Healthy Gardening

The Juice Garden

Finally getting out in the dirt and planting some peas today! This would be  in our personal garden at home.  The greenhouses are now planted in mixtures of greens and our wild arugula. It’s nice to be home today instead and  getting  our home garden started  up too.

Juicing has become a big thing . I don’t know anyone who doesn’t juice ( except for me ! I’m just starting out ! ) , but not all juice is created equal. Everything in moderation!

While juice is certainly a better alternative to  drinking soda, certain juices still contain a lot of sugar (especially fruit juices )  and calories, so stick to an 8oz glass of juice, not one of those super sized , mega , behemoth sized containers of juice everyone is selling you on drinking. Too much of anything is never a good thing. I don’t know who said that originally  ( do you ? ) , but it’s so true.
That said, let’s make the best, most nutritious juice we can make, and let’s start by growing most of what we need or even just some of what we need to accomplish that in our own backyards . You’ll get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise to boot, and  yes, you can grow a juice garden in containers on your deck or patio !

I am so excited that it is spring. I always am ,and I am sure you are as well!
We often think of juice as citrus based and it can be, but vegetables make great juice and even sweet juice. Best to eat your fruits or use them sparingly in your juices so as not to overdo it on the  sugar.

Grow some sweets for your juice !

Beets – love ’em, hate ’em?

I know so many people that HATE beets. I don’t know why. They are so sweet !

Beets are rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition to your diet. Beets benefit  your body in so many ways such as reducing inflammation, supporting your heart, and protecting your digestive, brain, and eye health. Beets are a versatile food that can be eaten raw in salads and juices, or cooked and added to a variety of recipes spanning from breakfast to dinner.

I know you will love them in juice ,and maybe  I can change your mind about them by sharing some recipes that will make you love them as a vegetable side or in a salad on another day, but for now, they are so sweet and will contribute to your juicing pantry just like sugar only better.

Carrots – another sweet vegetable especially if grown organically. If you can manage your garden in such a way as  to plant these in late summer and let them overwinter – WOW. The taste is amazing for your table and for your juice. Overwintering your carrots brings out the best of the best in carrot sweetness. There is no comparison ,and the super market carrots, even the organic ones,  are usually not  grown this way. You may be able to find them at  farmers’ markets early spring or  from a local grower.

Grow greens for your  juice !

Kale – This Veg has become a rock star .It’s super easy to grow too. A real stand out in green juices. You can’t go wrong- so many health benefits !

In just one cup of chopped kale, you’ll find: (2)

  • Vitamin K (684% recommended daily value)
  • Vitamin A (206%)
  • Vitamin C (134%)
  • Manganese (26%)
  • Copper (10%)
  • Calcium (9%)
  • Potassium (9%)
  • Vitamin B6 (9%)
  • Iron (6%)
  • Magnesium (6%)
  • Folate (5%)
  • Riboflavin (5%)
  • Thiamin (5%)
  • Phosphorus (4%)
  • Protein (4%)
  • Niacin (3%)
  • Zinc (2%)
  • Pantothenic Acid (1%)
  • Selenium (1%)
  • Sodium (1%)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (121 mg)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (92.4 mg)

Parsley – My mom always ate her parsley when out a restaurant – that creepy curly green thing on the plate, yes , that thing. Parsley would sit there as a garnish and almost no one ever ate it, but she always did. She said it just made her feel good. Well ,  evidently there is a good reason for that.

½ cup of fresh chopped parsley (or about 8 tablespoons) has about:

Parsley would be  great to add in your juice, depending on the recipe, and  I have grown to love flat leaf parsley in my kitchen. I buy some most every week , just to have on hand. It adds great flavor to soups and just last night, I made a parsley , garlic and breadcrumb crust for some baked codfish.It was wonderful  !

Celery–  We are growing celery for the first time this year. Not only is it great to add to juice, but the leaves and seeds are a wonderful addition to your kitchen pantry.  I do grow a perennial called lovage, which tastes very much like celery  or a stronger version of it.  I use it in everything – soups ,stews, whenever  I need a punch of flavor. It’s awesome , and it comes back year after year !  It’s leaves can also be used in juice just like celery providing many of the same benefits.

The benefits of celery begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6. It’s just plain good for you !

Well, that’s a start for your juice garden. There are , of course , so many more vegetables for juicing ,  but it’s best to start small and grow . Even if you manage just one or two of these this year , you’ll have so much fun and the health benefits of being a grower of your own foods for juicing or your table are almost greater for you than the juice itself!

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