Julia Stephan

Editor at Kitchen Stories

When I hear the term “juice bar”, I immediately think of a bright, wonderful place that only means wellness for me. I might not come out of the juice bar as a better person, but at least a healthier one, right? One thing is for sure, I definitely come out as a poorer one. In Berlin, a small bottle of cold-pressed self optimization starts at about $5 (USD). And if you don’t have a juice bar near you, you will still get a similar experience in any supermarket or organic store, where bright shelves are tempting you to get your daily dose of vitamins.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love juice, but I wish for a cheaper alternative that also saves the plastic and glass bottles piling up in my bag. My ultimate goal is to drink freshly squeezed juice spontaneously or on a regular basis at home, still wearing my pajamas, and without the need to leave the house. I know that it’s possible—but is it worth it? Will I not need the best (and most expensive) juicer for this, one that requires an hour of cleaning afterwards? What am I to do with the pile of leftover fruit and vegetable pulp? I did some research, so you don’t need to do it, and even dived a bit into the topic of juice cleanses.

Always by my side is our chef Johanna, who used to own a juice bar herself! She told me about her favorite juice combinations and tons of helpful tips—don’t be surprised if you start sprinkling black pepper onto your next juice!

Which gadget works best for juicing?

Depending on your personal preference, as well as how often and which kind of juice you want to get in the end, there are some gadgets that might make more sense than others. But no worries, (almost) all roads lead to juice.

Juicing with a centrifugal juicer

How it works: Peel and chop your fruits and vegetables before throwing them into the filling funnel, which leads to a large container with a sharp, flat blade spinning at 15.000 – 20.000 rotations per minute. The ingredients are centrifuged through the container, and the pulp and juice are separated.

Pros and cons: A centrifugal juicer doesn’t take up that much space in your kitchen. It’s suitable for soft fruits and hard fruits, as well as vegetables, but has some issues with processing leafy greens. You will also find a lot of affordable juicers on the market and the cleaning only takes a few minutes. With this specific method, there’s quite a lot of oxygen getting in contact with your juice, which can lead to a loss of nutrients, so it’s better to drink this juice directly. Because of the high speed motor, it can mean that the juicer’s contents will heat up, which will lead to even more loss of valuable vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Juicing with a citrus press or squeezer

How it works: A squeezer works with pressure.Simple gadgets require you to squeeze fruits with your hand, like half of an orange, until the juices are released. Larger gadgets work with pressure plates that help out with the manual work.

Pros and cons: A squeezer is available in handy sizes that will take up minimal space in your kitchen, but they require manual work, which is basically only realistic for smaller amounts of fruit. Commonly known as citrus presses, it’s also clear that this method works mostly for citrus fruit. Forget about vegetables there.

Juicing by hand

How it works: This is of course the easiest and one of the quickest methods to juice soft fruits. You only need to squeeze them until the juice is released. For larger amounts, use a fine cloth to gather the fruits, then wring them out well—good luck with doing the laundry!

Pros and cons: Juicing by hand is a no-fuss idea, but it will still require a lot of strength and patience to fill up a whole large glass with this method. Stains and some kind of chaos in your kitchen will also be inevitable. With this method, you can only use a small selection of soft fruits—have you ever heard of juicing celery by hand?

Juicing with a masticating juicer

How it works: Peel and chop ingredients , then toss them into the filling funnel. In contrast to a centrifugal juicer, a masticating juicer will press and crush fresh vegetables and fruit at low speed until the juice is extracted. The rotating screw moves at approx. 100 rotations per minute, high-quality devices even manage less.

Pros and cons: Compared to the other gadgets, the so called slow juicer is definitely an investment and the most expensive option in this test. It’s also the most gentle method, which will result in a juice with the highest amount of nutrients, even compared to the centrifugal mixer. Since it works slowly, less oxygen gets into your juice, and there’s no heating at all. This way, you can preserve the maximum amount of vitamins, nutrients, and so on. Also, you can basically throw in anything into a masticating juicer. It also works very well with leafy greens and herbs. The process will take a bit longer though and you’ll also need to allot some time for cleaning the juicer after every use.

Juicing with a blender

How it works: Just like preparing a smoothie, add all ingredients to a blender (you might need to cut and peel before), add water, and mix until smooth. To get the juice, pass everything through a fine sieve.

Pros and cons: A lot of people already have a blender at home, so wouldn’t it be nice to also juice with it? Even if you need to get a new one, it will not be such a big investment and it’s much more versatile than the other options. However, a blender is actually more suitable for smoothies and the process has less to do with “juicing” because you basically only blend and strain. So maybe it’s also fair enough to ask yourself whether a smoothie is enough for you.

