Friday, January 3, 2014

Juicing Vs. Blending...Who Cares, Really? It's ALL Good, People!

There are some topics I firmly believe are worth debating:

Legalizing marijuana...yes or no?
Go to war...yes or no?
Politicians...throw them off a bridge or down a spiked pit?
Quit your job or stay?

Etc. etc. etc.  Right?

After all, some of the best solutions come from debates.  The talking about and gathering of information before a decision is made.  Sometimes, there is no debate, and foolhardy decisions and rash actions ensue, and before one knows it, Spiderman the Musical is debuting on Broadway.

But Juicing Vs. Blending?  One of those topics that don't need to be hashed out in forums, blogs, coffeehouses or on Senate floors.

Because no matter how you go about's all good for you.  Okay!?

You put fruits and vegetables into a machine and process it down to a drinkable drink.  Everybody wins.  No need to discuss.

Once upon a time, when I was going through a phase, I purchased one of these:

This is a juicer.  The fruit, etc. goes in the top (whole, mostly, except for citrus) and two things happen: 1.) the fibrous pulpy stuff shoots out into the plastic bin on the left.  And 2.) the liquid dribbles down into the container at right.

And it was fun and yummy for awhile.  Then, the novelty dimmed.  Cleaning became a little easier only after lining the plastic bin with a plastic grocery sack.  The chute the fruit goes down meets a metal/mesh strainer, which was an absolute pain in the ass to clean (I don't swear much here, so for me to do so, you know it's got to be a big deal).  I stopped wanting to spend twenty minutes scrubbing the little pulp residues out of the strainer.  My mango-pear-celery drink started to lose its glamour, you know?

Also, since this machine only extracts the juice, it takes a lot of fruit/vegetable to get a decent 8 ounces.  I live in a landlocked area...fresh fruits cost a lot more than they would if I lived in Cali or similar.  Soon, I'd be spending a small fortune on produce (not that I mind, normally, but for a couple of glasses of juice? Nah.).

Hence, that was the end of juicing and the beginning of blending.  Which, frankly, appealed to me more anyway.  I *like* the skin on fruit, and I don't mind roughage or fiber in my drinks.  So, I bought this guy:

Triple-blade action Ninja Professional.  That's what I'm talking about.  I used this sucker just about every morning when I first got it.  I'd toss in a couple of handfuls of spinach or kale, celery if I had it, a peeled orange, a banana, and whatever frozen fruit I had available.

Om nom nom nom.

Then, I started noticing the blades weren't puréeing things as well as I wanted.  I was getting pieces of spinach or chunks of frozen peaches.  Meh.  The pitcher part of the device was hard to clean, and I found dried green gunk in the crevices between the black plastic outside and clear plastic inside.  Then, about two months ago, the lid started going to hell.  The Release button on the lid snapped off, and the two-piece lid would separate every time I lifted it off the pitcher.

I toyed with the idea of buying a new Ninja (a MEGA kitchen one - 1,500 watts!)...but I just couldn't stomach the spending of $200-plus...especially right at Christmas.  So, the husband put the bug in his mom's ear about my needing a new blender.  And, lo and behold, I received this for Christmas...

I'd been holding out for a Vitamix, but knew it was irrational to expect my mother-in-law to shell out upwards of $350 on her daughter-in-law.

So, the Oster it was.  I toted it home, and unpacked it shortly after Christmas (nothing like veg-fruit smoothies for breakfast to jumpstart weight loss).

Now, with my Ninja, I could honestly just throw everything in the pitcher, hit Start and sit back for a few minutes.  With the Oster, that won't work (everything just sits in the bottom of the pitcher, blending pointlessly).  So, here's what I learned...a half-cupish of water first, then greens, then blend.  The spinach or kale will purée quickly, and then I can easily add my fruits a little a time until it's the consistency I want.  I do end up adding enough water to equate four cups...then there's a two-cup serving for me and TechMeat.

Ultimately, I like blending better because I feel more full...which makes sense because I'm getting the good stuff (aka fiber).  I can't think of a better, easier way to get a slam-dunk serving of my needed fruits and leafy green vegetables.  This morning, I was out of spinach, and I used bagged kale leaves.  They worked just as well, but I added a little agave nectar, as kale is a bit more bitter.

And, again, it's ALL good for you!  And so easy.  And so versatile.  I mean, really, keep the greens, but throw anything else that you have on hand.  Keep in mind that fruits have sugar, though, so go heavier on the greens if you plan to put a whole fruit bowl in there or something.  And hey, add a half-cup of plain Greek yogurt for extra protein and lovely creaminess.

If you need a recipe, here you go.  No printable version today.

3 cups of leafy green (spinach leaves or kale)
4 oz (half-cup) of water
1 banana
1 orange, peeled (I've done pears or apples too, but those should be cored first)
1 cup frozen fruit (I've used strawberries, mixed fruit, peaches, pineapple)

Extra: Yogurt, wheat germ, granola

Blend greens and water first.  Add other fruits and blend until smooth.  Add enough water to make four cups and give one last final blend.  Give two cups to your significant other for breakfast or reserve it for your lunch.  Brew a nice cup of coffee and enjoy your two beverages while you read The Silmarillion or Thomas Keller's cookbook ad hoc or check your Internets.  Erm.  Wait.  That's me.  You read what you want while your enjoy your smoothie.

A cautionary note, though.  Don't start drinking these smoothies for every meal, thinking if one is good, three is even better.  Eat some meat, eat some whole plants, use your teeth, have a potato or something.  Let's not be manically excessive here, okay? 


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  2. Completely agreed on the silly juicing vs. blending battle. It makes me envision a gang fight between armed fruits and veggies.

    I hope the Oster is good to you. I've been thinking about a Ninja, but based on your experience, I'll just stick with my Oster.