A Quick Primer on Juicing Vegetables
Most people have heard of fruit juice. Apple juice, grape juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice–fruit juices are consumed all over the world, and we’ve all heard of them and consumed them. And loved them.
Vegetable juices are more esoteric.
Aside from the somewhat well-known mainstream brand V8, you’ve probably heard a bunch more about fruit juices than vegetable juices.
While most people have positive associations with fruit juice, the mere mentioning of vegetable juice can often bring a grimace to a person’s face.
And, in truth, vegetable juice does take a little getting used to. If you drink it expecting the easy-to-love sweetness of fresh fruit juice, then you’re likely to be disappointed.
Vegetable juice earns your love through its powerful impact on your health; not through its flavor, which ranges from smooth and tolerable to downright dirt-like.
However, in my experience, fruit juice can’t hold a candle to vegetable juice when it comes to its power to transform your health in a hurry. Not all vegetable juices are alike, and there are some vegetables that simply have a more ferociously positive impact on your health than others.
In this article, let’s look at what vegetable juice is, what it can do for you and why you should push through your initial resistance to it and incorporate it into your diet.
The Basics of Making Vegetable Juice
Some vegetables go down easy, and these are the vegetables you should use as the foundation of your fresh vegetable juice.
The best vegetables to serve as your veggie juice’s base are celery and cucumber.
Celery is unbelievably delicious when juiced. It gives your vegetable juice a smooth, cooling base. The other more intensely flavored vegetables almost invariably pair well with it.
Cucumber is an excellent option as well. It is such a juicy vegetable, and again, its juice is very cooling. It is also pretty neutral as far as its flavor goes–if you like cucumber okay that is. I know there are some people who don’t tolerate cucumbers very well, so be careful if this is the case with you.
Pairing celery and cucumber together is a great way to give your veggie juice a very deep base. The other vegetables we’ll discuss are much more intense, and a little of them goes a long way. So particularly as you’re getting started juicing vegetables, consider using lots and lots of celery stalks with a whole cucumber and then other vegetables in much smaller quantities.
After your celery and/or cucumber, what else can you add?
The vegetables that are going to help you the most nutrient-wise are the greens. Romaine lettuce is a fantastic juice ingredient. The juice of romaine is sweet and smooth. It tastes better than you’d probably expect, and it is definitely one of my favorite veggies to juice.
Parsley and Kale are the heavy hitters of the vegetable world. Use any variety of parsley and kale that you can find. If you’re going to juice these heavier tougher greens, your juicer has to be up to the task. Some juicers won’t juice greens under any circumstances, and you want to be sure you get a juicer that can handle greens if you’re going to be getting serious about drinking vegetable juice.
I have written up a list of my recommended juicers, so check it out if you’re on the market for a juicer at the moment.
Here’s a simple tip if you’re going to be juicing tough greens and your juicer is a little less than high end: juice the heaviest toughest veggies first. If you put your parsley, kale, spinach or romaine through the juicer first, the other more easily juiced ingredients will help move the remnants of those tough veggies right on through the juicer and into your waiting cup of juice.
Other Types of Vegetables and Vegetable Juices
There’s this whole debate about what is and isn’t a vegetable. Is cucumber a vegetable, or is it actually a fruit because it has seeds? I suppose technically it’s a fruit, but I’m not really interested in semantics here.
You and I both know that the unsweet fruits like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes are at the very least honorary members of the vegetable family.
Bell peppers and tomatoes are definite candidates for your vegetable juice. Try them in small amounts at first, though–personally, I don’t care for the taste of juiced bell peppers or tomatoes. But some people swear by them.
Certain root vegetables are among the most commonly juiced vegetables. Carrots and beets can almost always form the foundation of your vegetable juice if you can tolerate their sweetness. However, don’t be reliant on the sweeter veggies. Most of us have unhealthy sugar addictions, and it’s not that great for us to consume lots of extremely sweet carrot juice regularly.
Beet juice is very cleansing, but its taste can be a little intense. Different varieties of beets create different flavored juices. Experiment and see what you like.
I haven’t had much luck juicing unsweet root vegetables like parsnips, turnips or rutabagas. There’s probably a reason you never see these vegetables on the menus of possible juicing ingredients in your local juice bar.
Two Powerful Juice Tonics You Can Add
Ginger and Garlic are fantastic ingredients for your juice depending on where you’re at with their powerful flavors.
A very, very, very little garlic goes a long way. Take care when using it: raw garlic has an overpowering flavor, and vampires aren’t the only ones who will notice if you add much raw garlic to your juice. However, garlic also has many amazing properties as an immune booster, anti-bacterial agent and general supporter of wellness.
Ginger is another incredible ingredient, and it is much more tolerable in larger quantities in juice. Carrot ginger juice is one of the most well-known types of vegetable juice, but ginger can go well in almost any type of vegetable juice.
Again, a little ginger goes a long way, but you may find that you like the spicy kick that comes with a solid amount of ginger. Experiment and discover what you like!
Many Exotic Vegetables Await You!
This is just a quick overview of many of the most commonly juiced vegetables. But there are so many other vegetables that you can explore and experiment with.
Burdock root is an incredible blood purifier. What if you added a little to your next juice? (Be sure to mask its flavor with stronger-tasting vegetable ingredients, though!)
What if you tried juicing broccoli or cauliflower stalk?
How about collard greens?
How about the many varieties of Asian greens you can find in an Asian grocery store?
And on and on the list goes: there are many, many kinds of vegetables. If you take to vegetable juices, then why not experiment and see if you can discover some powerful new veggie juice combinations?
Vegetable Juice is What Everyone Means When They Talk About Healthy Juices
By now, hopefully you’ve learned that when people talk about juicing as a healthy thing, they’re almost always actually talking about juicing vegetables. Fruit juices are great, and I enjoy them a ton, but the way you feel after a fresh green vegetable juice is totally different (and obviously much better) than how you feel after a fresh glass of fruit juice.
It’s the difference between your main course and your dessert. Fruit juices are incredibly sweet, and we eat too much sugar. Even if the fructose in fruits is natural, it’s still very strong and the body has to contend with that sweetness when we consume a lot of fruit juice in one go.
Vegetable juice, on the other hand, is much milder and more focused on a broad band of different vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients. Its sweetness is balanced by many other types of flavors. Your blood sugar won’t spike after drinking a tall glass of vegetable juice, and the energy you get from veggie juice will be much gentler and long-lasting.
So push through the initial shock of how vegetable juice sometimes tastes. You can dive right into the deep end with more intense juices consisting of lots of dark leafy greens, or you can ease in with celery, carrots, cucumber and the like.
If you’re interested in juicing, then you definitely need to try juicing vegetables. Give yourself 10 solid days of consistently drinking fresh vegetable juice and notice how much better you feel!