If you’ve been waiting to get a juicer to make fresh orange juice or lemonade, delay no longer — because if you happen to have a blender that you use for smoothies or soups, you already have an ideal juicer with the addition of a straining element, such as cheesecloth or a paint-straining bag. 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 get bitter after standing.


Equipment

In addition to your blender, your necessary equipment includes a homemade strainer. One of the easiest setups entails a paint-strainer bag pulled over a glass or plastic low, wide 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. Midsized paint-strainer bags measure about 10 inches across and 10 inches deep, but are tapered at the bottom, with a closed end that’s 5 inches across. You can clean and reuse them indefinitely.

Alternatives include nut milk bags, large squares of cheesecloth and a clean piece of pantyhose, cut to include the foot and calf area.


Preparing the Fruit

Wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Peel citrus fruits, and core apples to remove the toxic seeds. Remove the pits from pitted fruits. Keep green tops such as those of celery, but not the bitter tops of carrots and rhubarb. For convenience, leave the small seeds in other fruits — they’ll be pulverized and strained out with the rest of the pulp. Trim away and toss any damaged areas, the FDA advises. Trim larger fruits and vegetables into cubes 1 inch across 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.

Puree bananas and avocados separately and add them to the finished juice, rather than including them in the main juicing process, to keep more of their fibrous materials.


Blending

Load your blender with the fruits and/or vegetables, 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 the fruits and vegetables until smooth.


Straining

Place the paint strainer over a suitable vessel, and pour the pureed juice and its fibrous components — everything in the blender — into the strainer. Pick up the edges of the strainer, and then lift them up and twist the top of the strainer 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 like modeling clay so that it releases more of the juice into the container.

Drink the juice promptly. The pulp can go into a compost heap or you can freeze it for soups. Clean the bag with soap and water, and allow it to dry in a warm place, or outdoors in the sun.