food: beginners guide to juicing

This Christmas I got myself something I’ve wanted forever – I got myself a juicer.


I’ve always been a big juice drinker. I’m the one ordering a fresh OJ when everyone else opts for a Diet Coke. Ever since we moved into our new house, I’ve wanted a juicer. I have a Breville Blend Active which I use daily for smoothies but I wanted to give juicing a try. I love trying juices, be them green or more fruit based, when I’m somewhere that serves them, so to be able to make my own would be the dream. This post is something I would’ve liked to have stumbled across when I was looking into buying my first juicer – a newbies guide. What juicer to get, what to juice, and tips and tricks I’ve picked up. Let’s go!


Which juicer should I buy?

I learnt after a bit of reading that there are two main types of juicer. Of course there loads of fancy stuff, but the two key types are centrifugal and masticating.

Centrifugal juicers shred the fruit and veg in a spinning motion which separates the juice from the pulp. These are the cheaper juicers on the market, and this is what I’ve got. It’s perfect for me and Sam as we don’t juice in bulk, and it works really fast. It’s fairly big but not enormous in our tiny kitchen, and although it certainly makes a noise, I don’t find it that bad (read: Sam can sleep through my early morning juice sessions). Centrifugal juicers are known not to extract that much from leafy greens but again, as someone new to juicing, I find it perfectly adequate for me!

The other type is a masticating juicer, which some call a slow juicer. This effectively chews the produce, with a slow rotating auger. These are more expensive, but it’s claimed you get much more goodness out of the fruit and veg. This is for those who love their leafy greens and have the time and space! The pro perhaps.


What’s a good juice to start with?

I read somewhere that some people naturally like the green juice taste and other’s can be really adverse to it, with it never growing on them. In other words, if you don’t like it, you never will. I personally don’t mind a really leafy green taste, whereas Sam can’t stand it. But remember, you don’t just have to green juice – despite it being the current trend! Green juice is thought to be a good way to have juices, as there isn’t anywhere near as much sugar in a green juice vs. fresh fruit juice. If you’re not going to opt for any veg in your juice, just be aware of how much you are drinking (and watch your teeth!).

For me, I always use apples and carrots as the bases for my juice. They’re sweet enough to provide a good base for whatever else I add. Some day, like the one photographed, I go really green. This one had a green apple, two carrots, a good handful of spinach, two sticks of celery, a quarter of a cucumber and half a lemon. This produces this really rich colour and can be bit sharp! On other days, I’ll go for a bit less on each of the greens and add an orange, mango or pineapple to sweeten things up. For me, it all depends on the time of day!

The orange coloured juice pictured is Sam’s – like I said, he isn’t one for too much veg. His is an apple, a carrot, ginger, an orange, some pineapple chunks and half a lemon. This almost gives a sherbert taste, from the ginger and lemon and is very sweet.

I don’t really follow any recipes for my juices and it’s all about trial and error. For me, so long as I keep carrots and apples as my base (and I always throw lemon in), the world is my oyster! Spinach and kale have quite a strong taste, whereas cucumber and celery are more water-based and therefore weaker in taste. I’m dying to try fresh beetroot but still haven’t got round to it!


Things I’ve learnt so far about juicing

Time of day is quite important when juicing. If you’re going to have a fruit based juice, keep it to the morning so you can burn the sugar off during the day. If you want a juice at night, go for a green juice.

If your stomach can handle it, try to drink your morning juice on an empty stomach so all it’s goodness can be absorbed.

Most things can go in the juicer whole (apples, pears etc) but oranges, mangoes, pineapple all need the skin taking off. My juicer struggles with lemon rind so I tend to remove it but if yours can cope, throw it all skin and all. It’s the bit that’s good for you!

If you get a centrifugal juicer, drink your juice within 15 minutes of making it unless you pop it in the fridge. I don’t fully understand the science but it’s all about the juice oxidising and, well, that doesn’t sound nice.

If you’re struggling with the green taste, cool it down. Add some ice or refrigerate your juice for a bit – it helps! (And weirdly so does a straw).

Some people really hate the froth on top of the juice so if your juice jug has it, make use of the lid to stop it coming out. I personally don’t mind it and like that it thickens things up!

To clean the juicer, I make sure I rinse it straight away. This is what’s recommended in the booklet that comes with it and it says just to rinse it from the tap with warm water. This really is best, and avoids loads of washing up with dried on fruit later.

Saying that, to avoid having to wash the pulp basket, we line it with a biodegradable bag which we can just remove and bin each time. Works a treat!

If you’re worried about wastage, you can re-juice your pulp if you feel like it’s too wet. I’ve only done this once and found it didn’t produce much and wasn’t really worth it but each juicer might be different!

If your tummy is gurgling or groaning after your juice, adjust your routine. Juice shouldn’t upset your stomach at all, so maybe you need to eat first or try juice at a different time of day.

I’ve been juicing for around a month now and am still really enjoying it. Some people can think things like this are a fad, but like I say, I’ve always been a big juice drinker and it’s a good way for me to get some vitamins in me. I’ve been swapping my coffee for a juice on alternate mornings and I can’t wait for some cooling, fresh juices come summer time! It’s worth noting I haven’t been doing a juice fast, just adding them into my normal diet.

For information, I have the Sage by Heston Blumenthal Nutri Juicer, which I got in the John Lewis sale for half price.

Do you think you’d ever try juicing?

UPDATE: You can find my 3 month juicing update here!

  • I love juices and have a juicer at home but don’t use it a lot (pure laziness!) compared to my nutribullet!

    I don’t know if anyone else has found this, but I find that depending on what vegetable is being used, the pulp can be used in a salad, muffins or soups. Beetroot juices are really nice! But, if you’ve not had it before , be warned you might find it a bit earthy or moorish; juice an apple into the beetroot juice to sweeten it . Mara x

    • Yes, I meant to say actually that the pulp can be reused in foods – I’ve even heard people say they’ve made muffins from it before! Looking forward to trying beetroot! Thanks for reading Mara x

      • The taste in the muffins can be subtle because most of the flavour from the vegetables went in the juice so you’re not left with a pineapple flavoured muffin hahaha! Sam’s juice sounds delicious, Imust try that!

  • Such a helpful post and incredibly beautiful photos. I got a juicer for Christmas this year so couldn’t be happier I found this post just now!

    Thanks for sharing these tips pretty lady.