Vegetable Juice

I just wanted to break my long silence with a quick follow-up to a post from April about juicing vegetables.

As I mentioned in that post, although I am thoroughly enjoying the process of growing vegetables, my palate has been slower to catch up. I just lack a natural "talent" for gnawing on large piles of veggies and finding them delicious. In order to get a sufficient volume vegetables into my diet, I decided to try juicing.

My first experiment with a borrowed Krups juicer produced 40 ounces of juice using:
  • Baby spinach, roughly 1 lb. (< $1.00)
  • 1 cucumber ($0.50)
  • 4 carrots ($0.20)
  • 2 oranges (free)
  • 1 grapefruit (free)

The free citrus came from my gardener friend, and the vegetables were procured cheaply from Golden Farms (an Armenian grocery store in Glendale).

A 64-oz bottle of vegetable juice from Trader Joe's costs $3.79 - the ingredients for my juice would be about $2.70 for the same amount. Granted, it did take time and effort for me to make the juice and clean the juicer. However, the benefits of making it at home include freshness, and the knowledge of exactly what went into it. The first ingredient in Trader Joe's juice is water, used to reconstitute some powdered ingredients. Although vegetables also contain a lot of water, I know that my juice was not further diluted, and everything was fresh.

Adding fruit to my mix was definitely key for flavor. The result was a muddy green beverage that tasted of mild, grassy grapefruit juice. I included a few strawberries in my second batch of juice, which brought it up to the level of downright deliciousness!

I liked using spinach for its nutritional density, but it was the least convenient item to juice, as I had to turn the juicer off while I wadded together small bunches of leaves using both hands (or else little leaves would go flying as I tried to stuff them into the small opening of the machine). Cucumbers and carrots were especially convenient to put through the juicing machine - though these are vegetables that I actually already enjoy nibbling on raw.

I poured the finished juice into empty 16 oz. glass bottles to bring to work. I only made 2.5 days' worth at a time, as there are no preservatives in the juice.

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I'm still helping out in my friend's CSA garden on the weekends. The main job recently has been to wrangle the overgrown tomato plants and lift them off the ground with twine strung between tall stakes.

We have also been busy harvesting for her CSA deliveries! The swiss chard is unfortunately infested with aphids, but we've still got kale and some kohlrabi going, as well as leeks, zucchini, and more peaches!

I have pictures of the garden from June and July, which I will post later.