Time efficiency: prepping leafy greens for juicing
I wanted to get some thoughts/opinions about preparing food for juicing, mostly regarding time efficiency.
This is for general health, using a single-auger juicer (Hurom). I don't really want to get into specific models and such, fueling juicer envy and all - just preparation techniques! Though I realize that the mechanics of the juicer affect what you can input.
I just finished making a bunch of juice and it took me 2 hours. This is going to happen like, once a year, unless I can get my times down. (I can forget having a "morning routine" at this rate!)
The thing that get's me is the big leafy greens: kale or spinach and such. I'm washing the kale, peeling it from the stalks, and then putting through a food processor "slicer" to get it into thinner pieces. Is this a time waster? I figure the stalks are so tough that they will clog the juicer. Should I just chop it up, wash it, and put it in the juicer?
Also, I had been trying to experiment with recipes, which are cool and all, but I feel like portions are a waste of time. Instead of having half-bunches of various vegetables sitting around in my fridge, I just threw it all in. No such things as half a moon landing, no such thing as half a fennel stalk in my fridge.
And what's the deal with wheatgrass? I chop it up small and it still clogs up the machine. Will I ever be able to juice enough of it to get the 'benefits'?
Do I have to peel whole carrots? I've been buying baby carrots so I can just throw 'em in...
What are the gong-fu secrets of all you juicing masters out there? Actually, anti-gong-fu. Ends-justify-the-means Juicing tips is what I want.
Do kale stems clog the machine? If not, I would wash and juice them whole. If the stem clogs your machine, then I would wash, then strip the leaves off the stalk by hand and juice--no need to cut them up with a food processor.
I eat a lot of salad, and I save time by washing my greens (kale, lettuce, arugula, spinach) and drying them well before storing in a bowl with paper towels. They seem to hold up quite well.
I have always juiced whole carrots--you want the nutrients in the peel! I think doing some prep work in advance is the key--now if only I could find a shortcut to washing the juicer--that is what stymies me!
ps I don't bother with wheat grass, I figure if I am juicing greens that is a worthy equivalent.
The only prep I do for our juicer is wash everything and get it into pieces that will fit the feed tube.
The leafy greens tend to make loud squealing noises and sometimes stop, so I've been cutting them into "2 inch pieces" as per the directions.
I like the pre-washing idea. It's another layer of work to store the stuff, but would make it quicker to produce in the mornings.
Alright after doing this for a couple weeks, the method I've settled on is this:
Buying all the bunches of veggies which a recipe requires, and then getting some humongous ziplock containers ("dinner-size"). I divide up the veggies into the boxes, right when I get home from shopping and throw them into the fridge. The ratios are all off from the recipes, but whatever, it's veggie juice, and as long as you have some apples in there, it will taste fine ( to me, at least..)
This way, when I'm ready to make the juice, I just grab a box out of the fridge, throw it into a sink-strainer, blast them with water, and I feed the juicer as I chop everything up. I have a Hurom slow juicer and it does perform much better when I roughly chop up the dark leafy greens like kale, and even carrots I need to feed slowly or chop up.
This works much better for me than buying a bunch of bunches of vegetables, and then trying to pull out "1 celery stalk, 3 carrots, 1/4 bulb of fennel" , etc. Whateverz! I just divide everything by four containers and forget about it..
It's a fairly easy juicer to clean once you get the hang of it, and now I'm able to get in and out of it all within about 20 minutes. Not bad! That's down from like, 45 minutes when I first started...
Hope it helps someone.