Sometimes you can beat even Costco’s prices if you know where to look.
Costco’s least expensive option for a Vitamix blender is only offered in a bundle which includes the Dry Grains Container. The standard, less expensive, Vitamix bundle is not available from Costco. Also, Costco’s bundle is only available in limited colors. Vitamix’s online store offers the full range of color options.
Make your own organic, sodium free vegetable juice at home. Three good reasons:
You know exactly what you’re putting into it. You are in control of everything – the ratios, the source of your food, the amount of washing, etc.
No sodium (except for the naturally occurring sodium contained in your carrots)
This is what I buy. Feel free to substitute or skip ingredients. One of the best things about doing this is there is no ‘wrong’ way. If you used only one or two of the items on this list, you’ll benefit greatly.
My general goal is to streamline the procedure as much as possible; the less time it takes to make it, the more frequently I’ll be able to do it. I make about a quart at a time and store the extra in the fridge so my family & I can drink it throughout the day.
If you forget your shopping list, simply grab a can of V8 at the store & use the printed ingredients as your list.
Homemade V8 Shopping List
Campbells V8 Ingredients
Get organic if you can
Cucumber (My husband prefers this instead of tomato; less acidic)
Carrots, with greens if available
Beets, with greens
Fresh Curly Parsley
Watercress (if you can find it)
Spinach (prewashed, organic)
Citric Acid (flavoring & neutralizing agent)
Ascorbic Acid (maintains color and flavor)
† Natural flavoring may include onion or garlic derivatives, as well as flavor derived from fruits, vegetables and their juices, or edible parts of plants. Other sources may include meat, seafood, poultry or dairy products, whose significant function in the food is flavoring rather than nutrition.
Materials You’ll Need
A cutting board and a knife. Sounds obvious, but sometimes I get lazy and cut my vegetables over the open container. It’s dangerous and the lip of my blender container is dinged up from all the downward knife slips that bounced off the rim…hopefully you will choose to do it on a cutting board.
Blender powerful enough to break down leaves, beets and fibrous vegetables.
Storage Container for refrigerating the extra juice. I use a repurposed Prego spaghetti sauce jar. It’s good to get into the habit of emptying and rinsing out your blender container as soon as you’re done with – they are tougher to clean if you let the contents dry out on the inner walls…
Washing. Aside from the fact that there is sometimes naturally occurring soil on your organic produce, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of washing everything thoroughly before you juice it; this stuff isn’t getting cooked.
Cut off the beet greens of 1 beet and set them aside for washing
Cut off carrot greens (if you have them) of two carrots and set them aside for washing. Gather up the other greens (lettuce, spinach, parsley, watercress) you have.
Wash your greens thoroughly with cold water and set them aside.
Wash your beet root and trim off whatever parts of the beet you don’t want to blend. (I blend everything.)
Wash your carrots and tomato / cucumber
You only need to cut the larger vegetables to a size that they can fall below the level of the blades. For example, if you were to drop a whole apple in the blender bin and turn it on, it would probably just sit on top of the blade axle while the blades spun uselessly below.
Quarter your tomato (or chop your cucumber into big chunks) and throw it in the bin first. You want your softer, juicier ingredients towards the bottom so the blades can get up to speed faster.
Halve your lemon.
Place your leafy greens in the bin
Cut your beet and carrot into large chunks and put them in last.
Pour in 1 cup of water. We use filtered tap water.
Squeeze in the juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Be careful to catch the seeds as they get squeezed out and set them aside; they will add a bit of bitter flavor if you blend them.
Start the blender on a slow cycle to get it started. Gradually increase the speed of the blades as the mix starts to get broken up.
Once you get up to full speed, run it for a full minute to get the tougher root vegetables broken down into drinkable particles.
If you want – de-bubble your smoothie before pouring your drink. I wrote a short post describing how to do it.
I tweak the flavor and thickness of my smoothies a bit more in each glass as needed with additional drops of lemon juice or by adding water to thin the juice.
