Orange juice. There is perhaps not a single culture in the world that does not know orange juice. On restaurant and hotel breakfast menus, the words “fresh orange juice,” three simple words, call to mind quality, purity and pleasure. Juice is to breakfast what a good pillow is to a restful night; it cradles and restores.
Carrot juice. Ha! yes, an acquired taste I suppose, but consider this: If you eat one carrot, your body will absorb approximately 1% of its beta-carotene content. Drink it, thanks to the marvelous invention known as an electric juicer, and you are now pouring into your temple nearly 100% of the beta-carotene. How is that possible? That is because by removing the pulp, a juicer in effect removes the indigestible fiber that slows digestion, so your digestive system can focus entirely on the nutrients in the juice. According to the Department of Agriculture, 90 percent of the antioxidant in fruit is in the juice.
Notice that “indigestible” does not mean “bad.” In fact, these fibers are an essential part of nutrition. They help regulate sugar, for example, but juicing, in addition to eating whole, raw fruits and vegetables, provides a nutritional advantage. One cup of carrot juice is equivalent to four raw carrots.
Nutritionists implore, “Eat a variety of foods for good health.” We often forget that variety also applies to format. Shredded carrot on a salad adds color for visual pleasure and flavor for eating enjoyment. A carrot juice offers an entirely different experience. The same is true of any number of fruit or vegetable you might fancy.
Note that, due to pasteurization, most commercial juices do not actually provide the nutritional benefits of freshly extracted juice. Manufacturers re-introduce some vitamins artificially in order to enhance the nutritional value. That fresh carrot juice is sounding more appealing by the minute, isn’t it?
Who figured this out initially? Who was the first human to drink the juices from a fruit and to notice the immediate sensation of vigor? Think back several centuries, way back to some time between 150 B.C. and 70 A.D. This is the period historians and archaeologists attribute to the writing of what we commonly refer to as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Apparently, this is the oldest document we know at this time to include reference to the practice of extracting juice from fruit and possible from vegetables as well. Indeed, the document describes how an ancient Israel desert tribe, the Essenes, pounded pomegranates and figs into a mash. They believed that consuming the juices to provide strength.
Today’s mainstream agriculture favors producing a finite number of consistently reliable and profitable crops over the variety grown by farmers of centuries past. Add to this the depleted quality of soil, again due to practices, and the conventional harvest simply does not supply the full array of vitamins and minerals available to earlier generations. We may transform produce into hundreds of new expressions, each with its own label and packaging, but this does not constitute pure variety. In fact, it is estimated that the average American actually consumes less than 20 types of foods.
Enter Raw-foodist emeritus number one, Dr. Normal Walker, born in England in 1886, inventor of the first juice extractor. As a young man, Walker developed an illness that caused him to feel exhausted. Already a proponent of the health benefits of proper diet, he adopted a life-long habit of eating mainly what he called “living foods.” Upon recovering, he dedicated his life to the study of nutrition and authored several books on healthy living.
In 1910, he established the Norwalk Laboratory of Nutritional Chemistry and Scientific Research in New York, where he studied the therapeutic value of fresh juices. In 1930, he developed the first Triturator Juicer. This specific type of juicer relies on the action of twin gears that crush the fruits and vegetables. A hydraulic or vise-press component then extracts the juice from the pulp. A Cider Press is a type of Triturator Juicer.
There are two other types of juicers. First, the centrifugal juicer. A very high-speed revolving motion forces the fruit or vegetable that is inserted in the device against a cutting disk or against the walls of a grating basket. This breaks down the fiber and separates it from the juice. The third type is a masticating juicer. The Squeezo Strainer and wheatgrass juicers are masticating juicers. they use a revolving screw-shaped scroll to chew the fiber by forcing it against a sieve or against the walls of a funnel-shaped sleeve.
How does that carrot juice sound now that we have covered history and a few technicalities? I thought so. I could use some refreshment myself.
The Best Carrot Juice You Will Ever Taste (or Carrot Etcetera or V-8, only better!)
2 1/2 lbs carrots
1 beet, including greens
1 Granny Smith or other sour apple
1 stalk celery
1 generous handful parsley
1 generous handful spinach
1 green pepper
1 slice ginger
Wash and cut produce into pieces of the proper size for processing with your juicer. Begin processing carrots and other produce alternately so that you are using carrots to push leafy and softer fiber into the juicer. This recipe makes about a quart.
Reserve the pulp for use in recipes. Read The Many Uses for Juicer Pulp & a Seinfeld Clip for suggestions.
Also Read: Random Eats & Sweets – Recipe # 32 & Recipe # 45