Your pride and joy, the faithful Angel Juicer. It’s a beaut. But like everything in the kitchen, it needs a bit of TLC and some understanding of how to operate it.
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To peel or not to peel?
While fruits with hard or inedible skins (such as mangoes) can be peeled before juicing, the skins of fruits and vegetables are usually edible (yes, even mango skins) and often contain a higher amount of nutrients than the internal flesh of the food. Some skin and pith do have the potential to make the juice bitter (we’re looking at you, citrus), but some people enjoy this.
Remember to remove hard pits.
Hard seeds and pits must be removed before juicing. Some examples of fruits that need pitting are: nectarines, mangoes, plums, peaches, and cherries.
Trimming and coring… We think not.
As with the peels and skins of fruits and vegetables, it’s often unnecessary to trim, hull, core or remove stalks before juicing. This is because, as with the skins, there are often important nutrients found only in these parts of the food.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Preparing all produce prior to juicing is an important step that is often overlooked in today’s busy world. Food should be cut into smaller portions to allow your juicer to process them more easily. As a general rule of thumb, food should be no longer than 10cm (4 inches) in length and about 2cm (1 inch) in diameter. For example, an average sized carrot could be cut in quarters lengthwise and then in half crosswise (that’s quartered from end to end and then those lengths are cut in half). Celery and leafy greens can be particularly difficult to juice thanks to the long, tough fibres, so by reducing the length of those fibres, your juicer is better able to extract the juice without having the fibres wind around the gears. Keep in mind that kale stalks should be removed before juicing, as the woody stems are most often too hard to juice.
Herbs, sprouts, and other leafy green vegetables should not be wrapped, rolled or bunched to form a bundle, but should instead be dropped down the chute in small, loose handfuls. Insert the stem (stalk) part of the leafy greens first for self-feeding.
Bonus tip #1: Many veggies can be prepped a couple of days in advance. Store pre-cut foods that won’t absorb too much water (such as carrots and celery) in cold water to prolong shelf life, but wait to cut more quick-to-brown things (like cucumbers and apples) until right before you juice. Chilling produce in the fridge prior to juicing may also help to reduce and discourage oxidation (browning of foods).
Bonus tip #2: It’s a common misconception that slow juicers are able to process whole foods, especially hard root vegetables like carrots. If something like a whole carrot is put down the chute, the juicer must break it down into manageable chunks before it can start the juicing process. However, in order to break the food into chunks, a huge amount of force must be applied to the food with the wooden pusher, creating two undesirable consequences: first, the force required means a whole lot of elbow grease (tired arms) and, secondly, this force has the potential to cause irreparable damage to the alignment of the gears. Forcing food like this also slows the juicing process substantially and has a tendency to counter the balance of the juicer, causing it to tip forward. If the juicer is tipping over while you feed food, the pieces are too big. By cutting food before putting it through the juicer, you remove the heavy lifting — for yourself and the juicer — as it then self-feeds, saving you time and a great deal of effort.
One by one. Piece by piece.
To avoid congestion of your juicer, insert produce piece by piece only after the first is crushed down completely, and try to insert the smaller/thinner part first, as it will be grabbed more effectively by the twin gears for self-feeding. Don’t put a number of small, chopped pieces of food into the feeding chute at the same time or they may get stuck. Completely depress food into the feeding chute with the wooden pusher and then feed additional food. (Don’t worry if you’ve depressed the wooden pusher until it touched the gears — it will harm neither the gears nor the pusher, as the pusher is made from the same high quality wood as that of fine chopping blocks. Any accidental particles of cellulose scraped off from contact with the twin gears are natural and non-toxic, and will harmlessly pass through with the pulp.)
Bonus tip #3: If food is not going through the juicer and is backing up the chute, you’re probably going too fast. Fruits can be especially difficult to juice, so take a look at our next hint below regarding alternating the foods. If congestion (jamming) of the juicer occurs, press and hold the Reverse button for 2-3 seconds and then press the Start button to continue juicing. Depending on the severity of the congestion, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
Variety is the spice of life.
When juicing a variety of fruits and vegetables with varying textures, alternate the softer foods with the harder foods. Because there is little fibre in fruits (including apples) to ‘push’ the juices through the mesh screening, by alternating the soft and the hard foods, your juicer is more easily able to extract maximum juice. Otherwise, the soft fruits tend to block up and congest the juicer, resulting in a pulpy mess.
If doing plain fruit juice, it might be best to invest in a Soft Fruit Extractor Housing, which has a coarser mesh screening specifically designed for juicing fruits.
Bonus tip #4: Add a bit of citrus, like lemon, lime or orange, to your juices for a twofold benefit — first, the citric acid acts as a natural preservative; second, the flavour of green juices is enhanced. This, plus a splash of olive oil, can also help the body to absorb more of the nutrients in your green juices.
Not by strength, but by perseverance.
Do not apply excessive force or pressure while feeding food down into the chute, but instead use gentle, moderate pressure. Better juice yield is attained by gentle feeding of produce, so push slowly.
Bonus tip #5: If you find your juicer is becoming top-heavy while you juice and must hold the body section of your juicer down, you are exerting too much force. Try cutting your produce into smaller pieces and feeding each piece into the chute more slowly.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Always clean your juicer immediately after using it to avoid build-up. The next best thing, if this is not possible, is to place the juicing parts into a bowl of water to soak, so that food cannot stick (but remember not to completely submerge the extractor housing!).
Over time, even with the most regimented cleaning routine, a translucent film can build up on the mesh of the extractor housing, which inhibits the ability of the juice to get through the holes properly, and can even result in pulp getting into the juice.
To remedy this, spray the juicing parts with white vinegar and let soak for no longer than 10 minutes. Then sprinkle baking soda over the parts and scrub gently with a sponge dampened with white vinegar. The combination of the two will foam and break down the residue.
In addition to this, you can periodically soak the juicing parts in a baking soda solution (one tablespoon to one cup of hot water) and let soak for a few hours. Then give it a gentle scrub.
From humble beginnings…
The pulp left after juicing fruits and vegetables is mostly fibre and cellulose — which are important for a healthy diet — and can be used in many ways, from dips, cakes, baked goods, and dehydrated crackers (there are also plenty of ways to incorporate spare pulp into pet food!). Pulp is also a great addition to a compost pile or bin.
Bonus tip #6: Don’t forget that any pesticide and agrochemical residues from non-organic produce is going to be in your pulp. If you are not using organic produce, it might be best to simply add the pulp from your juice to a compost for the garden where the chemicals can break down. Also remember to wash your produce thoroughly before juicing if you intend to utilise the pulp, as any dirt will find its way into the pulp.
A final note…
Bear in mind that your Angel Juicer can run for a maximum of 30 minutes straight. After this, it needs to stop to cool down for at least 10 minutes.
Remember to always read the user manual and follow the instructions and safety guides therein.
And most importantly: smile and enjoy the experience of making fresh juice at home!