Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Juicing with the Champ

A hundred years ago, my family generously gave me a Champion juicer for my birthday. It was our Dad's idea, which was weird, since he almost always gave us cards with pictures of kitties in a basket on the front, with five twenty dollar bills inside. I saved a whole bunch of those cards (but not the money), and one of them reads: Love, Joe. The Champion juicer -- The Champ -- was the most thoughtful material gift he ever gave me. His reasoning: I was spending too much money on carrot juice from the grocery store. Might as well make it myself.

The Champ
Sentiment aside, I recently dusted off the old juicer and, for the past few weeks, I've been murdering bags of carrots, keeping mutant hands of ginger in the fridge, and experimenting with weird combinations of fruits, veggies, and herbs. It's true what they say on those late-night Jack LaLanne infomercials: juicing is good for you, and makes you feel great. I don't know if it's the concentration of vitamins, or what, but I'm feeling energetic and downright nourished these days.

There's nothing that bores me more than a drink recipe, especially if it doesn't contain vodka, but I'm going to share my favorite juice recipe, regardless:  5 or 6 carrots, 2 chard leaves, a tart apple or two, a tiny piece of ginger, and a handful of cilantro.

Like a rainbow for your belly

I made something last night which I named "The Bottom Drawer"; it contained almost every fruit and vegetable in my fridge: all of the above, minus the chard, plus 1 bosc pear,  a beet, some kale, and celery. I went way overboard on the ginger, which can ruin an otherwise perfectly good glass of juice. The unfortunate part of this experiment was that I drank one pint of the juice and still had a pint left over, which I bottled and saved for today. I think Whole Foods offers something similar at their juice & coffee bar, appropriately called The Oil Changer. It wasn't my best effort, but it wasn't terrible, either. Plus, it was so darned good for me, how can I complain?

After The Champ does its thing, separating the juice from the pulp, I like to put my juice through a strainer. Some people probably like the sludgy stuff at the bottom, but I think it's gross. (Side note: I've been keeping the pulp to make raw veggie crackers in the dehydrator, and now I have a kazillion crackers. They're not bad!).

Bottom Drawer
As much as I hate keeping small appliances on the kitchen counter, The Champ has found a new spot near the sink, where I'll use it more often. Juicing makes a mess, and the clean-up almost doesn't seem worth the effort, but I'm going to stick to it, anyway. Who knows, someday, I just might juice a potato and figure out how to make my own vodka. For now, I'll just have a Bottom Drawer.

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