As summer quickly fades from our memory and the chilly fall and winter seasons set in, I watch in distress while in-season fruits and vegetables give way to canned goods and frozen peas. I know I’m being a little bit dramatic since my Southern California home sees a lot of fruit in season all-year long, but I like to stock up my juice stash during peak seasonality anyway – just to be on the safe side. Now that I’ve gotten used to home-squeezed, I’m totally spoiled and can’t go back to the mass-produced stuff. And you’d be hard-pressed to find me out there picking oranges or lemons for my breakfast juice during those bitter 60-degree San Diego Decembers. That would require me to put on a sweater.
First of all, you need a good juicer. It needs to be nice and big and have two interchangeable heads for different size fruits (a small one for things like lemons and limes, and a large one for oranges and grapefruit). And this is really important: it needs to rotate automatically. I know that you’ll stumble across some fancy ceramic animal juicer and say, “But this one’s SO pretty!”
It won’t look as pretty when you have carpal tunnel syndrome after four lemons.
You should also anticipate that it takes a lot of fruit to get a good amount of juice. I get an estimated half cup of juice per orange and about a quarter cup per lemon, and an eighth-cup (or one ounce) per lime. This is why I generally prefer to make orange juice!
To make good juice, start out with extremely ripe fruit. The kind that seems like it’ll go bad if you don’t eat it in the next day or two. Then you simply slice it in half through the middle horizontally and press it down onto the proper-sized juicing head. The juicer will automatically rotate and squeeze the juice out. Orange juice is good without anything added, while lemon or lime juice need a lot of sugar added (just keep adding until it tastes right to you) to make lemonade or limeade.
Yes, juice can be frozen. I freeze mine in a ziploc bag by clearing a flat space in the freezer. Once it’s frozen flat, I can easily move it upright and store that way for several months. I suggest freezing any juice by itself and adding any necessary sugar after thawing. I’ve heard people complain that their homemade orange juice tastes bitter after freezing, but I’ve never had this problem. They probably weren’t using good oranges, but this problem can be solved by adding a bit of sugar.
Making juice at home can seem intimidating at first but it quickly becomes really addictive. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about how to make juice!