Juicers, and even juice itself, get a bad rap sometimes. First off, fruit juice is essentially a concentration of sugars, right? And yes, it’s nearly void of the dietary fibers that are the real nutritional jewel from a piece of fruit, not to mention a critical component of a vegetable’s value as well. So that’s two legitimate strikes.
Then there’s the skepticism that this kitchen appliance is really just to hook you into yet another fad diet… Does “Juice your way to better health!” sound familiar? Hey, I watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead too. I know the kind of health claims that have been made about a diet that is consumed solely through a straw. For those of us who prefer to chew our food, shall we take a moment for a collective eye roll?
But with anything, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Despite these genuine criticisms about juicing vegetables and fruit, I believe that a juicer can actually be a key appliance for whole health and the Paleo lifestyle (read more about why juicing is awesome here). Your juicer might in fact be the Dark Horse of the kitchen.
Here are a few ways that I use my juicer and why it’s indispensable in my kitchen.
Use fresh juice to flavor home-brewed kombucha
During the second fermentation stage of kombucha brewing, fruits and spices can be added to flavor the kombucha by the batch or bottle. My favorite flavor to add is mango. I break out my juicer, run a couple mangoes through it and voila! fresh mango juice is ready to be poured into bottles and flavor my ‘bouch.
Use fresh juice for homemade gummy snacks
This is my new favorite! I picked up some gelatin recently (and a few fun silicone molds) and have been playing around with making homemade gummy snacks for my kids… I first saw making gummy snacks from freshly juiced fruit from Meatified.com with this recipe. Once you get the method down, the recipes are so easy to play with. Gelatin is a total superfood and I want to get more of it into my family’s diet. Having several fruit snack connoisseurs under my roof, homemade gummy snacks seem like a great place to start.
Also, I brew my own kombucha at home (you can too — buy your kit here) and came across a recipe that uses kombucha for gummy snacks — sweet! So the trifecta? Use my juicer to harvest the juice to flavor my kombucha during the second ferment, then take the final product and use this recipe to make gummy snacks. GENIUS.
The Paleo Gummy Snack Trifecta:
- Gummies from fresh juice
- Gummies from home-brewed kombucha (get your starter kit here!)
- Gummies from home-brewed kombucha flavored with fresh juice
Use vegetable pulp as a breadcrumb substitute
I cannot tell you how much I love to do this! I send a host of vegetables through the juicer, down the juice and then roll that pulp straight from the container to the ground meat and seasonings. The pulp adds loft and texture, much like how breadcrumbs function in meatloaves and meatballs. Here’s a recipe for Turkey Meatloaf with Hidden Veggies. Give that a try and tell me if you think juicing is a bad idea!
Use the pulp from fruit juice in grain-free muffins
In the same way that you can tuck pulp from vegetable juice into savory recipes, pulp from fruit (or even a combination of fruit and vegetables) can be tucked into sweet treats, such as grain-free muffins. Apple-Carrot Pulp Muffins are a family favorite around here! Take the recipe and substitute my apple-carrot pulp for a combination of your own! Have a nice glass of juice and nosh on muffin from the pulp — waste not, want not.
Provide dye-free, preservative-free juice for kids
Have you read the articles and seen the studies linking common preservatives and food dyes to behavioral problems in children? Avoid all of that by sending a few apples, carrots, oranges, kale and pineapple through a juicer. My kids don’t drink juice everyday, but I mean, they are kids. Personally I don’t mind them having some and especially when I’m sneaking veggies into it. Mom: 1, Kids: 0 Ok, maybe the kids win here too.
*For more information about the effect of common food dyes and preservatives on behavior and the brain, read through some of these articles from WebMD, Doctor Oz, 100 Days of Real Food, Food Matters, Health.com, Time Magazine and CNN.
Pulp is sustainable!
Feed pulp to your backyard chickens! Think about it — pulp is just super fine vegetable scraps and makes an ideal food for your backyard birdies. You give them your pulp, they give you their eggs. Totally fair trade in my book.
Secondly, pulp is awesome for compost. It’s already broken down, so it will degrade more efficiently. Come spring, toss that stuff on your garden, grow the veggies, juice the veggies, heap pulp back into the compost pile. Boom! Sustainability at its best.
Do you use your juicer in creative ways too? Tell me about it and share your ideas with others!
Interested in buying one? Here are some options: