24Kitchen Alchemist: Juice!-Green Cherry Berry

Juicing is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. When I finally got my hands on a Ninja Blender I knew it was game on. There are so many amazing things to create when you have a high powered blender—the sky is literally the limit. However, creating fresh, delicious juices seems to be the thing I use mine for the most. Juicing is one of the easiest (and yummiest) ways to pack more nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet. As much as I love a good salad, there is no way I could ever eat enough greens to get the nutrition I need. This being said, I have found it to be much easier to sneak extra veggies into my life by simply drinking them.

The Ninja juicing recipe I am sharing with you today is a really basic one. Some of my juicing creations can be a bit ingredient heavy, but this one can easily be thrown together with things you may have in your fridge or pantry already. This was my go-to juice flavor last week—I simply couldn’t get enough of the well balanced, tangy sweetness. I think the flavor profile is perfect for anyone who is just getting into juicing or someone who doesn’t particularly like eating vegetables. People who don’t even enjoy fruit have tried this recipe and happily finished off an entire glass, so I think this is a juice that will appeal to a wide range of tastebuds.

 

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Things You Need

This recipe is specifically for a Ninja Blending System or any other high powered nutrient extractor (i.e. Vitamix or Nutribullet). I do not recommend using a traditional blender, but you could. Just beware of leaves floating around in your juice. Remember: A powerful blender + Sufficient blending time = Beautifully smooth juice.

I am personally going to show you what I do to make a 16-oz serving of juice with my Ninja single serve blending cups. Sometimes I split this with someone else, but I usually just keep it all for myself. 😀 If you’d like to prepare this for your guests and need a little more than what I’m making today, simply increase the proportions accordingly! After all, sharing is caring. Ugh. How corny. 😛


Main Juice Base

  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries  (including cherries)
  • 1/4 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup green tea (chilled)
  • 5 tablespoons cherry juice

My Optional Add-Ins (Recommended)

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (preferably Bragg’s)
  • 2 tablespoons acacia powder

 


Directions & Extra Info

DSC_0129Mixed Berries

Whenever I make smoothies or juices, I like to add my fruits into the blending container first. Most fruits are super soft (even while frozen), making them great candidates for being packed into the bottom of your cup. So, grab your berries and dump them on in.

Here I chose to use a frozen organic berry mix consisting of cherries, blueberries and strawberries—all of which are amazing, healthy sources of antioxidants. I actually had two types of cherries in this particular mix:  light red sours and dark red sweets. I really enjoy this selection of fruit because it’s not too sour and not too sweet.

I do prefer to use all fresh organic produce for my juices, but frozen fruit works great if you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand or what you need isn’t in season. Frozen fruit is also a good option if you want to make your juice cold, but don’t want to introduce too much water into your blend.

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Ice

Ice makes drinks cold, but it also creates additional water. I’m all about flavor, so I try to avoid watering everything down by only adding 2-3 cubes to my blend (I save the remaining ice for when I actually serve the juice). However, you can add as little or as much ice as you’d like.

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Spinach

Next, I like to add my greens. When it comes to the solid ingredients, I have found that the texture of the juice comes out perfectly if you place the vegetables (spinach, kale, carrots, etc.) towards the top of the container. This way, they are closer to the blades and can be appropriately chopped down while blending.

For this, I used pre-washed, organic spinach leaves. Spinach is one of my most reached for greens in the kitchen, but this is especially true while juicing. Aside from spinach tasting great, it is highly nutritious. It is just brimming with awesome stuff like potassium, calcium and folate. Let’s not forget about Vitamins A, B6, C, E and K as well! We almost have the entire alphabet, ey?

I sometimes use spinach that I have frozen specifically for smoothies/juices. Just fill up a gallon-sized Ziplock bag with your fresh spinach and press all of the air out before zipping it up. This really helps extend the life of any of the fresh greens you intend on using for this purpose. Like using frozen fruit, adding frozen greens to your juice helps cool it down without needing to use a lot of ice.

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Acacia Powder

Once I have my fruits, ice and veggies added into my blending cup, I like to add in my powdered supplements. Of course, if you don’t have any supplements to add in, you can skip along to the next step. However, if you have anything like a protein or fiber powder that you would like to throw into your juice, this is when I would do it. I have found that adding this before the liquids ensures that everything gets dissolved properly—there is nothing worse than swallowing a clump of powder!

My typical powder add-in of choice is acacia powder. Acacia powder is an excellent source of fiber. Not only can it greatly improve your bowel regularity, but research also suggests that it can help you decrease body fat. I have been using it for awhile and greatly enjoy it. It is tasteless/odorless when added to drinks and can be added to hot beverages, cold beverages, soups, etc. Although it is supposed to be non-clumping, I personally dislike using it in anything other than smoothies and juices.