Juicing with a steam juicer

How it works: Classic steamers are not suitable for this job, but there’s a special steam juicer that is actually one of the most traditional methods to juice—your grandparents might even have one at home. It consists of three pots: The one at the bottom is filled with water and creates the steam that rises up. The second pot, which sits on top, has on opening in the middle to guide the steam to rise up. This is where the juice will be reserved later. It also features a pipe on the side where the juice can drain. The fruit goes into the third pot on the very top, which looks just like a colander. Once the fruit bursts because of the steam, the juices will flow down to the second pot and is drained through the pipe.

Pros and cons: Steam juicers are a bit old-fashioned, but this also means that you don’t necessarily have to get a new gadget. Maybe you’ll find one at your grandparent’s house, on a second hand app, or at a flea market. The device needs a lot of space in the kitchen, but once it’s set up, you can juice approx. 4 kg (9 lbs) of fruits in one go. It will take approx. 30 - 60 min., depending on how hard the fruits are. Unfortunately, you can’t process vegetables in it, but it works great for berries, apples, cherries, pears, grapes, quinces, or rhubarb. The juice will keep longer due to the heating, but at the same time it will also lose nutrients because of this.

Juicing with a pot

How it works: Harder vegetables and fruit can be cooked similar to a soup. Chop and peel, if needed. Transfer the vegetables or fruit to a pot, fill with 2 fingers high of water, then place a lid on top of the pot. Let simmer for approx. 20 min., or until the vegetables or fruits are softened. Afterwards, transfer them to a cloth strainer and squeeze out the juice.

Pros and cons: Juicing in a pot is an easy method and you probably have everything you need for it at home already. But again, you will lose important nutrients and vitamins because of the heat.

The conclusion

Before buying a juicer, it’s advisable to first sit down and think carefully about how (often) you want to use it and what type of juice you want to get. If you’re lucky enough to have a large garden with fruit trees and want to stock up on fruit juices for a few months, then a steam juicer might be just the right thing for you. If you’re more into a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning, a simple citrus press is already sufficient for you. And for those who want smaller amounts of fresh vegetable and fruit juices from time to time, cold-pressed juicing is the perfect method. Instead of using your blender, it does make sense to invest in a proper juicer. Both centrifugal and slow juicers are doing their jobs great, but the slow juicer is actually the best way to save the most nutrients in a juice. So in the end, it’s also a question of how much money you want to spend on your juice bar.

The best juice recipes

In general, you can juice almost any kind of fruit or vegetable (with the appropriate gadget), but some work better than others, like varieties with a high amount of liquid.

Juices well: apple, beetroot, berries, cherries, celery, cilantro, cucumber, fennel, ginger, grapes, kale, mango, melons, mint, orange, parsley, peaches, pears, plums, pineapple, pomegranate, quince, spinach, sweet potato, tomatoes, wheatgrass, and more

Do not juice well: avocado, banana, rhubarb

To peel or not to peel? Citrus fruits should always be peeled before juicing them as the peel contains bitter substances which strongly influence the taste of your juice. Harder peels (e.g. from pineapples) should also be removed as you risk breaking your juicer by throwing these in. An exception to this is ginger, which doesn’t need to be peeled. In general, you can stick to this rule of thumb: If you would usually eat the peel, you can also add it to your juicer.

Here are our chef Johanna’s favorite juice combinations:

Carrot, Orange, and Turmeric Juice

“Carrots and oranges are classic ingredients for a juice, but this one is all about the details. You’ll need pepper for the turmeric and flaxseed oil for the carrots, in order for your body to process the nutrients. Carrots contain beta-carotene which can be processed into vitamin A, which is fat-soluble. So the process works way better when you add some fat to this juice. Vitamin A supports the strength of our bones, our skin, and our immune system.” (Johanna)

For 2 glasses:
3 carrots
2 oranges
¼ tsp turmeric
5 g (0.25 oz) ginger
¼ tsp flaxseed oil
black pepper

Pineapple Beetroot Juice

“This one is my all-time favorite juice! It has this deep dark red color, which almost looks like black and the combination of exotic pineapple and earthy beetroot is just exciting to enjoy!” (Johanna)

For 2 glasses:
½ pineapple
1 beetroot
½ lemon
5 g (0.2 oz) mint
100 g (3.5 oz) spinach
5 g (0.2 oz) ginger

Red Juice

“This is a no-fuss juice recipe with only three ingredients that you can easily get in any market around the corner. Beetroot contains the most nutrients when it’s eaten raw and doesn’t need to be peeled for juicing.” (Johanna)

For 2 glasses:
2 apples
1 grapefruit
1 beetroot

Green Juice

“This juice is perfect for everyone who prefers vegetable juices that are not too sweet. Thanks to the spicy ginger and lemon, this one is really refreshing. If kale is not in season, use spinach instead.” (Johanna)

For 2 glasses:
100 g (3.5 oz) kale
3 stalks celery
½ cucumber
2 green apples
5 g (0.2 oz) ginger
1 lemon

The Hangover Juice

“This juice is a great remedy for hangovers, because coconut water and lime juice are said to help break down alcohol.” (Johanna)

For 2 glasses:
200 ml (0.75 cup) coconut milk/coconut water
1 lime
2 green apples
5 g (0.2 oz) ginger

Carrot, apple, and ginger juice

Carrot, apple, and ginger juice

→ Go to recipe

Fresh pomegranate-orange juice

Fresh pomegranate-orange juice

→ Go to recipe

Even more tips for juicing at home

How long can you keep juice?

