There are some things that I’ve wanted for a long time: a juicer, a Vitamix blender, a treehouse… I may not be eating a Vitamix-made peanut butter sandwich in my house in an oak tree anytime soon, but in February my dreams of a juicer became a reality. The idea of having in house kitchen-access to the kinds of mouthwatering, freshly made juices that I’ve enjoyed at restaurants and natural grocery stores has been calling to me for a while. (Not as long as the ideas of a treehouse hideaway, but you probably already guessed that.) The thought of waking up with a refreshing green juice, sweetened with pear or apple, seemed like a perfect start to the day. (Ahem, after I’ve had my other morning juice involving organic, fair trade coffee beans…)
So after years of wishing while visiting raw blogs or watching documentaries like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and Crazy Sexy Cancer, a juicer is finally adorning my kitchen counter. Between the smoothies, the juices, and the raw kale salads, my home even smells like a raw restaurant and juice bar.
When I was looking into juicers, I heard good things about Breville. Although I didn’t buy one of the high-end models or brands used by true raw foodists, I feel pretty happy with my Breville Compact Juice Fountain. On the plus column, it’s a nice size for two and fits under the counter. It’s a breeze to assemble and disassemble, it juices quickly and easily, and cleaning is a cinch. Breville includes a brush for cleaning the juicer’s mesh interior screen, and that is very handy. I clean the whole juicer as soon as I’m done, and I haven’t had any problem at all getting to the machine’s nooks and crannies, unlike some kitchen appliances I’ve had in the past. Most of the juicer is even dishwasher safe, although, I don’t clean it that way most of the time. It’s easy enough to do by hand, and then it’s always ready for my next juice craving.
On the negative column, it’s not great at juicing leafy greens. I’d looked forward to that, but this type of juicer just doesn’t do a very thorough job. It seems to just immediately throw the leaves to the inside of the pulp container. Being a leafy greens fanatic, I hate to just waste leaves that could have made a marvelous meal. Luckily, outside of leafy greens, there’s still plenty that it is good at juicing – fruits and vegetables like celery, bok choy, broccoli stalks, cauliflower stalks, cabbage, carrots, pears, apples, peeled citrus fruit… I like to do an 80/20 mix of vegetables to fruit. I often plan to bring extra juice with me to work for an afternoon pick-me-up but I’ve yet to have the restraint. I can’t help but drink it immediately. The crisp and thirst quenching juice is irresistible.
I can’t compare the dryness of the remaining pulp to other juicers since this one is my first, but I can say that it isn’t completely dry afterwards. It has the feeling of mashed potatoes. I’ve tried running it through the machine again, but the few droplets of juice it produces come out like sludge. For the most part I like the juicer, and so I’ve started finding other uses for the remaining pulp.
One thing I’ve done is make my own vegetable broth. Before adding any fruits, I juice only the vegetables. Then I remove all of the vegetable pulp from its catcher and put it into a pot with water. I bring the water to a boil and then lower it to a simmer. I let it simmer for about an hour and add in any additional herbs I like. (I often choose homey herbs like thyme, rosemary, and basil.) Once it has finished cooking, I run the broth through a fine mesh sieve to catch all of the pulp. I use it in any recipes calling for broth or when I want to add more color and nutrients to my cooked grains. (Most people stay away from using green vegetables for broth because of the color, but I don’t mind it.) If it’s more broth than I want to have on hand, I pour it into an ice cube tray, freeze it, and then I can use just as many cubes as I need at a time.
Another way I’ve used the pulp is by incorporating it in smoothies. I don’t have a high-speed blender yet (see aforementioned Vitamix yearnings), and so my blender can use all of the help it can get! After I’m done juicing, I mash the pulp into an ice cube tray and store it in the freezer. When I’m making green smoothies, I just add a few extra cubes for extra nutrition, flavor, and texture.
Now some questions for you: If you juice, what kind of juicer do you use? Are you happy with it? Do you use the pulp? If so, how? And most importantly, what do you think would be the best thing about having a treehouse hideaway?
(Update: Lately a lot of people have been searching for the juicer used in Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and ending up on my blog. The juicer used in the film is a more expensive juicer than the one shown above, also from Breville. It’s the Breville Juice Fountain Plus. Happy juicing!)