Every now and then, I get a real craving for tomato juice cocktail. There’s just something about the tangy, spicy flavor of vegetable juice that sounds so good! Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s so packed with nutrients…tomatoes are full of lycopene, (which fights cancer), carrots are rich in vitamin A (and when they say rich, they mean rich…a single serving has over 400% of your daily value!), and a single serving of parsley has 133% of your daily vitamin C. While I love eating vegetables, I know I’m not likely to be able to manage as many vegetables in a day as I can put into big cup of juice. I love this recipe because it has just enough tangy zip to keep it interesting (you can adjust the spicy level according to your preference) and the savory taste is a great pick-me-up mid afternoon, when things are dragging a little.
There are many processed vegetable juice cocktails available at the store, but I like making it at home. First, you can be sure that your vegetables are organic. Second, when you make the juice at home you know that it’s not reconstituted. Why is this important? Reconstituted juice has been juiced at a factory, then it has most of the water removed from it. This is done in order to more easily transport the juice…which means that the juice concentrate is getting packaged up and more than likely frozen, then shipped somewhere else to have water added and other ingredients mixed in. That’s a whole lot of messing around with the original fruit or vegetable! The third reason that juicing at home is healthier than buying juice at the store is that Juice that is bottled or canned and sold on a store shelf or freezer is pasteurized. This makes sense, because juice that’s made in a factory is making many stops, waiting around in freezers, trucks and storage rooms, and has many more opportunities to be contaminated than juice that comes from fresh, organic vegetables that you’ve washed yourself and then goes right from the juicer to your happy tummy. However, by heating the juice (sometimes more than once) to the temperature that’s needed to kill bacteria, the healthy enzymes in the juice are also broken down. Vitamins and minerals may then be added back into the juice to make up for what’s lost, but it’s just not the same as drinking fresh, homemade juice!
And juicing at home is really easy! Juicers can be expensive, but you can find some models that work well and cost under $100. All you really need to do is wash the vegetables and fruit you’re using, cut them up (if they’re too big to fit in the juicer) and run them through the machine. I try to drink the juice right after we make it, but it can also be stored in the fridge for a little while (I try not to keep home-juiced juice for more than 8 hours).
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Do you like vegetable juice? What’s your favorite kind?