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Green Juicing 101

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Green juicing is all the rage right now. Juice bars and cafes serve up freshly made drinks packed with nutrients, but they also come with a hefty price tag. You can save money and discover the flavor combinations that work best for you by making your own green juices at home with the Oster® JusSimple™ 5-Speed Easy Juice Extractor.

To the uninitiated, green juicing can seem overwhelming. Which vegetables and fruits do you choose? How you get the juice as smooth as possible? And how can you make sure your juice tastes delicious, and not too bitter or grassy? Read on to learn all you need to know to start making great-tasting juices today.

Green juicing explained
When you squeeze fruits and vegetables through the chute of your machine, the juice of the produce is extracted while the skins and pulp are separated out. This leaves you with just the nutritional essence of the fruits and veggies in pure liquid form.

Combining fruits and vegetables in a blender will produce smoothies and other drinks that are thicker, less liquidy and more uneven in texture. Juices don't contain much fiber, like smoothies do, however, the pure nutritional content of juices delivers good-for-you ingredients and energy quickly.

juice Green juice is a great way to add more nutrients to your diet.

Creating great flavor combos
While you can simply toss a random assortment of fruits and vegetables into your juicer, a much better approach is to think about your produce pairings so you can create a drink that has a balanced and pleasant flavor.

Generally, for the highest nutritional content, juices should be composed of mostly veggies, with a little fruit added in for sweetness. An all-veggie juice may be too bitter and grassy and difficult to drink, so adding in a piece or two of fruit will add some much-needed balance.

Choosing your ingredients
These vegetables make great green juices: Kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, collard greens and Swiss chard.

Pick a few of the vegetables above, then 1-2 of these fruits for some sweetness: Green grapes, kiwi, green apples, honeydew melon, limes and pears. Steer clear of creamy fruits like bananas or avocados, since these won't juice well.

Herbs and grasses can also perk up green juices and pack in even more health benefits. Try parsley, basil, mint or cilantro - you only need a few sprigs. Wheatgrass is also a popular option in green juices. Too much of it can irritate some people's stomachs, however, so start off with just a small amount - less than one ounce.

Opting for organic
While juicing separates out the pulp, it doesn't remove any insecticides or pesticides that were used to grow the produce. So, it's best to choose organic varieties of your ingredients. If this is difficult, then you should try to at least buy organic for the fruits and vegetables that are subjected to the most chemicals, which include apples, celery, peppers, cucumbers and spinach.

juiceChoose organic produce for your green juice when you can.

Prepping the produce
So, you have your ingredients. Now it's time to prepare them for juicing. If a vegetable or fruit has any type of tough skin, like a cucumber, or any pits, they should be removed. It's important to thoroughly wash every fruit, vegetable or sprig of herb that you are using prior to juicing. This helps remove any dirt, chemicals or other substances, which would otherwise end up in your drink. Use a produce scrubber for a deeper clean.

Using the juicer
Once your produce is prepped, it's time to add it to the machine. Select a speed setting and pass the fruits and vegetables through the chute. Do not overload or force produce down the chute, and instead add small handfuls of fruits and veggies at a time. Let the machine run for a few minutes, and then you'll be left with flavorful, nutrient-packed juice.

Enjoying the green juice
Green juice is best enjoyed immediately after it's made. This is because the juicer breaks the fruit and vegetables up, which exposes them to the air. This oxidization causes the juice to lose nutrients, so for the highest nutritional content it is best to drink the juice right away.

If you need to store your juice, pour it in an airtight container, like a mason jar, and fill it all the way to the top to minimize the amount of air present. Store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.