Using a powerful blender allows you the benefit of penetrating the cellular walls of the plants so that your body can access all the nutrients available. The only downside (to me; as some people, like my husband, enjoy the froth) to this mighty churning is the air that inevitably gets pulled into the mix during the process.
The Vitamix motor, blades and bin are designed to create a powerful vortex that sucks everything in the bin down into the center towards the blades where it gets atomized into tiny particles. And when I say “everything” in the bin, I’m including the air. Air gets sucked into the vortex and is broken up into tiny air bubbles by the blades, which are then evenly distributed as tiny air pockets throughout the mix; so small they aren’t bouyant enough to rise back up through the thick material.
I’m not a big fan of foamy, frothy, fluffy green smoothies. They’re difficult to drink without making a giant mustache & full of tiny air bubbles that I’d rather not consume.
Here’s a trick to getting at least some of the air bubbles out:
Once you’re done blending your smoothie, stop the blades as you normally would. This will allow the biggest pockets of air to get out from under the turning blades and escape. But don’t pour it out just yet.
Turn the blades back on at a low speed; just fast enough to create a gentle whirlpool; You don’t want the whirlpool to be big enough that it pulls more air down into the center.
The gentle whirlpool will pull a lot of the smaller air bubbles to the center of the vortex where they will merge with one another, get bigger & more buoyant, and escape to the top.
Turn the blades off to allow your newly formed ‘bigger bubbles’ to escape the vortex and rise to the surface.
Cycle through that a couple times and you will greatly reduce the amount of air you consume with your smoothies. Also, the more water you add to your mix, the easier it will be for the smaller air bubbles to rise to the surface.
We have the large 64 oz container so I generally make enough to store in the fridge for the family. The stored smoothie is always fine after it sits in the fridge for a few hours and the bubbles have had a chance to rise.
I like to make & store my smoothies thick, then mix it with half-water each time in the glass I drink from. A quick stir with a fork usually does the trick to get it to exactly the way I like it.
A few years ago, while my wife and I were on vacation in Hawaii, we happened upon a beautiful little produce stand that sold smoothies made with organic fruit grown on-site (Laulima Farms in Hana, Maui). We spent some time hanging out there, talking to the people who worked on the farm and to the locals who stopped by.
I really fell in love with the place. I was enamored with the fact that they grew their own food, and that it was organic; that they made it fresh to-order for anyone who stopped by; in a blender powered by a bicycle! And on and on.
Over the years I’ve thought about that place and how fortunate those people were to be a part of it. Eventually I decided that instead of being envious of how good they had it, I would do whatever I could to make my home my own personal paradise.
I realized that back on that island farm, the fruit didn’t magically appear. The bamboo produce stand with hand-painted signs didn’t either. Ditto for the bike-powered blender. Those things took time and effort to plan, grow, build and refine.
So we started building our own paradise with small luxuries; a small bed for herbs in our back yard. A potted basil plant in the kitchen. Having fresh herbs literally footsteps away from your food prep area is great! It makes me smile every time I snip a handful of herbs for a meal or gently touch the leaves just to release their fresh fragrance.
Every year we improve upon our paradise plan, or attempt to and learn from our setbacks. The fruits of our labor are here to greet us every day. It’s nice to think about it that way instead of always wishing I were a long flight and a hemisphere away from my every day life.
We grew watermelon on a whim this year for the first time. Because the seeds were given to us, we had no idea how big they were supposed to get or what they would look like when ripe.
Our son’s excitement was the catalyst to try one out. The process of selecting the one we were going to pick, feeling how heavy it was in our hands once we picked it, and the anticipation of what we would find when we sliced into it made for a really fun experience.
The biggest payoff was, of course, the eating of the watermelon; it tasted fantastic. They contain so much juice that I’m looking forward to figuring out how to extract the juice directly. Cheesecloth is on the ‘to buy’ list.