I like vegetable juice, but I don’t have a juicer. I’m not really a fan of single-use, non-essential kitchen equipment, and I found that cleaning out a juicer was annoying enough to deter me from ever using the one I owned. So, I got rid of my juicer a few years ago, and have turned down the very generous offers I’ve received to adopt juicers from other people despite my enjoyment of vegetable juice.
I’ve been sick a lot lately, likely due to the changing weather, my moist basement apartment, and the stress from studying for finals and the board exams. Realizing that I probably wasn’t caring for myself as well as I could have been, I figured I could probably use some more nutrition in my life. So, I set out to make some vegetable juice. (I don’t like salads in the winter because they make me feel cold, and smoothies aren’t an option for the same reason.)
At first this seemed like a difficult task (read: I don’t own a juicer anymore) but I did a little thinking and came up with a very effective solution that cost me $0 and no kitchen space, as I already owned both of the tools I used.
Juicers turn vegetables into juice by grating them extremely finely and forcing them through a sieve. Pressure is applied to extract the juice from the pulp, which falls into a collecting bin while the juice flows elsewhere (i.e. a glass). Essentially, the machine accomplishes two functions: chop and filter. So, I set out to accomplish these two tasks on my own using a high-power blender, a french press, and a little elbow grease.
Juicing Without a Juicer
Step 1: Chop
Wash and dry the vegetables you’d like to juice, and break or slice them into 2-3 inch chunks. Add them to your blender’s receptacle. For each cup of vegetable chunks, add 3-4 tablespoons of filtered water to help with the blending process. Then, blend on high speed until the vegetables are liquefied. (I’ve found that blending separately after each vegetable addition helps everything blend more smoothly, and helps me decide if I need to add more water.)
Step 2: Filter
Pour the blended vegetable mixture into a french press coffee filter. To allow the plunger to extract all the juice from the pulp, I removed the plastic lid (top right photo.) This is optional, but reduces waste.
Press the plunger/sieve down over the vegetable puree very slowly to prevent the puree from bubbling up over the sieve, and prevent the glass from bursting due to the pressure. Pour off the juice filtrate, and save the pulp for soup, omelettes, or whatever else you’d use juice pulp for.
Let me know if you try out this method — I’d love to know how it works for you!