Everybody knows how to make green juice. You simply toss some greens in a juicer and voila! Right? Well, sure, that’s the gist of it but it takes just a little bit more than that to really get the most out of your green juice journey.
And that’s what we’re all after, right? Green juicing for maximum health perks (and the best juice quality), that is.
So, let’s get right into how we can do that. Here are all the green juice tips I’ve accumulated over time on how to make green juice like a pro.
How to Make Green Juice Like a Pro
The very first thing I like to remind green juicers is that juicing comes with a huge advantage: you can juice the whole thing! To clarify, you can usually juice parts of produce that you’d normally throw away.
So while you might choose to leave the stems and stalks off your greens when making a salad – keep them on when you’re juicing. Your juicer will totally be able to process them and they’re highly edible and very, very nutritious – plus, you’ll get more green juice!
Take colorful Swiss chard, for example – the stems are where a lot of its nutritional content is at so the last thing you want to do is toss those.
Also, when you’re cooking with these greens – save the stems to juice later. You might not want those broccoli stems or beet tops in your dishes, but they’ll do great in your juices. Same for usually discarded parts like cucumber ends. The exceptions are: carrot tops and the leaves on rhubarb and eggplant – those are toxic. Toss them.
Okay, got your green vegetables and sidekicks ready? Let’s juice them up!
Step 1. Roll Your Leafy Greens
When you’re green juicing, it’s wise to start the juicing with leafy greens. And as anyone who’s ever juiced leafy greens will tell you, leafy greens are very…leafy. Making them not so easy to feed through the juicer machine. The good news is that you can roll these babies into a little ball before feeding them through the juicer.
This is easiest to do with leafy greens that have stems since you can use those stems to sort of “tie” your leafy green ball together.
This prevents the delicate leaves from getting stuck somewhere on their way down so you can rest assured you’re getting every last drop of leafy green you put in.
And if that doesn’t totally get every last bit of leafy green…
Step 2. Follow with Hard Produce
You’re most likely not going to be drinking straight up, just green green juice (wow if you do. just wow.) Most juice recipes call for both greens and some fruits (and other veggies) to sweeten the concoction so make sure you always start with the leafy greens.
Follow this order: leafy greens –> soft fruits and veggies –> hard fruits and veggies
The harder fruits and veggies – like apples, carrots, beets – helps push through any bits of leafy green that are stuck in the feeding tube of your juicer.
Step 3. Bases are Your Friends!
While a wheatgrass-arugula-cabbage-kale juice would be incredibly high in nutrients…let’s face it – it’d be incredibly yucky. This is where bases come in.
A good base is a fruit or veggie with high water content and a very neutral taste. We prefer fruit or veggie bases to water down green juices since you get a lot more nutrients than simply adding water.
Cucumber and celery are go-to veggies. As for fruits, try using parts that you wouldn’t normally eat. For example, watermelon rinds are great for you, high in water content, and have a pretty neutral taste.
And that’s it – just 3 simple steps to make green juice like a pro!
Tips for Juicing Greens
Okay, so you know the step-by-step process for making amazing green juice, but there are just a couple tips on juicing greens that can really elevate your juicing game and make your green juices a whole lot healthier and tastier.
Here’s how to get the most out of your green juice!
#1. Keep It Clean
It can be hard to thoroughly clean leafy greens, since there are so many little nooks and crannies for dirt to hide. But have you ever peeped inside a head of lettuce?
Yea, it looks pretty “earthy” down there with all that dirt and…bugs. ‘Though I hear those tiny insects are rich in protein and low in calories, I’m guessing you’re not eager to juice them.
But it’s not just the bugs – leafy greens are ranked pretty high on EWG’s list of most pesticide-d (if that a word?) produce, plus they don’t have peels to shield them.
And you definitely don’t want to be consuming pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or any other kind of -cides in your green juices. (Some people say that the pesticides stay in the residual pulp when juiced, but it’s still best to be safe).
So before we begin juicing, let’s make sure to get all that gross stuff off our leafy greens first, yes?
Leafy greens are among the vegetables with the most pesticides.
To wash leafy greens – give them a vinegar soak. Fill up a basin with cold water and pour a half cup of vinegar in it. Soak your leafy greens in the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, swirling them around to loosen dirt and insects caught in the leaves.
Then transfer your leafy greens to a colander and rinse under cold water, making sure the water hits every part of every leaf.
#2. Keep it Fresh
Greens are fickle, sensitive things. They seem to wilt if you so much as glare at them. And nobody wants to be juicing lifeless, wilt-y greens.
One of the best investment you’ll make as a green juicer is for fresh storage containers to make sure your greens stay fresh and crisp until you have time to get to them. I use Progressive International’s Keepers and the small investment they cost quickly repays itself in leafy-green-lives saved. They’re a godsend. Get some.
Oh, they also cut down on prep time since the containers double as colanders so you basically wash, chop and store in bulk and then skip the produce prep part whenever you juice throughout the week.
#3. Go for the Bitter Ones
Those dark, brooding, bitter greens can be a bit intimidating at first bite, but mixed in with some sweet fruits and watery base veggies – you’ll hardly notice the taste.
Plus, it’s the darker, bitter ones that are richest in nutrients.
Which makes it easy to understand why they’re called bitter greens…they’re probably bitter ’cause they’re the best greens around but everybody’s too busy consuming the same old lettuce and spinach to give them a chance 🙂
#4. Rotate Your Greens
But don’t just stick to bitter greens – always, always rotate your greens!
This helps you get the widest array of beneficial phytochemicals and avoid the risk of eating too much of one thing.
You see, the different between a medicine and a poison is in the dose. And Mother Nature has her own way of reminding us of that very importance distinction.