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Cherry Juice

Once my powdered ingredients are all tucked away into my blending container, I start to add whatever liquids I may have. For this recipe, I have 100% cherry juice. This is what gives the juice it’s predominant cherry flavor. It also joins the berries in giving the juice its deep purple color. Depending on your desired taste, you can use regular cherry juice or tart cherry juice. I tend to avoid using tart cherry juice since I already get quite a bit of zing from the ACV, but it is a good substitution if you prefer something a little less sweet. Tart cherry juice has some really good additional health benefits, so it is definitely worth giving it a shot— if you can withstand its tartness.

Cherry juice is an excellent addition to this recipe due to the nutritive value of cherries. Cherries can actually help you get better sleep due to being a healthy source of melatonin. They are also high in antioxidants, which fight free radicals and disease. And you know that I’m all for anything that comes with anti-aging benefits. Bring on the cherries!

As though they weren’t already awesome enough, cherries contain anthocyanin. You might be thinking, “What on Earth is that and why should I care?” Well, anthocyanins are basically pigments that give cherries their beautiful color. These pigments can help alleviate pain that’s caused by inflammation (think arthritis pain), so they are really useful for anyone who needs relief from inflammation-related discomfort. Since adding cherry juice into my diet, I have had significantly less post-workout soreness, so I highly recommend it to anyone who frequently experiences muscle pain.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Another optional add-in that I use for this recipe is apple cider vinegar (specifically Bragg’s brand). If you don’t want to use it or don’t have any available, no problem. However, if you’d like to use it, I have found that it gives the juice a pleasant dash of sass that would be completely lost without it.

I try to have a little ACV each and everyday, but I don’t particularly like taking it with a glass of water (a bit too sour). However, I have started adding it (also read as, hiding it) in my juices. Voila! Problem solved. The sweetness of the fruit helps mask the sourness of the ACV, making it very easy to get my daily doses in.

The reported health benefits of ACV are simply too good to pass up. Great for beautifying your skin and hair, ACV can help keep your blood sugar in check and balance your body’s pH. It is also said to help detoxify your body and support weight loss.

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Green Tea

Without a base liquid, our juice would be far too viscous. To help thin everything out and make things a bit more palatable, I like to add green tea. Sometimes I use a flavored green tea, sometimes not. Sometimes I use a sweetened green tea, sometimes not. It all depends on my current mood and whether I want my juice to be more tangy or sweet. I do not add any sugar or sweeteners to any of my juices (outside of what the ingredients already provide), so this is your last chance to add some sweetness, if that’s what you wish to do.

I use green tea as a base liquid instead of adding more juice because juice can be high in sugar and calories. Water is also a less than appealing choice (though I sometimes use it) because it doesn’t provide any real health benefits or flavor. To keep my juices as healthy and flavorful as possible, I make the green tea my primary liquid. Green tea has a delightful, light flavor that goes with just about anything you pair it with.

High in antioxidants, green tea is said to contain epigallocatechin gallate, also known as, EGCG. EGCG boosts your body’s ability to burn fat, which is great if you are looking to lose or maintain your weight.

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Blend. Garnish. Serve.

At this point, you are ready to screw your blending container’s top on and get to blending. The proper blend time really depends on your specific machine and desired texture. I personally blend my juices anywhere from 45 secs to 1.5 minutes (on a continuous blend). My primary goal is to get everything well pulverized, so I blend until I see that the juice immediately falls away from the sides of the blending cup once I stop the blender. This tells me that the consistency is just right—for me.

If you want a thicker juice that borders more along the lines of a smoothie, blend less. If you want an extremely thin and watery blend, prepare to stand there awhile. And of course, you will need to blend longer if you are preparing a bigger batch. With practice, you will learn how to time your blends so that they match your desired consistency each and every time. Or, if you are lucky, your blender has a built-in timer—no need to guess anymore!

Once you have obtained the texture you are looking for, you can drink your juice straight from your single-serve cup or pour it into a glass. On this occasion, I was going for bistro-realness, so I took the time to serve it in one of my favorite juice glasses with ice and a pretty garnish. Just top your juice with two overlapping leaves of spinach and a cluster of frozen berries for a summer-friendly drink that is sure to please your eyes as well as your tastebuds.

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And that’s it! Super easy, huh? In just a few minutes, you’ve got a homemade juice that is packed with all sorts of minerals and vitamins. So, if you have a pool party, brunch or garden dinner party coming up this summer, keep this drink in mind. It’s a beautiful and delicious beverage option whether you are entertaining your guests or simply trying to integrate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. If you try this and end up liking it, feel free to let me know down below. I’d love to hear what you guys think.

With summer coming up, I plan to share many more of my very own recipes. I may test drive and reimagine other people’s recipes as well. So, if you have a recipe you’d like me to try out and create a remixed version of to share on here, submit it to me. ‘Til next time…stay golden, guys and dolls!

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