Summer is the most flavorful season of the year as we indulge in the bounty of our gardens. We know food is at its best flavor and nutritional content as soon as it comes off the vine or out of the ground. The raw food movement celebrates as little “processing” as possible to maintain the highest nutritional potential. I am always amazed at how juicing captures the natural essence of food. Freshly squeezed juices were traditionally served before the American dinner meal as an appetite enhancer, and guess what: they are coming back into style.
I often serve fresh juices between courses to cleanse the palate. I also make juice ice cubes so I don’t have to dilute the juice flavor with water ice cubes. Another fun application is to make fresh juice gelatin or freeze the juice as a granite (shaved ice) or sorbet. Fresh juices also enhance and enrich cocktails with fresh flavor and nutrition rather than the high fructose corn syrup of most mixers. Rim the edges of your fancy glassware with ground spice blends or dried fruit powders. Fresh juice blends are a real favorite for brunches at my house.
The combination of complimentary flavors is endless, but I am sharing two of my favorites. Chilling fruits and veggies in advance lowers the amount of foam produced while juicing. I prefer auger style versus cylindrical juicers, as they seem to heighten flavor and are very easy to clean. The key here is to experiment with different fruits and vegetable combinations. Citrus juice is a must to brighten all component flavors so make sure to use lime, lemon, orange or grapefruit somewhere along the way. A spritz of cider vinegar is great with your own garden vegetable blend as well. Here’s to the brilliant flavors and nutrition in our summer gardens.
Red or Yellow Juice
• 2 beets, red or yellow, peeled and small diced
• 2 carrots, peeled
• 1 orange, navel – no need to peel
• 1 apple, honey crisp, cored
• 1/2 lemon – no need to peel
• 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
• 1 cup greens (kale or spinach)
• 1 green apple
• 1 lime or lemon – no need to peel
• 1/2 jalapeno, seeded
Press cold fruit and veggies through juicer. Skim any foam off the top and stir well to combine. Chill and serve as soon as possible to maximize all the delicious goodness of the garden.
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