Most vegetables contain small amounts of alkaloids and other phytotoxins like oxalates, goitrogens, and even arsenic and opium. This isn’t something to worry about – the amounts are minute and won’t be harmful – unless you are consuming them in mass doses. So please don’t overdo it with any one leafy green!
#5. Use the Right Juicer
Leafy greens are light and fluffy, making them challenging to juice. This is why it’s very important to make sure you have the best juicer for greens, especially if you’re going to be juicing a lot of greens.
Here’s what I mean: centrifugal juicers, like the popular Jack LaLanne juicer and most of the Breville juicers, are great and convenient but because they extract juice via a spinning mechanism, they usually just end up flinging the lightweight greens around without extracting much juice from them.
This is why we highly recommend you go with a slow juicer especially for leafy greens.
Here are our top picks for juicing greens:
Another reason why a juicer is so important when green juicing is because how long fresh juice lasts depends on the juicer that you’re using. Centrifugal juicers produce heat and friction when juicing which cause oxidation in the juicing process itself and compromise the freshness of the juice.
Juices made with these juicers really should be consumed immediately – at the longest, within a few hours.
On the other hand, slow juicers like masticating or triturating juicers produce little-to-no-heat, which means less oxidation in the juicing process. Juices made with these slow juicers are the highest quality and can retain their nutrient potency for up to 72 hours after juicing.
So if you’re planning on juicing in bulk and then storing and taking the juice to go – a slow juicer like a masticating or twin gear juicer is a worthwhile investment.
How to Make Green Juice Without a Juicer
Okay, so you’ve heard all about the benefits of green juicing from your friends, your colleagues, and of course, Oprah. But a juicer machine and taking the time to juice is quite an investment, and you want to try it out before you dive in.
If you’re on the fence about juicing, one of the easiest ways to see if it’s right for you is to simply try it!
Whereas you’ll need a proper juicer to juice the widest range of fruits and veggies, you can make some juices without a juicer. And what better way to find out whether juicing is for you than by enjoying a few glasses of deliciously fresh juice?
Plus, it’s actually really easy to do.
Most of us have a blender or a food processor sitting pretty somewhere in our kitchen cabinets. Grab it now as it’ll be the primary component for juicing without a juicer.
What you’ll need:
- a blender or a food processor
- a fine mesh strainer or a nut milk bag
- fresh fruits and veggies
Let’s get started.
#1. Choose Your Greens
The first thing you want to do, of course, is choose your greens. Here’s a handy little list of the best greens to juice in case you need some inspiration.
For this experiment, I’m going to whip up a batch of parsley-mint juice, inspired mostly by a parsley sale in my hood. I couldn’t resist and wound up with a huge bag of the stuff. I use fresh parsley in a lot of my green smoothies, so I figured it’d be gone by now.
It’s not. I sort of…forgot about it and now it’s on the brink of committing mass suicide.
The good news is that I’m in love with liquid chlorophyll so the extra greens presents the perfect opportunity. You see, the stuff’s kinda price-y so when I get the chance – like now – I make it myself.
I think it’s better, too, since the liquid chlorophyll sold in stores usually contains no magnesium – substituting sodium and copper instead to make the formulation more stable. Getting chlorophyll directly from plant sources means I can have my
cake magnesium and eat it too.
Note: If you also choose to juice parsley and mint, please don’t drink this straight. It does not taste that nice. I’m going to use this parsley-mint concoction – aka my ‘liquid chlorophyll’ to add a greater boost of greens to every other juice I make over the next day or two.
#2. Blend Your Ingredients
Place all fruits and veggies to be juiced into a blender or a food processor and blend ’til it’s all crushed up and smooth. Note: You might want to add a little water to help the process along.
#3. Strain the Juice
Strain the blended goods through a fine mesh strainer (you can also use a nut milk bag for this). Stirring the mixture and pressing down on it with a spoon or spatula helps extract every last bit of juice!
Voila! C’est Fini. See that swirling green stuff…
That’s the chlorophyll.
Now that you got your lovely green juice, go ahead and store it in the fridge (in an air-tight container). Try to use it as quickly as possible since the juice quality isn’t top notch when extracted this way so my personal recommendation is to sample and finish your green juice within 24 hours.
So What Exactly Can You Use This Green Juice For?
Of course you can drink it – either as a juice or in lieu of water in a smoothie – but that’s not all you can do with the green juice you just made. Here are some ideas to use up your batch!
An Internal Deodorant
Did you know chlorophyll is a natural deodorizer? It not only masks odors, but it works to eliminate them. Still, you probably don’t want to rub the stuff all over your pits – green pits, ew – but taking a few tablespoons of liquid chlorophyll daily will help stop body odor – and bad breath – from the inside out.
This might be a bit TMI, but I really believe this works as it’s been a long time since I’ve had any body odor. Even after an intense yoga class or when I’m hiking in extreme heat. The only thing I use apart from regular juices (with something green every day) is a mineral deodorant which I only spray once in the morning, if I remember. I really think it’s the green juice doing its job.
In a Foot Soak
Why stop with the pits? Add a splash of this liquid chlorophyll to a foot soak to relieve sore – and even stinky – feet.
Try: a basin filled with hot water, grated ginger, mint, liquid chlorophyll and a mini handful of Epsom salts.
I use cleansing powders or grains to clean my face with, which means they usually need a “wet” base. Water works fine, but when I can, I usually opt for a slightly fancier option like yogurt or aloe vera juice or green juice.
And when you’re ready to get started juicing for real – you’ll want to check out the best juicers for leafy greens so you can make yourself higher quality green juice 🙂
For your pets
I drink this liquid chlorophyll myself, and when I do – I give some to my cat as well to help with her god-awful fecal smell (I know, TMI…) I just mix a tablespoon into her wet food once or twice a day.