No need for fancy packaging here. The best selection of juices comes in nature's own containers: fresh fruits and vegetables. Because juice is a concentrated form of an apple or a carrot or a beet, it's loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins, in a state easily absorbed by the body. Its good-for-you profile has earned it a place among the dietary elite: A glassful can count toward the five fruits No need for fancy packaging here. The best selection of juices comes in nature's own containers: fresh fruits and vegetables. Because juice is a concentrated form of an apple or a carrot or a beet, it's loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins, in a state easily absorbed by the body. Its good-for-you profile has earned it a place among the dietary elite: A glassful can count toward the five fruits and vegetables a day recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To begin juicing, you'll need a juice extractor (see "Juicer Basics," below) and your favorite types of produce. Bananas and avocados, because they contain little water, are not "juiceable," but almost everything else is. Edible peel can be left intact; tough skins or those treated with pesticides or wax should be removed before juicing.
Cut large produce into chunks, and remove big seeds or pits. Don't worry about those in fruits like apples and pears -- a juicer will filter them out. To combine several fruits and vegetables, alternate between soft pieces and hard ones. Finish with the latter to push through anything that's stuck.
The results will be the colorful concoctions you see on these pages. Start here, then tinker with your own combinations. It's a healthful, refreshing way to get those creative juices flowing.
With so many versions sold at department stores for anywhere from $20 to $300, the right juicer can be elusive. Cost aside, what should you look for? High-tech features (such as the ability to process whole, uncut fruits) are worth the extra money if you're a frequent juicer. Otherwise, a basic model should suffice. There are two types: citrus juicers and juice extractors. Juice extractors are more versatile; most have a pulp collector that pulls out the fiber (which is why you'll still want to consume whole fruits and vegetables). Look for a machine with components that are dishwasher-safe or otherwise easy to clean (one that uses paper filters, for instance). It should feel sturdy and be made by a reputable company. Says Jenny Flora, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona, "It should be a hardy piece of equipment."
Fruit Juice Tips and Combinations to Try:
Individual Fruit Ingredients
Apple: 1 whole
Apricots: 2 whole
Blueberries: 1 cup (5 ounces)
Honeydew: 1/4 whole
Lemon: 1/4 whole
Lime: 1/4 whole (for juice with watermelon and raspberry) or 1/2 whole (for juice with papaya and orange)
Nectarine: 1 whole
Orange: 1 whole
Papaya: 1 small (14 ounces)
Pear: 1 whole
Pineapple: 1/4 whole
Raspberries: 1 cup (5 ounces)
Strawberries: 1 cup (5 ounces)
Tomatoes: 2 medium (1 pound)
Watermelon: 2 cups chunks (12 ounces)
Fruit Juice Combinations
Blueberry, Strawberry, and Apricot
Pineapple, Pear, and Ginger
Papaya, Lime, and Orange
Watermelon, Lime, and Raspberry
Honeydew, Apple, and Mint
Honeydew, Nectarine, and Orange