glass full. Another nice perk is my husband gets up after me, so he cleans the juicer after he’s made his juice.

If you have never juiced, start by preparing a small amount and figure out a base recipe to work from that tastes good to you. Then you can make additions of other vegetables a little at a time without having any big swings in flavor that you may not like.

My foundational vegetable juice recipe is
    4 medium carrots, cut off the green tops, wash but do not peel
    2 stalks celery, cut into chunks to reduce strain on juicer
    ½ - 1 apple, remove the stem but do NOT core or peel.
    chunk of beet 1" to 2" square
    chunk of ginger to taste

As time went on I learned I could substitute cucumber for celery and add small amounts of spinach leaves or other greens and still have a good tasting juice. Knowing I was going into the gardening season as a raw juicer gave me a mental boost. I looked forward to incorporating fruits & veggies straight from the garden; talk about LIVE FOOD! With any gardening success at all we have more food than we can eat, a nice problem to have. I knew I would consume more of what’s good for me out of the garden as a juicer.

Once early spring arrived, I bravely added my garden asparagus in place of celery to my basic recipe, and found it was still very good. (The orange foam on the top of my juice had a bright lime green swirl added to it - reminding me of rainbow sherbet.) Then as other garden crops came up I added small amounts of lettuce, then spinach, broccolli, kale, cucumbers, or beans to the recipe, each adding another dimension of flavor to the juice, but always good. I never made anything that was undrinkable, as I was conservative in adding small amounts to be sure I liked the flavor.

Eventually I found I could make a green drink with an apple base (leaving out the carrot) that was very good. And I was so thrilled when I made my basic recipe straight out of my own garden - save the ginger. I learned to like more ginger and add a chunk of hot pepper for an extra zing. I still have a few of our garden hot peppers in my fridge to add to my daily veggie juice.

I’m not a big tomato juice lover, but I eventually got up the courage to try using a gazpacho recipe (a cold chunky tomato soup) and juicing it rather than eating it as soup. Wow! I was sorry I’d waited so long.

A very good reference book on juicing is Raw Juices Can Save Your Life by Sandra Cabot, MD. It contains an A-Z reference guide listing the fruit or vegetable, available nutrients & phyto-chemicals in the juice, and the healing properties of the juice. So when you’re guzzling down your very ALIVE beverage, you can read about all the good healing vitamins, minerals, and enzymes you’re getting and what they’re doing for you.

Charlene Elderkin, Marketing & Membership Manager

Tags: Raw, vegetable juice