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Meatless Monday: 10 tips to juice at home without a huge mess

I used to have a love-hate relationship with juicing, usually the latter. 

My patience with dragging out the juice press and putting it all together was razor-thin. Plus, after sticking a few carrots and apples down the chute, my cabinets and countertops looked more like a crime scene gone horribly wrong. 

When done in a way that is healthiest for you, juicing is like a gift to your body. It delivers raw nutrients to the system really fast and is easier to get down than a salad, most of the time. 

Before you get down to business, know there are three types of machines: 

  • Centrifugal: This separates the juice from the produce by using a spinning metal blade and a mesh filter, or a centrifuge, according to Huffington Post. This is the most popular machine you can purchase for home use. These juicers also apply an amount of heat.
  • Masticating or cold press: These are usually found at restaurants and cafes and get juice by crushing and pressing the produce, Huffington Post reports. 

These 10 tips will get you on your way: 

  1. Line the receptacle that the pulp falls into with a plastic grocery bag. Rather than scooping out all of the pulpy waste when you’re done, just lift the bag out and toss it away. 
  2. The biggest rookie mistake when juicing is dragging your machine out for one glass of juice, so remember—canning jars are your friend. Juice is usually OK to drink for about three days after it’s pressed. It must be kept cold and in an air-tight container. 
  3. Before you even start peeling or juicing anything, fill your sink with warm, soapy water to toss everything in for a good wash. 
  4. Buy organic produce if you can. Just as nutrients from juice go straight to the bloodstream, so can toxins which can be really dangerous, Jenny Weaver, of The Moringa Tree, previously told Flavor 574.
  5. Give your juicer a break. If the juicer gets really hot or the motor starts making weird noises, let it cool down before you press more produce. I like to chop vegetables in the moments between juicing. Speaking of which… 
  6. Chop your produce. It’s normally OK to toss a whole carrot inside and press down with the plunger, but certain fruits are easier to press if you slice it into smaller pieces. 
  7. Wear an apron or clothes you don’t care about, because things are bound to get messy. You can expect some pulp to escape the bin or to get some juice on the counter, and spills do happen. Beet juice, in particular, can be pretty tough to wash out of clothes or off counters.
  8. Fill the jars to the brim. When you put the lid on the container, you want to push out as much air as possible, since oxygen is a foe to juice. The goal is to have a little juice spill out when you put the lid on. Set a few paper towels on the counter so there’s not a sticky mess when you’re done. 
  9. Wash the juicer components immediately. The longer you let the filter or blade sit with pulp, the harder it will be to clean. 
  10. Mix and match fruits and vegetables. Pure fruit juice is really sugary, so cut it with some deep green lettuce or spinach. 
Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron

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