13 Ecology Ablazingly

Sustainable Juicing: Getting the Most Out of Your Juicer

ecofriendly juicing

Many people enjoy getting a fresh-squeezed juice or smoothie at their local health food store or smoothie shop. But why not make your own? Juicing machines have been around for years, and offer many benefits, health being just one of them. If you’ve been juicing for quite some time, there are options out there to use your juicer more efficiently, effectively, and cut down on waste.

Here I offer some food for thought on Green Juicing.

There are many wonderful juicers available on the market. Factors that might influence your choice are the features that are important to you in a juicer and what you’re willing to spend. The cost is actually going down on these high-tech machines, with a standard Powerjuicer, from a reputable retailer such as Jack la Lane starting at $49.99 and up. Jack La Lane is considered the standard in home juicers. With this type of machine, you can make almost all fruits and veggies into healthful, delicious juices. The standard Powerjuicer, however, has a hard time extracting juice from soft plants, such as bananas or wheatgrass.

Another well-known juicer company is Champion. Champion is much more costly, as its juicer has a more advanced filtration system that allows it to extract juice from grasses and grains. These machines start at around $200.00 and up, though for people who juice medicinal plants often, the initial cost is worth the health benefits and extended warranty and maintenance plan that Champion offers.

Regardless of the type of juicer you choose, there are two areas in juicing where thinking creatively can help you to save money and reduce waste. The first thing you will notice when you start juicing is how much produce fresh juice takes! Here are some thoughts on cutting your produce bill:

1.) Grow your own fruits and vegetables. This one seems obvious, but on so many levels it helps you and the planet as a whole to grown your own food. You have much more control over the use of chemicals on your produce, you only have to travel as far as your own backyard to harvest it, cutting down on fossil fuel emissions, and you get the added stress relief and sense of accomplishment of doing it yourself! Gardening can be so relaxing. Even if you’re an apartment or city-dweller, you can grow strawberries, carrots, or celery in a window box or porch pot. Be creative!

2.) Use bruised or over-ripe fruits and veggies for juicing. Don’t throw away those bruised apples or soft tomatoes! Produce that is too mushy or ripe for eating makes excellent juice. If your family goes through a lot of fruit and veggies, reduce your waste by using up the butts and trimmings. If something is starting to mold, use your best judgment, but sometimes just cutting off the moldy part makes the rest salvageable as juice.

3.) Love Wheatgrass? Grow your own! This kind of ties in with tip #1, but many people who juice waste so much money on wheatgrass “kits” and the like, when it’s so easy to grown your own with minimal cost. Many people don’t know, also, that wheatgrass is also usually the same plant as “Cat grass”, the fresh herbs you get for your indoor pets at pet stores. Here’s my recipe for growing your own wheatgrass. Go to your local health food store, and ask for hard or soft wheat berries. They’ll usually have them in bulk.

Hard wheat berries are most preferable, as they’ll produce a firmer grass for pets or juicing. As a rule, about ¼ cup of seeds will produce a pint of cat grass. Juicing takes up a lot of wheatgrass, so you may want to start with a cup or more of seeds. Use organic whenever possible. Soak the seeds in water overnight. The next morning, spread the softened seeds in a shallow pot with dirt from your yard or peat moss. In my experience the plants will grow easily without much fuss. Water, and set in a windowsill, and approximately 1 week later, voila! Fresh wheat grass for you and you pets. If you’re pleased with the results, you may want to start on another batch while the first one is growing to have a continuous supply. Once sprouted, they keep for around 2 weeks.

The last thing I’d like to talk about with reducing waste with your juicer is what you have left after you make your juice. You’ll find you have pulp, and lots of it! One of the downsides to juicing is the mess it leaves behind, and all the pulp it creates after the juice has been extracted.

Not to worry, though. Leftover pulp does not need to go directly in a garbage can. It is, after all, organic plant waste, and can be used as such. If you compost, so much the better for you. All your juicing trimmings can go in the Compost pile. If you have a garden, the pulp can make a great, nutritious mulch for your plants. If you have veggie-loving animals in your home, such as rabbits, gerbils, parrots or horses, the pulp can be a tasty snack. And lastly, the pulp can also be a high-fiber healthy snack for you!

Freeze the pulp and use it cup-for cup in baking muffins and breads. Carrot and zucchini pulp make wonderful sweetbreads, tomato and celery would make a great addition to a yeasted vegetable bread. Apple and orange pulp could make a rich, moist fruitcake. The options are endless! I’ve had great success with using pulp in this manner, even in such a casual way as throwing in ½ cup of pulp in a muffin recipe. It sneaks moistness and nutrition into most baked goods. Kids wouldn’t even know they were getting a serving of veggies in their cake, so everybody wins!

Juicers are a great way to get healthy, become conscious of what you put into your body, and what to do with the remains. There are many eco-friendly options out there, and it is my hope that by juicing Green, consumers can enjoy how easy it can be to do something good for themselves and their planet.

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