Thursday, March 7, 2013

Adventures in Juicing

Juicing is the process of extracting juice from plant tissues such as fruit or vegetables.
Many people are starting to incorporate juicing into their daily diet to assure getting the nutrients that they need. I’ve been interested in trying and seeing how the whole process works. So I borrowed a juicier from a friend of mine.

Since I am borrowing the juicier, I planned to perform a bulk juicing session. I also decided to focus on one vegetable, just to try it out….Carrots.

Carrots are wonderful vegetables. They are an excellent source for carotene, which changes into vitamin A in the human body. Carrots are also packed with B1, B2, C, D and E, rich in potassium and magnesium. Benefits of carrots include improving appearance of skin, hair and nails. When taken daily they can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Can improve eyesight, regulate blood sugar and promote colon health because it is rich in fiber. So they are a perfect test subject to add more to my diet.

So I added carrots to my grocery list, buying two 5lb bags of organic carrots for $3.29 each. I then washed, dried and chopped off the tops and ends and cut them in half. The tops and ends went into my veggie broth freezer bag for use later. Waste not, want not. I then assembled the juicer and checked the directions. With everything laid out, I plugged in the juicer and turned to knob to the correct setting “crispy hard produce”. Then put two carrots in the tube and pushed them down.

Now this juicier separates the pulp and the juice, the pulps gets dropped in the container on the left and juice comes out the spout on the right. Just insert whatever container will fit under the spout to catch the juice.

It was amazing how quickly juicing ten pounds went. After getting everything collected, I got roughly 1 cup of juice for every pound of carrot. So I ended up with 10 cups of carrot juice and 2 large bowls of carrot pulp. 

Now the pulp is where are the fiber ends up, and I would hate to waste it? So after thinking for a minute I start bagging it for the freezer, 1 cup per bag. Then it hit me, carrot pulp balls. The pulp is moist and easily sticks together. 

So I got out a cookie sheet, put down a sheet of wax paper and started making balls. I filled up the whole tray, then put it in the freezer to freeze. So I’m sure your wondering what can you do with carrot pulp balls, well: add to smoothies, thaw and add to spaghetti sauce, bread, carrot bread, pancake batter, etc. Once frozen I put all the balls in a large zip lock bag and stashed in the freezer.

Freezer Veggie Bag, Carrot Pulp and Carrot Juice
The juice I put into ice trays and froze them also, putting them in their own zip lock bag. They can be thawed or added frozen to smoothies.

The next day, I decided to make my first smoothie with carrot juice. I added the carrot juice, 1 pulp ball, spinach, mango, frozen banana and yogurt. It was fantastic and my little one wanted to try and she kept on asking for bites.

Carrot Tips and Tops into the Veggie Freezer Bag
So at the end of this adventure every bit of the 10 pounds of carrots is or will be used. The juice, the pulp made the balls, the tops and tips will be used to make veggie broth that is at home right now in the crock pot. Then they will go into the compost bin, be broken down and added to the garden thus creating a full circle of comsumption.

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