Juice-loving blender owners, rejoice! You don't have to buy an expensive juicer to get your fix. Use the blender you have for smoothies and soups, and with the addition of a straining element such as cheesecloth or a paint-straining bag, you can juice with the best of them. Juices prepared with a blender, as opposed to a juicer, taste best when consumed immediately or within 15 minutes. It's especially important to consume grapefruit and navel orange juices immediately, as they can get bitter in time.
In addition to a blender, you'll also need a strainer. One of the easiest setups is a paint-strainer bag pulled over a glass or plastic container with an opening of about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. You can use a giant measuring cup or large glassware -- or repurpose large, round plastic coffee containers.
Alternative strainer options include nut milk bags, large squares of cheesecloth or a clean piece of pantyhose, cut to include the foot and calf area.
Preparing the Produce
Wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Peel citrus fruits, core apples to remove the seeds and extract the pits from pitted fruits. For convenience, you can leave the small seeds in other fruits -- they'll be pulverized and strained out with the rest of the pulp. Cut larger pieces of produce into 1-inch cubes or smaller. For green vegetables such as kale and spinach, pull the leaves off the stems and tear the leaves so they fit in the blender.
If you're including bananas or avocados, puree them separately and add to the finished juice rather than including them in the main juicing process. This will help maintain more of their fibrous materials.
Load your blender with the fruits and veggies in order of smallest pieces to largest and wettest to driest. Add about 1/2 cup of water -- just enough to allow the ingredients to begin mixing. Puree everything until smooth.
Place your strainer over a suitable vessel and pour in the pureed juice. Pick up the edges of the strainer and twist the top closed. Move carefully so the liquid juice remains in the container -- it will pour out of the bottom as you lift the bag. Squeeze the pulp so that more of the juice releases into the container.
The pulp can go into a compost heap or you can freeze it for soups or smoothies. Clean the strainer bag with soap and water and allow it to dry in a warm place or outdoors in the sun.