Juices and smoothies are an easy and delicious way to get a whole lot of nourishment into your body real fast. While the juice and smoothie business has become a thriving industry worldwide, it is actually easier, cheaper and better to make your own at home. Just use the freshest and best ingredients you can find!
You don’t need fancy equipment, either. A stick blender, liquidiser or basic centrifugal juicer will do perfectly fine in most cases. (Depending of course what you’re making: smoothies, or raw juices, or a blend of the two.) Centrifugal juicers remove most of the fibrous pulp from fruits and vegetables, resulting in a thinner and smoother drink than the currently popular cold press juicers. Cold press juices are all the rage at the moment, and really expensive to buy at trendy juice bars, but it’s not the be all and end all of juicing. I would love to be able to afford a cold press juicer, but for the time being, my trusty Breville serves me very well.
What we’re aiming for is liquid food. Easily digested, palatable, nourishing and affordable!
When it comes to appliances, my advice would be to buy the best, sturdiest machines you can afford. The fewer moving parts and shiny bling-bling, the better. My appliances of choice are Kitchen Aid and Breville. Neither are what you’d call cheap, but trust me, they’ll last much longer than a cost-saving device will.
Much is made of the health-giving properties of juices, other than the fact that they are just so sheer damn delicious. Pretty much any fruit, herb and vegetable with a reasonable water content can be juiced or liquidised – and that includes avocados, whizzed to a smooth puree in a blender or fruit processor and stirred into extracted juice blends. I have even on occasion added potato peels, prized for the high potassium content – just make sure your potatoes are organic. And if the healthy aspect of juicing all sounds a little too holier than thou for you, just add a shot of vodka, white rum or whatever spirit you like to even things out!
I don’t have a liquidiser, but my Kitchen Aid food processor comes in handy when my daughter wants smoothies. I’ve found the best method is to puree the fruit first and then stir in whatever blend of liquids, milks, ice cream, juices etc afterwards. Sir Fruit do an incredible range of juices that are just so much fun to experiment with, so I can certainly recommend them!
Experiment to your heart’s content. There is a juice combination for everyone. Some like it sweet and creamy, some like it salty and peppy, some like it a little tart. My standard, go-to daily juice mix consists of beetroot, celery, Granny Smith apples, carrots and parsley with half a peeled lemon and sometimes a little nugget of fresh gingerroot. Or else, a pure, straight-up Granny Smith juice, with half a lemon, a smidgen of turmeric powder and a glug of extra virgin olive oil stirred in at the end. Turmeric in juices are terribly trendy at the moment, but I’ve been adding it to my juice cocktails for more than 20 years! Turmeric has great cooling, anti-inflammatory properties and is a real tummy settler.
My mom introduced us to raw juices at a very early age, and my inherited dog-eared copy of John B Lust’s Raw Juice Therapy is still my juice bible. I still haven’t found any other book to equal it. You can order it online from Amazon: John B. Lust Raw Juice Therapy or scout your local bookshops for interesting and informative books – there are many!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some juicing tips, websites, books, nutrition tips and juice recipes with you, and I would love to hear from readers who are considering juicing or who are already juicing. Tell me what you love about it!
We’re kicking off with a simple, palatable and drop-dead easy berry-almond milk smoothie. I made this for my daughter for breakfast yesterday, and she loved it.
Berry Almond Smoothie
a handful each of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
1 cup (250 ml) almond milk (use any other nut milk or even dairy if you want)
3/4 cup (180 ml) probiotic yoghurt (again, use any yoghurt you like)
1/2 cup (125 ml) orange juice
- Blend the berries and banana until smooth. Add the milk, yoghurt and orange juice and blend until thoroughly mixed