When you're concerned about the health and nutrition of your family, it's important to know what ingredients are in the foods you feed them. One way to ensure they consume fresh foods without added preservatives is to make your own juice. Drinking fresh, homemade juice makes it possible to consume a considerable amount of nutrients quickly. Play with a variety of fruits and vegetables to create a menu that's uniquely your own.
Quality juice starts with quality produce. Many experts recommend using organic versions of fruits and vegetables rather than those that have been treated with pesticides and chemicals. Select fruit and vegetables that are fully ripe and rich in color. Check for bruising or bad spots on produce and pass up damaged items for healthier-looking specimens. Buy smaller amounts of produce to ensure that it doesn't go bad before you use it for juicing, and store it in produce bags in the refrigerator.
Clean your produce thoroughly by placing it under cold, running water and scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush that you use only for produce. Alternatively, use a commercial liquid washing product designed to clean fruits and vegetables to rid them of pesticides and bacteria, or opt to put your items through a cycle in an electric fruit and vegetable washer. Peel any fruit or vegetables with tough, thick skin that may add a bitter taste to your juice. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, watermelons and cucumbers are just some of the produce items that are best peeled before used in juice. Remember to chop or slice your ingredients into bite-sized pieces or strips that will fit easily into your juicer's receptacle.
The great thing about juicing at home is that you control the content of your juices. If your child has an allergy to citrus fruits, you can be sure that all the juice you create is citrus-free without spending time in the grocery aisle reading labels. Select from your family's favorite produce items when you create juice concoctions, or consult a juice recipe book and tweak the recipes to suit yourself. Vegetable juice combinations that taste less than appealing can be sweetened by adding a serving or two of fruit. Keep a special notebook in which you record your favorite juice combinations so you can recreate them in the future.
Storing Homemade Juice
Most people prefer to make each batch of juice fresh and consume it immediately or after chilling it for a short while. While store-bought juice is pasteurized and safe to store in the refrigerator and drink during the course of the week, homemade juice is susceptible to bacteria and should be consumed as soon as it's prepared. When you want to chill it before drinking, place it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator until it reaches the desired temperature in just an hour or two.
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