Tag Archives: vegetable juice

Juicer Talk

 
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I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about my juicer so I thought it was time to give juicing it’s own entry.

I’ve juiced for many years (over 20…does that age me?) and am a huge fan. Back in the day we would get up on Saturday mornings, go run Greenlake and then come back and make a large juice while cooking breakfast. It gives you tons of healthy energy and makes you feel great. Have you ever been to a real juice bar and seen how the employees all seem to glow? I’m not talking about Jamba Juice here, I’m talking about a place where you can get something with leafy greens, carrot oranges and beet reds massacred right before your eyes.

One great thing about juicing with kids is that it allows you to get veggies into them they would otherwise go nowhere near. I’ve been writing about Chicken Little’s obsession lately with the beet whip. Last night we made a round of carrot with a touch of seasonal albeit non-local lime that tasted surprisingly like orange juice.

Chocolate shakes are a great way to hide green, orange and red juiced veggies. Berry shakes are a great way to hide things juiced beets and elderberries. Orange shakes are a great way to hide juiced carrots. These all can be made into healthy popsicles or ice cream with little to no added sugars. Beet juice can be used to color frosting or home canned cherries that otherwise turn brownish. Beet, carrot or spinach juice can be used to tint pasta or breads or mashed potatoes or soft cheese spreads. Juices can be your best friend when trying to make school lunches or picnics playful.

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I know there are many out there who argue you lose the fiber when you juice but it does allow you to get more raw nutrients than you can get by eating vegetables. Because fruits are very high in sugars I don’t typically make fruit juice. Instead I prefer to put fruits into smoothies where you get the fiber and added fat and protein together, making it easier on your body.  So when I talk about juice here I mean juice from vegetables.

I’m on my second juicer now.  The first was a cheapo juicer from Target that put me out around $30.  The last was the top of the line juicer you could get there, an Omega similar to this one.

They are both centrifugal force juicers which have tubes allowing you to feed the veggies into a screened central chamber inside the juicer body which spins around at very high speeds and forces the juice out of the veggie through tiny holes in the screen.

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You end up with a nearly fiber-less juice, very rich in color and true in flavor with quite a bit of foam which you can skim off the top of the glass. These juicers are very loud, difficult to clean, and require cleaning frequently if you are making more than one glass of juice at a time.

They are great entry level juicers and the most recent one has lasted me probably 15 years. But I’m moving up for my husband’s birthday.

Read below in the comments from my wonder-reader Auburn who just inspired me and spent quite a bit of time researching juicers.

I’m planning to get a masticating juicer (probably the Omega J8003 because it’s an older model and quite a bit less money.)  Auburn recently got the Omega J8006 which also grinds nuts and meat and somehow makes pasta although I’m a little confused by how.

Masticating juicers are quieter, extract more juice, don’t shake off the counter if you aren’t holding on to them, and the inner chamber doesn’t fill up with plant parts so you can continue juicing as long as you like before stopping to take the juicer apart, clean it up and then begin juicing again.

I also looked into getting a Vita-Mix Blender because they claim you can juice fruits and vegetables in the blender and then strain out the pulp to make a clear juice like a masticating juicer does. I was suspicious when I read that the blades move so fast they heat your veggies up for soup and Auburn confirmed my suspicions that they would also heat up your veggies. Plus the extra step of having to strain out the fiber has convinced me to get a real juicer.

Hopefully you found this post helpful if you are researching juicers.

I want to point out that these Amazon links are affiliate links and I hope you’ll consider using them if you were going to be shopping online anyway. It helps to fund this blog.

Canning Frenzy

Saturday was the day I had signed up for 36 pounds of peaches from Rama farm and while I was at the market I thought it would be a good idea to pick up peppers to pickle. A peck of course. Then when I got home I realized we still had rat issues and I would have to pick as many tomatoes as possible which meant processing them. Boy did I bite off a bit too much this week!

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You are just seeing the top layer of peaches, in the top box. We ate as many as possible, I dried slices, made fruit leather, peach jam, froze several gallons and canned them. I meant to make peach chutney but the peaches were heading south by the time my counter freed up so I had to can the last of them pronto. I have another round coming in a few weeks so I’ll get my chance then. Of course Chicken Little has already eaten all the fruit leather so I’ll be making lots of that and hiding it this time.

The two stainless steel salad bowls you see full of tomatoes are but two of four I had to process over the weekend. I’m down to one but the vines are full of tomatoes for me to pick yet again tomorrow. They seem to be exhibiting signs of blight so maybe this will be the end of tomatoes. Like the zucchini, I think I’ll be ready to be done with them before they are done with me.

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On either side of the peaches you can see jars of hot sauces I made up. One was like a tapatio and the other was supposed to be like a tobasco that I made using cayenne peppers only I seeded them so it turned out no hotter then the jalapeno/tomato based sauce. They both came out great and we’ve been eating them all week on cheese quesadillas made with Wardeh’s spelt tortillas that I had in the freezer. It’s been great not cooking while I’m busy cooking!

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Then I had a brilliant stroke. I’ve been working on taking things out in the garden to make room for the fall crops that have been sadly neglected and are woefully behind schedule. I pulled out the last of the carrots and beets and remaining Swiss Chard that there wasn’t room for in the whisky barrel that had recently housed several bags worth of yukon gold potatoes over the spring and summer, picked some celery, parsley, basil, kale leaves a few shakes of crushed red pepper, salt and worscestershire sauce and used a few cloves of my garlic. I had to use a purchased onion for this since I didn’t plant enough last spring to even make it through summer. Then I rounded up a few gallons of tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter evading the rat.

I simmered them all for about 40 minutes then ran it through my roma mill. It was delicious. I drank a glass around 11 p.m. when it finished and then had so much energy I buzzed about the kitchen, finally realizing it was 1:30 and headed to bed. Drat!

In the morning I gave some to Chicken Little who loves virgin bloody marys so much we call them bloody Max’s in our household. He gulped it down and asked for more. I made a few more gallons the next day then canned it all in the pressure canner which sadly turned it from beautiful ruby red to dull orange, just like V-8. But it’s safe in the cupboard waiting for winter. It will make fabulous soup or stew base should we not drink it all.

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Ever curious I made a small batch of 1948 Tomato Preserves which I promptly tried over homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It was really interesting and I liked it a lot but it was something you only wanted a small portion of – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Did I mention I just canned pickled jalapenos and pepperocini, corn relish and salsa? In fact I’m so giddy from canning that I had to look at this picture to remember everything I had done after putting the kids to bed.

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Tonight’s dinner was rat-nibbled eggplant parmeson from housemade tomato sauce, Rubiano parmeson from California and housemade queso fresco.

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And lastly, while the water bath was processing I whipped up a batch of my granola with one of my favorite non-local must have items – coconut oil and coconut flakes. This will go fabulous with house made yogurt and dried sour cherries, peaches, blueberries or strawberries that we have in jars filling the breadbox along with a cup of coffee from Small COG Coffee.

Now, time to start dehydrating another round of zucchini…