Cold-pressed juice will last for 2 - 3 days when stored in an airtight bottle at the bottom of your fridge (where it’s usually the coldest). This doesn’t mean that the juice will be inedible afterwards, but it will hardly contain any valuable nutrients anymore. The reason for this is oxygen. The less oxygen your juice gets in contact with, the more vitamins will be kept. You can control this while juicing, but also when it comes to storage. Preparing juice in a slow juicer results in a small amount of oxygen getting in contact with your juice, while there will be way more oxygen when you work with centrifugal juicers. Once you transfer the juice into a bottle, make sure to fill it up almost to the tap–this way, there’s almost no air contained inside.

Juice that has been produced by steaming will keep longer because hardly any oxygen is added and the juice is heated directly, which kills most of the yeast and bacteria.For proper pasteurization you need to simmer a juice at 72°C/161°F for approx. 20 min. The con: Heating juice will inevitably remove some vitamins and nutrients.

Is it possible to prepare and freeze the ingredients in advance?

You might know this trick for preparing a smoothie in advance to save some time: All ingredients are cut, portioned, and then frozen in smaller bags. This way, you only need to drop the content of a smoothie bag into your blender, add some warm water or juice, and mix for a few minutes. Unfortunately, this trick does not work for juices, as you can’t juice frozen fruit or vegetables because of the missing liquids. In order to juice them, you’d need to thaw them first. The only exception here is a steam juicer, which can thaw and juice ingredients at the same time.

What to do with the fruit and vegetable pulp?

When I told some colleagues in the office that I’m going to write about juice, the most frequently asked question was: What can I do with the fruit pulp? Many people think of it as trash and throw it away, but it’s actually just as good as the juice. There are a lot of ways to cook and bake them. If you can’t do it now, just freeze them for later.

x Composting: Check out this article to find instructions on how to compost at home.

x Add to a smoothie: Since you’re going to blend all the ingredients for a smoothie anyway, you can also add the fruit (or vegetable) pulp to your fresh ingredients. What works in a juice will taste just as fine in a smoothie.

x Add to a soup: Same method as the smoothie: Add the pulp to your soup ingredients, then blend until smooth. You only need to make sure that they compliment the taste of your soup.

x Make some tea: Combine the pulp with spices, then pour over hot water and brew an aromatic tea.

x Drying in an oven or dehydrator: Use dried fruit pulp as a topping for granola or other dishes.

x Vegetable patties: Add some of your pulp to a mixture for vegetable patties. This works best with vegetable pulp, but also with some fruit pulp, e.g. from apples.

x Enjoy for breakfast: Vegetable pulp can add flavor and nutrients to your scrambled eggs or omelet.

x Spread it on bread: Mix vegetable pulp with (plant-based) cream cheese, season with salt and pepper, then let the spread rest in the fridge overnight and enjoy on a fresh slice of bread.

x Fritters: Since you’re grating the vegetables for fritters anyway, it’s easy to just swap in some fruit and vegetable pulp in the mixture.

x Bake it: Enhance your carrot cake or zucchini cake batter with more flavor and moisture by adding fruit or vegetable pulp, or use them for breakfast muffins, scones, or crackers.

So is it time for a juice cleanse now?

Many people swear on the benefits of a juice cleanse, which is supposed to help detox your body, make you feel better, and even lose some weight. The method is to only drink liquids over the course of several days, like freshly squeezed juices, water, unsweetened herbal teas, or vegetable broth. This can last for three days, a week, or even longer. You can order pre-made juices for this or prepare them at home–both options are quite expensive as you need a huge amount of fresh produce every other day (plus spend a lot of time peeling and juicing). So how useful is such a cleanse?

Juice is definitely a good way to consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables in a short time–which is healthy, technically. But it’s crucial to pay close attention to all signals that your body is giving you. You should definitely dedicate time to research beforehand. Inform yourself on how much of which nutrients your body needs. If you put together your juices yourself, it’s important to think of the bigger picture. For example, you might not want to use that many fruits,as the fructose will have consequences for your blood sugar level.

In fact, it’s not proven that fruits and vegetables are more nutrient when consumed as a juice versus eating them plain. If you’re healthy, a few days of a juice cleanse will not do any harm, but reducing your whole diet to juice shouldn’t be a long-term solution. Doing a juice cleanse for more than 3 weeks is not recommended. A one-sided diet will never be the key to success. Instead, focus on a balanced diet and treat yourself with a large glass of juice regularly–your body will be very thankful!

More delicious ideas for you