Make Juice at Home
At a recent vegan brunch, we sampled an unexpected delight: fresh-squeezed tangerine juice in a light-orange etched vintage glass. Frothy and sweet, it was an unusual and heavenly way to start the morning—and it got us thinking. Could homemade juices be a fun and easy way to get our daily servings of fruits and vegetables? We decided to find out.
Are you eating enough fruit?
Exactly how many servings of fruit and veggies do we need? According to Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation, roughly half of everything we put in our mouths should be fruits and vegetables—the USDA recommends seven daily servings.
Is juice as nutritious as fruit?
A typical eight–ounce serving of fresh-squeezed orange juice contains the vitamin C and potassium of four oranges. But that same amount also supplies all the sugar in those four oranges (24 grams) without the dietary fiber (lost in the juicing process) you need to keep the digestive system in top condition.
How much juice can I drink?
Six ounces of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice (no added sweeteners and minimal added water) count as one serving of produce. Because of the high sugar content of oranges, grapes, and apples, the USDA recommends you get only three of your seven daily produce servings from fruit. Drink between eight and 12 ounces of fruit juice per day—and more of vegetable juice—as long as it's not your sole source of fresh produce and is balanced with foods that provide fiber.
What should I juice?
Once you're ready to experiment, you'll want to know the best produce for juicing. A good resource is Pat Crocker's The Juicing Bible (Robert Rose, 2008) which covers the health benefits of juicing everything from açaí berries to licorice root. Crocker gave us a list of the seven most critical ingredients for a healthy juicing pantry, most of which are vegetables (to maximize your intake of vitamins and minerals and minimize sugar), and feature a wide variety of colors—an indication of nutrient diversity.
How do I keep the sugar low?
With guidance from experts like Pivonka and Crocker, we whipped up a few juices that use seasonal fruits like blackberries and honeydews, and vegetables like carrots and ginger. And except for a spritz or two of sparkling water, our recipes use 100 percent juice, with extra sweetness, where necessary, supplied by fresh apples.