If you’re lucky enough to get a bumper crop from your vegetable garden, here is one idea that will not only deal with the excess but reward you with better health.

My trusty single gear juicer

Start juicing! Juicing fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to boost health as it gives your body loads of live nutrients that are absorbed instantly into your cells. If you decide to invest in a juicer be aware that you get what you pay for…

The most common type of juicers are centrifugal meaning they chop up the fruit and vegetables very finely and spin out the juice. Chopping the vegetables like this makes them oxidize (think of an apple going brown when you cut it open), affecting the nutrient and enzyme content. Additionally, as this type of processing involves heat, the ‘liveness’ of the food is lost as heat kills nutrients and enzymes. It’s better than not juicing at all, but if you’re really serious about your health, invest in a single gear juicer.

Single gear juicers crush or cold press fruits and vegetables therefore little heat is introduced into the processing. This means the enzymes and nutrients remain mostly intact. Compared to the juice that comes out of a centrifugal juicer, it doesn’t have that brown tinge from oxidization and it lasts up to 72 hours in the refrigerator instead of maybe 12 hours (if you’re lucky). It also tastes sweeter and has significantly less bitter froth. This machine is also easier to clean because there are not large boxy parts to wash up. The juicing part comes off in one piece and pulls apart into smaller pieces that can easily be rinsed. The downside: because single gear juicers crush the vegetables it takes longer to juice. This also means the chute is smaller so fruit and vegetables need to be cut into smaller sized pieces. This alone made me ummm and ahhhh about switching to a single gear juicer but once I made the decision, I adapted very quickly. Finally, the cost – single gear juicers are an investment to say the least. They average around the $350-$500 mark but in many cases they have a 20 year warranty on the motor so they’re built to last.

My verdict: having owned a very reliable centrifugal juicer for almost 20 years before it broke down and now owning a single gear juicer, I would have to say I’d never go back to the centrifugal. With all the additional health benefits, better taste and being able to juice up a storm and keep juice fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days certainly makes life easier.

My favourite juice recipe: 4 granny smith apples, 1 large beetroot, 1/2 pineapple, 1 inch ginger, 1/2 lemon, 3 stalks celery, 3 carrots, 1 cucumber. This makes around 2 litres. For an extra health kick, add 1 teaspoon of barley grass or other green powder, stir it vigorously in a small amount of juice to dissolve before adding the rest of the juice. It’s delicious!

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