FOOD

The Delicious Benefits of Juicing


Posted by Chef David Frakes

carrotJuiceWhen I think of the word juicing I think of the word “vitality.” I have always been a firm believer that most vegetables in their raw juice form are more vibrant, extremely clean and downright delicious. A fresh-squeezed glass of apple juice would be a good example. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Followers of the raw food cooking movement believe a vegetable or fruit that is heated above 118 degrees it loses its nutrients and vitamins and becomes no longer nourishing to the human body. I had a instructor in culinary school who was extremely passionate about juices and powders (juices from anything with a high water content: carrots, spinach, beets, etc. and powders produced from drying and grinding the skins of apples, pears, strawberries and more, as well as kernels of corn for natural corn starch). He would then use the juices as sauces, vinaigrettes, and soups, adding some of the powders to them for more layers of flavor. I can’t put into words how much his enthusiasm has stayed with me over the years.

Some juices you can reduce to concentrate, but most others should not be. As a rule, I’d say anything green should NOT be cooked or reduced. One reason is that the color will immediately change to gray or black. Also, the flavor does not change desirably.

You need pristine produce to use first. If you don’t start with quality you can’t end with it. The best way to juice, in my opinion, is to invest in a commercial juicer. However, it you don’t have one, I recommend the following, “old school,” ways to juice:

Box Grater: With a very fine side to it. Just peel and grate the vegetable finely (which will produce a pool of liquid, so placing the grater in a large bowl is best) then squeeze the resulting pulp through a fine-meshed sieve positioned over a small bowl with the back of a ladle or wooden spoon to really get every last drop.

Blender: It is possible to chop the vegetable very finely and add just enough water to cover in a blender, then blend on high speed until completely broken down. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. This does dilute the juice a bit, but if you are going to reduce it anyway, this technique can be very useful.

Buy the juice: Fresh is always going to be best, but juicing can get messy and your prep time may be limited. There are many top quality organic juice producers on the market to choose from.

Below is my favorite juice recipe: Raw Carrot-Ginger Soup. I love this recipe because you can substitute the carrot juice for just about any other fresh squeezed juice and come up with a great soup, sauce or vinaigrette. I’ve used beet juice, cucumber, bell pepper, pineapple and even English peas. Each one was vibrant in its own way and good for you. Best of all, it’s a snap to make. I highly encourage heavy experimentation to see what flavor combinations you personally find pleasing.

Raw Carrot-Ginger Soup
Serves 2 – 4

3 C

Carrot juice

1

Avocado (small)

1/3 C

Coconut meat (optional)

1/4 C + 1 T

Lime juice

1 1/2

Agave nectar or 1 T honey

1/2 t

Sea salt

1 1/4 T

Ginger (minced)

2 T

Extra virgin olive oil

Pinch

Cayenne pepper

 

In a large durable blender, puree first nine ingredients until they become smooth. Taste for seasoning (strain).

Divide soup equally between four bowls. Drizzle oil and add a small handful of salad greens to garnish if desired.

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