Squeezing the Most Out of Your Juicing Budget
If you recently bought a juicer, or are thinking about buying one, you’re not alone. The juicer has become an increasingly common home appliance in recent years as more people seek to enjoy its many health benefits without having to saddle up to a juice bar at the local health club. But while you may have little difficulty justifying the initial cost of a juicer, the cost of fresh produce to shove down your juicer chute may be more than you bargained for. Fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t cheap, and the amount you need to sustain a juicing habit may surprise you.
Take orange juice, for example. Running fresh oranges through a juicer produces juice that’s more delicious than you’re likely to find at any grocery store (unless it sells fresh orange juice of course). Unfortunately, depending on the efficiency of your juicer, it might take four oranges to produce just one 8 oz glass of juice. The good news is that you’re getting a lot of nutrition packed into that 8 oz. The bad news is that you’re paying coffee shop prices for it.
So which wins out, health consciousness or cost consciousness? With the following tips, you don’t have to decide. Read on to find out how you can save money while still enjoying the benefits of regular juicing.
Pick Your Produce Wisely
Fruits and vegetables vary in cost, a fact that tends to escape people who purchase small amounts of them. Once you’re buying the large quantities of fresh produce required to maintain a regular juicing regimen, those price differences that seemed insignificant before suddenly become magnified. Make sure you know how much different kinds of produce cost per pound before deciding what to buy for your juicer.
Also keep in mind that some fruits and vegetables produce larger amounts of juice than others. Sadly, one of the cheapest fruits – bananas – produce no juice at all. Experiment with your juicer to find out which fruits and vegetables produce a lot of juice and which just end up in the pulp bin.
For amount of juice per dollar, it’s hard to beat carrots and apples. On the opposite end of the spectrum, berries are expensive on a per pound basis and tend to produce less juice than other fruit.
Buy In Bulk
Given the amount of fruit and vegetables you could be going through, a membership in a warehouse club like Costco or Sam’s Club could easily pay for itself within a few months. In exchange for a membership fee, warehouse clubs offer discounts for buying items in bulk. You may never have a use for many of the Paul Bunyan-sized products at these stores, but with a juicer, you will always have a use for large amounts of fruits and vegetables. A five pound bag of apples purchased at a warehouse club might save you 50% or more off what you would pay at an ordinary grocery store.
Dilute Your Juice
To a juicer newbie, the amount of juice produced by a single fruit or vegetable may seem minuscule. In a way, that’s one of the main advantages of owning a juicer, as it allows you to gulp down several servings of fruits and vegetables from a single glass. On the other hand, the large amount of produce you go through can strain the pocketbook. If you want your produce to go farther, consider diluting it with water. Depending on the fruit or vegetable, you might actually find it tastes better this way.
If you do decide to dilute with water, be sure pour the water through your juicer after running your produce through. That way you pick up some of the residue clinging to the inside of your juicer, maximizing the flavor of your juice (not to mention making cleanup that much easier).
You can also combine expensive fruits and vegetables with less expensive staples to drive down your overall cost. For example, many fruits and vegetables benefit from being combined with apples, which are cheap and add sweetness.
Don’t Buy Organic
Organic produce is more expensive and research is sketchy on its health benefits. Even if you want to avoid potentially harmful pesticides as much as possible, you may not need to buy all organic produce. Some fruits and vegetables contain higher amounts of pesticides than others. For each fruit or vegetable you buy for your juicer, you may want to ask yourself whether the benefit outweighs the additional cost.
The bottom line: While buying organic is advisable if you can afford it, you’re better off buying non-organic than foregoing the benefits of more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Grow Your Own
If you grow your own garden, you already have an abundant source of fresh fruits and vegetables during the growing season. Rather than foisting those extra tomatoes off on your coworkers, why not run them through the juicer and enjoy them in concentrated form (the tomatoes, not your coworkers)? Better yet, next time you plan your garden make some room for the extra produce you’ll need for your juicer. That way you can keep both your juicer and your coworkers happy.