The more you learn about juicing fruits and vegetables, the more you might think of trying it to get more of those key foods into your daily diet. Here are some things to keep in mind.
• A main difference between juicing and blending is the thickness of the juice. A blender's blades mix pulp and juice together, whereas most juicers use centrifugal force to separate juice from solids, producing a thinner liquid. With a juicer, you can use whole fruits and vegetables, including small seeds, skins and rinds. When using a blender, remove peels (though some skins, such as apple and pear, can be left on), rinds and seeds — anything you don't want to end up in your belly.
• What to juice? Think green. Jolia Allen of Vegetarian Times suggests going for green vegetables. These taste plenty sweet (toss in some apple if you need it sweeter), but have far less sugar than fruits.
• Key nutrients. If you're looking to boost your intake of certain vitamins and minerals, toss these in your juicer. For Vitamin C, carrots, pineapple and parsley. For calcium, kale and collards. For potassium, oranges, tomatoes and spinach.
• Don't juice everything. Removing pulp gets rid of a lot of fiber and without skin you miss out on such micronutrients as carotenoids and flavonoids that have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. And just as juice concentrates many nutrients, it also concentrates calories and sugars, particularly with fruits.
• Juicers go through vegetables fast. Allen suggests buying seasonal produce (such as strawberries and spinach) at their peak and freezing them to use during the off-season. Or buy in bulk from a local farm. Better yet: Grow your own.
• Chill out. Because friction from the juicer warms up the juice, use frozen produce or toss in a couple of ice cubes to cool things down.
• Preserve. If you have a bit left over, add a squeeze of lemon or orange juice to keep your juice from oxidizing (which makes it turn brown) and save it, no longer than overnight, in the fridge.
• Using leftover pulp from your juicer: Add it to foods such as casseroles, soups and meatloaf; eat it just as is (it's pure fiber); or chuck it on the compost pile.
• What not to put in a juicer: citrus peels, since bitter oils will overshadow the taste of the juice; hard pits from cherries, peaches and other stone fruits, which can damage the blades.
• In the market for a juicer? Here are some choices:
Metrokane Mighty OJ: For citrus only. All-chrome model No. 3506, $50 at target.com.
Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer Express: A "no-drip spout" tilts upward when you're done, preventing juice from messing up your counter. $100 at powerjuicer.com.
Juiceman Wide-Mouth Juice Extractor: With a 4-inch tube opening, this machine can accommodate whole apples and even cuts of pineapple with the rind intact. Model No. JM550S, $100 at juiceman.com.
m Hurom Slow Juicer: This works by "chewing" the produce instead of chopping and separating juice from solids by centrifugal force. It's slow-going but can handle tougher items such as nuts and soybeans. Model No. HU-100, shown above, $359 at amazon.com.