Safety Tips for the Consumption of Fresh, Homemade Juices
A growing number of people are concerned with the safety of homemade juices. Seems that some people are concerned about the possibility of bacterial ailments such as botulism in juice that is not pasteurized, such as store-bought juices always are. However, homemade juices can be exceptionally safe when a few practical safeguards are taken.
It all boils down to plain common sense. We should be no more afraid of homemade juice than we are the produce it comes from. Of course, this assumes that we are selecting fresh produce for juicing, washing it well, keeping the juicer clean between juicings, and properly storing any leftover juice.
Here are some practical tips for juicing safety. They are followed by some other practical tips on juicing variety, balance, and pesticide removal.
First, be sure to always select produce that is of good quality. Avoid anything old or mushy or that has "stuff" growing on it. As a general rule, if you wouldn't eat the produce whole because it looks marginal, then don't juice it either. For more information about selecting fresh produce check my Top 20 Ways To Select Produce for Homemade Juicing. Remove any bruised parts, because the produce can harbor dangerous toxins at such spots.
Second, always wash produce before juicing it. It's amazing what a little water can remove. You can often purchase a produce cleaning solution at health food stores. These will remove soil and microorganisms. But I don't feel that this is generally necessary as a good scrubbing with warm water and a natural-bristle brush will suffice.
You should also peel any produce that has been waxed. Tomatoes, melons, apples, avocados, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are commonly waxed produce selections. The wax cannot be washed off with water, so you have to peel it off. Look for markets that off wax-free produce, grow your own, or just be on the look out for it, so you can peel if necessary.
Next, it is crucial that the juicer be kept clean in between juicings. It's usually easiest to clean the juicer just after using it. If you do not have time to give it a thorough cleaning immediately, then at least rinse all the parts in water and let them soak in warm soapy water until you can clean it better. Juicers come with cleaning instructions that should be followed. The strainer especially should be checked for small pieces of pulp that can get stuck in it. Use a bristle brush to gently remove stuck food particles. A nipple brush, like that used to clean baby bottles, can be handy for cleaning small crevices and other hard-to-clean spots.
Always store leftover juice in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Do not store for more than about 2 days.
To avoid pesticide exposure, you can grow your own organic produce or make careful shopping selections. Many markets will tell you if they offer pesticide free produce. Whole foods stores and organic markets are good choices. If you are uncertain about pesticide residues, soak your produce in cold water that has about 4 tablespoons of salt and about 1/4 cup of lemon juice added. Soak for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Remember also that variety is the spice of life. Try new juices regularly and experiment with juices you have never tried before. Instead of relying on just one old favorite, be sure to juice a variety of fruits and vegetables for optimal intake of different vitamins and minerals.
And always, always, always, remember that your body needs fiber too. Adults need 25-30 grams of daily fiber intake. Balance your juice with whole grain foods like cereal, whole veggies, breads and grains.