Juicing with Fresh Garden Goodies

Vego Garden
Vego Garden

Juiced veggies and fruits are in vogue in premium supermarkets, spurred on by a shift towards more conscious health decisions.

Yet, many flavor arrangements appear dubious, with a high price tag attached. If you’ve ever seen asparagus water from Whole Foods, you probably have an idea of what we’re talking about.

If you’re on the edge about trying the juiced combinations in groceries, then start with the veggies grown in your own garden. What better way to incorporate vegetables into your diet than with a refreshing glass of juice?

Many common vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and offer natural complements to the sweeter tang of fruits – they can be a good way to get pickier eaters to become accustomed to less savory vegetables. 

Growing Veggies in Raised Garden Beds

Vegetables of the same variety are often grown in conjunction with each other for enhanced flavor. A raised garden bed is a great way to grow plants, with several benefits including improved drainage and better water retention than traditional beds. They also allow you to organize herbs and vegetables better, as in-ground vegetables patches can get unruly and overgrown. 

What can I do with leftover plant parts that can’t be juiced? 

Have leftovers from the kitchen? Don’t toss them out just yet. Citrus rinds, pits, and carrot tops can all be added to the compost bin/kitchen caddy. Make sure that orange peels are added to regular compost, instead of vermicompost, as worms don’t like citrus. Discarded pulp can also be placed into the bin after being drained of excess moisture. 

What veggies should I avoid juicing?

Certain vegetable parts shouldn’t be juiced, while others can be juiced in moderation. Spinach, for example, contains oxalates, “anti-nutrients” found in leafy plants and seeds that can affect the gut and lead to severe digestive issues.

They are called such because of their adverse effects in blocking iron and calcium absorption. People with chronic kidney disease or a history of kidney stones should avoid high-oxalate greens, nuts and nut butter. It goes without saying that apple seeds and plum pits shouldn’t be tossed into the blender. Some toxic plant parts to avoid juicing include:

Carrot tops are NOT meant for juicing |Vego Garden      People with certain health conditions should not juice with turnips | Vego Garden     Rhubarb leaves are a no-go for juicing if you're prone to kidney stones | Vego Garden
  • Carrot tops 
  • Rhubarb leaves 
  • Peels of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and other citrus fruits 
  • Avoid large amounts of cruciferous vegetables if you experience thyroid issues 
  • High-oxalate greens (spinach, beets, chard, rhubarb) if you have kidney stones 
  • Avocados, coconut flesh, and other tougher vegetables with low juice content 

How do I juice vegetables?

Most people tend to indiscriminately toss vegetables into a blender or a juicer. While there’s no correct way to juice vegetables, low/high speed juicers performed well when retaining antioxidants and phenolics – broad plant compounds. In general, juices made in a blender tend to have a chunkier consistency and retain more fiber. 

Best types of vegetables for juicing

Juice veggies from your own garden | Vego Garden

Regardless of the juicing apparatus used, select unblemished, clean fruit. When chilled, fruits and vegetables become easier to juice. Lemons, apples, and pears are popular fruits that add a layer of flavor to the more earthy tones of vegetables. 

  • Carrots are a root vegetable that has been stealthily added into juices and smoothies, with orange-carrot juice being one popular pairing. Because of its versatility, it's recommended for beginners who find vegetables unpalatable. 
  • Dark leafy greens are grown for their high nutrient profile. Kale is high in Vitamin C, fiber and calcium while spinach is noted for its iron content and Vitamin A. Lemons and other sweet fruits can be blended together to mask the bitter, earthy taste that arises.
  • Fennel may seem like an odd choice in juices, but it can add a delicate herbal flavor to drinks. Both the bulb and fronds can be blended. When paired with celery, cucumber, or apples, the licorice-like flavor goes away and becomes much more pleasant. 
  • Herbs impart a fragrant flavor to dishes, but their culinary uses extend beyond seasoning. Parsley, basil, and rosemary are all herbs that can be blended into juices for extra flair. 
  • Usually grown indoors in trays filled with potting soil, wheatgrass consists of the young tender blades of the wheat plant. Although definitely an acquired taste, wheatgrass has found resonance among the few that savor the sweet smell of grass after rain. It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and even kill cancer cells. Be sure to scour the leaves for mold, which can proliferate in humid conditions. 

Tips when making tasty, refreshing drinks

Mix in edible blooms 

Edible flowers, whether as ingredients or decoration, can lend a floral note to recipes. Though they are often used in cocktails and iced beverages, they can also be added sparingly to lighter juices for an exotic taste. Rose petals and hibiscus flowers are popular options to infuse in drinks. 

Add fruits to sweeten the taste  

A humorous joke that’s been floating around is calling a chocolate milkshake a healthy “smoothie.” Reaching the daily intake of vegetables can seem like a burden, but with these delicious juice combinations, they don’t have to be. A concern in fruit smoothies is the sugar content, but this can be combated with the addition of vegetables. Berries, which are lower in sugar, can consist of up to 50 percent of the blend. For other fruits, aim for a ratio of 15 to 40 percent fruit. 

Grow an herb or apothecary garden 

An herb or apothecary garden is easy to replicate within the home garden. The more prolific herbs can be contained in a herb garden bed, which offers an easy way to display and harvest them. An apothecary garden harkens back to medieval Europe, where they were grown for medical applications. To emulate the rustic feel of a cloister, look for gothic finials and weathered statues to complete the look. Large swathes of lavender and other colorful herbs can also brighten sparse patches.

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