Summer is coming and it is a time for cold refreshing and healthy drinks.
Lucky me got a juicer for her birthday. I have wanted one forever but it took my best friend to actually get up and get me one. Since the day I unpacked the beast, I have been learning a lot about juicing. Just like anything to do with cooking and taste, it's not as easy as the experts make it look.
The most important difference between a juicer and a blender is that a juicer allows you to efficiently get the liquid from vegetables, as well as fruit. There is no need to add anything but water, if you need the juice diluted a little.
Here is what I have to share on the delicious topic of juicing fruit and vegetables...
This Goes With That
There are so many combinations available to you as you stand in the supermarket, deciding what amber you will create. The thing at this point is to keep it simple. A good juice has three parts to it...
1 fruit base + 1 other fruit + 1 kind of vegetable + an accent = delicious drink
The Fruit Base
There are three kinds of fruit that make for a perfect base to any drink. They produce a lot of juice, are always sweet and are easy to find in any food shops.
orange OR apple OR pearI have only discovered pear as a base in the last month and it is my favourite. Pear juice isn't that common and that is probably because it discolours very quickly. No one wants to buy brown juice at the shop, I guess. The thing I love about it is that it has a lighter flavour than apple and this means that it wont overpower the other fruit you choose.
Oranges are sweet and very cheap as a base. Navel oranges are fantastic if you want a sweet citrus base. Be careful not to add too much other citrus or you'll regret it.
Apples are always fabulous but can overpower the other fruit and vegetables in the mix. If you are going to use apples then use the big red Snow White type apples or Golden Delicious. I don't usually touch those two types with a ten foot poll but they are the juicing queens. Use fewer apples than you would oranges or pears.
For a 500ml drink, the base should contain either...
3 apples OR 4 oranges OR 5 pears.
One Other Fruit
That one other fruit you choose will be the main flavour of the drink. This is where you get creative. I've tried everything including mangoes, watermelon, rockmelon, kiwi fruit, pineapple and strawberries.
If the fruit doesn't usually feel or taste very juicy then you will need more of it to get enough juice. Strawberries and kiwi fruit don't produce much fruit so I use a lot. Melons and mangoes are insanely wet so you don't need too much of them.
For a 500ml drink, the other fruit should contain either...
1 mango OR 1/4 of a watermelon OR 4 kiwi fruit.
One Kind of Vegetable
Trust me when I tell you this, just because vegetables are healthy does not mean you want them to dominate your drink. Some people love the taste of dirt a whole beetroot will give you but I restrict myself to 1/2. Carrots give a stunning colour and are quite sweet but don't exceed two unless you are part rabbit.
You should always add a vegetable to the mix though. It changes the drink from a sweet pale yellow sugar hit to a palatable smooth health shot.
For a 500ml drink, the one kind of vegetable should contain either...
1/2 a beetroot OR 2 normal carrots OR 1 stick of celery leaves and all.
The accent is what makes this a special drink. Lemon, lime, ginger and mint are the choices you have here. This is very much a personal choice but I will give you some of my winning combinations. Think of the base fruit when you pick your accent.
For a 500ml drink, the accent combination can be either...
pear & lemon OR orange & ginger OR apple & lime. Mint goes with melon mixes.
Mix It Up
When the juicer has done it's thing and squeezed the life out of your plant bits, make sure you get a spoon and stir the mix. At this point adding ice and stirring is great to cool the drink down. Keeping your fruit and veg in the fridge can avoid the need for ice.
Don't forget to use the left over pulp in baking, in the compost or for animals that can eat it.
Enjoy your juicing days this summer.
Oh... if you need to, a little vodka from the freezer will make the juice a party drink.