Juicing is without doubt one of the most efficient ways in which to up your fruit and veg intake on a daily basis. As with every form of catering, preparation is key – and this applies to ensuring that your produce is in the best condition for consumption.
Unwashed fruit and vegetables can harbour bacteria, fungi, and other microbes along with traces of chemicals. So, whether your produce is homegrown, purchased from a farmers market or a grocery store it should still be thoroughly washed before it even comes close to your juicer.
Pre-packaged produce may say that it has been washed, but this is often done in chemicals that you would rather ingest, so take the time to give all fruit and veg a rinse to avoid any soapy aftertaste.
Organic is produce, grown in mineral rich, healthy soil is best, and the closer to home your groceries have come from, the lower the chance of contamination and bacterial growth. Where possible, buy local.
Rule number one in the kitchen is always to remember to wash your hands with hot soapy water before and after preparing your produce. The same courtesy should be shown your food prep area so make sure you clean your counter top, cutting boards, and utensils both before and after use.
Bacteria from the outside of raw produce can be transferred to the inside when cut or peeled so stay vigilant, know when to rewash food you are preparing and the surfaces and utensils you are using after each fruit or vegetable.
Although washing produce ahead of time may seem like a great way of saving time in the long run, don’t wash fruit and vegetables before you store them. This may actually speed up spoilage and even promote bacterial growth. When you’re getting ready to make your juice, wash your produce with clean and cold tap water (and rub them clean, don’t just hold them under the running water).
If possible, use distilled water that has been filtered and purified to remove contaminants. Soak all produce for one to two minutes to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
For more item-specific details, we’ve focused on the best way to prepare individual groups of fruit and vegetables.
Wash your greens by separating the leaves and soaking them in a bowl of cool water for a few minutes. Drain the greens using a strainer or colander and repeat this process to remove sand and dirt. Adding half a cup of distilled white vinegar for each cup of water has been shown to reduce but not eliminate bacteria contamination, though it may slightly aﬀect texture and taste. After the greens are washed, gently dry the leaves with paper towels or use a salad spinner (these should be thoroughly cleaned with warm soapy water after every use) to remove excess moisture.
Clean these well with a firm scrubbing brush under lukewarm running water. Alternatively, you can peel root vegetables and then clean them under running water to remove any residue from holding the veggies while you peeled them.
While quality cold press juicers have no problem squeezing the juice from unpeeled root vegetables, ensuring that chemicals and soil debris are removed is made easier through peeling. (click here to read more information on the benefits of cold press juicers)
Rinse herbs and peppers by dipping and swishing them in a bowl of cool water and dry with paper towels. When washing peppers that are hot, wear gloves and avoid your face. As for mushrooms, clean them with a soft brush or wipe them off with a wet paper towel to remove residue.
Wash firm fruit well or peel to remove waxy preservatives. As for melons, use a vegetable brush and wash melons thoroughly under running water before peeling or slicing because their rough netted surfaces offer a superb environment for unwanted micro-organisms.
For soft fruits, wash these under running water and dry with a paper towel. As for berries, make sure to store these unwashed until you are ready to use and don’t forget to separate and discard spoiled or mouldy fruit before storing them to prevent the spread of spoilage. Wash them gently before eating or juicing.
Want to get the best out of soft fruit? Combine them with harder produce such as celery or carrots and you will find that the juicing process is made even easier.
Follow these words of wisdom and your juicing experience will be a healthy and positive one from the word go!