Drinking vegetable juice is an easy way to increase the amount of vegetables you consume in your diet. Juicing your own vegetables at home allows you to choose flavorful combinations and cut down on the amount of salt common in many packaged juices. While juicing your vegetables helps you get adequate amounts of certain nutrients, this unpasteurized product may increase your risk of food contamination. Use safety precautions when preparing your vegetables for juicing in a home juicer.
Choose fresh, ripe vegetables for juicing. Examine your vegetables for signs of damage and bruising, avoiding those that contain brown spots and bruises. When purchasing cut produce, such as bagged mixed greens, select only ones that you find in the refrigerated section of your produce department. Place your fresh produce selections in plastic bags to keep them away from raw meats and other sources of bacteria and contamination.
Store your fresh produce in a cool area until you are ready to make juice. Keep them in a refrigerator with a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Although not all vegetables require refrigeration, this is a good rule of thumb when making fresh juice from produce.
Remove your vegetables from your refrigerator when you want to make your juice. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before you prepare you handle fresh produce. Wash the vegetables thoroughly, holding them under a stream of running water. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the outsides of firm vegetables that don’t require peeling, such as potatoes, carrots and cucumbers.
Dry the wet vegetables with clean paper towels to help remove any remaining bacteria from the surfaces. Place your vegetables on a clean cutting board. Cut off any bruised areas or soft spots. Cut the vegetables into wedges small enough to fit in the opening of your juicing machine. Remove large seeds and pits from the vegetables. Feed the vegetables through your juicer, according to the instructions included with your machine. Dispose of the separated pulp or freeze immediately for later use in casseroles or soups.
Consume your fresh juice as soon as possible to minimize the chances of bacterial contamination that can affect unpasteurized juices.