Thursday, February 6, 2014
...... our green kitchen....
.... is really coming along well.
Our juicer arrived and we couldn't wait to try it out minutes after it arrived!! I read through operating instructions and threw in a few apples. I was amazed how quickly it juiced and how dry the pulp was. I am relieved I did not purchase a second hand juicer or one that would cause too much frustration to use. This unit was about $200 dollars with shipping and taxes from Amazon.ca. I noted that Costco was selling one for about half the cost and its one that my brother owns. Either way, you should look for a unit that is well constructed, has a fine mesh metal screen and has various speed controls... nothing like having only a lightening speed motor that ends up whipping your leafy greens into the outtake without juicing it first. Slow speed for soft leaves and higher speeds for harder fruits and veggies.
Planning ahead will reduce mess, tedius tasks and frustration. Here's what I did that helped get us started and got the kids on track right away:
1. There are a number of parts that need to be rinsed off after each use. We juice next to the sink so that it is a quick breeze to rinse off the parts using hot water. Each part should be properly rinsed and the screen should be washed with the brush they provide in the kit (some do not, so you will need to purchase one so that your fingers never get close to the blades).
2. I have used a woven reed basket lined with a towel to store the parts while they are air drying. It fits nicely on top of the microwave oven underneath the cupboards. It is easily accessible and always ready for the next juicing.
3. The collection cup used for the pulp is a snap to clean up if you use the plastic bags the veggies came in to line it. I store the extra veggie bags inside the collection cup under the bag I am using to line the cup with. This pulp 'waste' is full of fiber and can be used to add to soups to thicken or used in muffins etc. but must be used the same day you are juicing. If you only want specific veggies in your soup, then use a separate bag to catch only what you want to add to your soup/muffin/cake. I leave the bag in the collection cup on the counter and use it to put in other organic veggie/fruit leavings for the compost in the backyard. In the winter, I just tie the bag and toss it on the back deck until the weekend when we dump them into the half buried composter. This will provide us with nutrient rich earth in the spring.
Collection Cup brimming with the days juicing and veggie prep
WOVEN BASKET WITH ALL THE PARTS FROM JUICER
WOVEN BASKET FITS NICELY UNDER THE CUPBOARDS DRYING
Prepping your food to juice or just eat
1. Plan out what you want to buy and note what is in season. A trip to the local grocery store today was scary...a lot of very sad veggies that will see a trash can before too long. Veggies and fruits should always be bright colors and feel firm to the touch. I score huge today by finding apples on sale. Apples are considered in-season in the winter and should be well priced. We also purchased Swiss chard, carrots, celery and red peppers. All looked amazing.
2. Once home, you should be washing and air drying your fruits and veggies and removing any dirt or bad parts. The woody stems need to be removed from Apples and Pears. I cleaned out both the crispers in the fridge and while I was doing that, I had the fruit sitting in a sink full of cold water and a few tablespoons of vinegar. I put them in the drying rack in the next sink over to dry. Again, you can use a basket with a towel and just put them in there to dry. I then took all the carrots out of the bags and washed all the dirt off with a brush and cut the ends off. I then lined both crisper bins with paper towel and then cut the carrots into the bin along with the celery etc. I covered these with paper towel and layered on the next group of veggies.
Veggies draining in the dish rack in the adjacent sink
Crisper filled with layers of prepped veggies
Meal planning while using a juicer
We use the juicer now daily. My 17 year old son uses it for breakfast every day!!! This coming from a kid who refuses to eat breakfast!!!!
1. I roasted 2 organic chickens for dinner this evening and needed to plan for meals ahead while prepping veggies for the weekend. The one chicken was used for dinner. The remains of this carcass and leftovers was put into a large dutch oven with the drippings, potatoes, carrots and a handful of juice pulp thrown in to make a soup. Swiss Char was added along with salt and pepper. The other chicken was separated from its carcass and will be used for sandwiches tomorrow and through the weekend. The soup goes into the beer fridge and I am taking some to work. Prep time in the evening is easiest because I can create lunches for the next day while getting everything ready for a fast juice in the morning. It is so true - we will always look to snacking on readily available foods when we are hungry so make sure your prep work includes healthy bite sized snacks. We purchase Apple Chips from Costco (only ingredient is apples) and the kids will grab those first.
2. We noted that we were wasting a lot of food in between grocery shopping. We are learning to shop for what we need and to understand what is seasonal. A bag of apples used to last us weeks... now they last days and they are always fresh and crisp instead of withered and old.... I admit, we weren't exactly eating the way we should have!!! Macintosh apples are great for juicing and cooking but not my faves for eating.
3. Look for local producers and determine what they offer and when. Know when things are in season. Shop around for Organic where possible and involve your children in the shopping and preparation process. Teach them to recognize what a healthy meal is. Get them involved in what they want to see in their meals and let them experiment.
4. I can now add my Barley Life to my juice every morning and have an energetic start to my day.
While I wait for the mini greenhouse veggies to start growing from the newly planted seeds, I am experimenting with as many veggies as possible to get them to sprout and grow it the vases and glasses on the counter top. This is a fun way to learn how veggies can propogate while providing an additional food source from one already purchased!! Saving money any way we can. Next month's project will be building a potato box and trying to find pots for all the seedling plants.
Next Blog entry..... results from the CT scan and a very painful Wednesday this weeks.....