The first time I ever considered juicing at home was a bit of a disaster. I had read in some cookbook that you can make cold-pressed apple juice at home without a blender. Figuring I’d give that a go, I grabbed my Vitamix blender and some lovely fresh apples and threw them in, pips and all.
The result was a sludgy, brown mess with fibrous bits of seeds and stalk floating around. The apple skin made an unappetising garnish and I vowed never to try making juice at home again.
Fast forward a few weeks and my curiosity got the better of me. I had started seriously looking into juicing at home (this was before I had invested in a juicer – best purchase ever by the way!) and found that I had simply missed a step in the process.
Turns out you absolutely can make juice in a Vitamix. The Vitamix blends the fruit into a paste and then you have to filter out the pulp in order to end up with a drink that’s smooth and delicious. To filter out the pulp, simply use a cheesecloth, fine-mesh sieve or strainer and there you have a simple and delicious glass of fresh juice, no extra cost.
What Is A Vitamix?
Vitamix is a brand name for a company that produces a variety of high-speed blenders. The Vitamix blenders are specially crafted to ensure you really get a lot for your money.
The stainless steel blades are aircraft-grade which means they are the toughest on the market. They can handle even the toughest of veggies and produce a silky smooth smoothie every time.
The design of the Vitamix container is angled to allow an optimal vortex system to swirl all ingredients towards the blades. It features a cool-running motor system which gives consistency alongside the high power of the device.
The Vitamix really is one of the best blenders on the market and it always astounds me how quickly and efficiently it turns everything, from soft fruit to solid ice cubes, into a thick, creamy smoothie.
Blending Vs Juicing
As awesome as the Vitamix is, it’s important to note that it is a blender, not a juicer. If you’re new to the world of juicing you may be wondering what the difference is.
A blender makes smoothies. It does this by using a fast-rotating blade to finely chop whole fruit and veggies into a thick, drinkable paste. To even out the texture, ingredients like coconut water, fruit juice and vegetable juice (like carrot juice) are added.
The resultant smoothie contains all the health benefits of the whole food ingredients. This includes all the fibre. Smoothies can be quite high in calories depending on the ingredients used and can be used as meal replacements.
On to juicing.
The key difference with juice is that the fibre is separated and removed. This is normally done using a specially designed machine called a juicer.
They work by either blending first then separating the solids from the liquid or by using special rotary blades to “chew” up the ingredients. The juice is separated using a centrifuge which spins the ingredients to separate them or some models use a pressurised system to separate and extract the juice.
Juicers make quick and easy work of turning that kale into green juice. Juice is sometimes preferred over smoothies as it has less calories and the fruit sugars are quickly absorbed by your digestive system.
If you’re trying to decide between cold-pressed juice and a smoothie you just need to consider what it is you’re after. A filling snack, full of goodness and fibre that will keep you going all afternoon or are you after a quick buzz of energy to wake you up?
How To Turn A Smoothie Into Juice
It is actually possible to turn pureed fruit and veggies into juice. To do this you need to manually extract the pulp from the liquid. There are a few ways you can try this.
A cheesecloth works well to extract all that yummy juiced goodness. Lay the cloth out over a bowl and arrange it so that it forms a cup shape. Pour the smoothie mixture into the cloth and fold the edges in. Gently twist and squeeze the bagged smoothie until the cloth compresses it. The liquid should drain out into the bowl leaving the pulp in the cheesecloth. Keep twisting and squeezing until no more liquid can be drawn from the mix.
Similar to a cheesecloth a nut milk bag is a material with a fine mesh that’s designed to strain the liquid for almond milk and other vegan milk options. It works just the same as a cheesecloth and the same technique can be used.
A fine-mesh sieve or strainer is a useful piece of kitchen equipment that can easily found at most home-ware stores or on amazon. To use one of these for juicing you’ll need something to tamper the mixture with. This can be anything from a pestle to a heavy serving spoon. Press and compress the smoothie around the strainer, catching the juice in a jug of bowl. It can be quite tricky to get all the juice out the mixture using this method and the total time taken to produce a glass of fresh juice can vary.
Don’t Throw Away The Pulp!
A final point here is once you’ve extracted the juice from the fruit don’t throw the pulp straight in the compost. There are many good uses for juice pulp, from making soup, adding to baked goods or even baking into dog treats, the options are endless.
There are so many awesome recipes you can make in your Vitamix, from cocktails to ice cream and soup to nut butters the options are endless. Vitamix has loads of fantastic ideas on their website but here’s a couple of my favourites to get you started. All these recipes are gluten-free and vegan and retain all the goodness of using raw food ingredients.
Tropical Escape Smoothie
- 60ml orange juice
- 180 ml water
- 60 ml light coconut milk
- 1 lime, peeled
- 65 g banana, peeled
- 80 g frozen mango
- 160 g frozen pineapple
- 260 g ice cubes
All the weights are a rough guide to get you started so feel free to adjust the amounts depending on your taste and texture preferences.
Add all the ingredients (best done in the order listed) and start the blender on a low speed. After 10 seconds increase the speed and blend for 45 seconds. Use the tamper to push the ingredients down towards the blade and blend for a further 45 seconds.
Serve in a tall glass with a wedge of lime to garnish or a sprinkle of chia seeds for a protein boost.
Avocado Chocolate Mousse
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled
- 240 ml almond milk
- 100 g dates, pitted, soaked
- 60 g cacao powder
- 30 g coconut butter
You’ll want to set your Vitamix to variable 1 for this recipe. Blend on the highest speed for 1 minute, using the tamper to push the ingredients down.
Once blended, pour the mixture into 4 glass tumblers and leave in the fridge for 4 hours (of the freezer for 30 minutes).
Good Morning Green Smoothie
- 120 ml water
- 150 g green grapes
- 25 g cucumber
- ½ kiwi, peeled
- 1 apple
- 65 g broccoli florets
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 130 g ice cubes
Add all ingredients to the Vitamix and blend on slow speed for 10 seconds then increase to fast for 45 seconds. Tamper the smoothie for a further 45 seconds.
Pour in a tall glass and garnish with a wedge of cucumber.
Detox Green Juice Recipe
- 350 ml water
- 120 g kale
- 2 green apples, cored
- 30 g parsley leaves
- 1 medium cucumber, quartered
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Add the ingredients (in the order listed) to your Vitamix blender and blend on slow speed for 10 seconds followed by high speed for up to 1 minute. Tamper and blend for a further minute.
Next, you’ll need something to separate out the juice from the pulp. If using fabric (cheesecloth or nut milk bag) go ahead and pour the smoothie into the cloth and gently twist and squeeze all the juice into a glass.
If you’re using a sieve or strainer then add the mixture to this. Use a wooden spoon, spatula, tamper or anything you have handy to gently work and press the material through the mesh into a glass.
Serve with a garnish of parsley or a stick of celery as a stirrer.
The Vitamix blender is one of the best blenders on the market for quality and consistency when it comes to smoothie making. You can make juice using your Vitamix but you will need to manually separate the pulp from the juice. This is easy to do and can save you the cost of buying a juicer.