Normal, Ala. — One of the latest health crazes is called juicing. Juicing is the process of extracting liquid from fruits and vegetables. Many people do this through the use of an electric or lever pump juicer. The result is a juice with many of the same vitamins and minerals found in the original produce.
“Drinking freshly juiced produce can increase your fruit and vegetable intake while also providing you with a great no-added-sugar beverage,” said Dr. Andrea Morris, a health and nutrition specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
While many people think of juice as the product of only fruits, it is possible to juice vegetables as well. Celery, carrots and greens such as kale and spinach are good additions to juice.
“I like to mix greens, with apples and carrots,” said Morris. “I found that putting a fruit and some vegetables through the juicer makes a pretty yummy blend.”
Morris said she and her kids enjoy juicing, and she suggests experimenting with juices and trying a variety of produce until you get recipes that taste good to you.
“I have a juicer on my counter-top as we speak,” she said. “I tried it as another way to get my kids to consume more fruits and vegetables.”
But juicing is not for everyone.
It can be pricey. Electric juicers cost anywhere from $50 to $200 or more, and the amount of fruit needed to make a certain amount of juice is more than one might think.
Morris also said that it can be time-consuming. Because fresh juice goes bad faster than the produce in its entirety, Morris suggests juicing batches that will last two to three days in airtight containers.
Juicing also produces pulp, which can be messy. The parts of many juicers are not dishwasher safe, so they must be washed by hand. Cleanup should happen immediately to keep the pulp from drying on the juicer.
“Don’t throw away the leftover pulp,” Morris added. “You can freeze it in sandwich bags and add it to soups and casseroles later. I put it in meatloaf, spaghetti and lasagna. It is a great way to sneak some healthy produce into a meal.”
Additionally, some important nutrients are lost during juicing. Morris said fiber is lost in the process, and she does not think that juicing is better than eating whole fruits and vegetables.
“While it is one way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet, by consuming whole produce you benefit from all the nutrients of the whole fruit,” she said.