Homemade V8

Make your own organic, sodium free vegetable juice at home. Three good reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. No sodium (except for the naturally occurring sodium contained in your carrots)
  3. No additives

Grocery List

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

 

Homemade Version

Get organic if you can

Variations

Tomatoes* Tomatoes Cucumber (My husband prefers this instead of tomato; less acidic)
Carrots* Carrots, with greens if available
Celery* Celery
Beets* Beets, with greens
Parsley* Fresh Curly Parsley
Lettuce* LettucePrewashed, organic
Watercress* Watercress (if you can find it) Wheat grass
Spinach* Spinach (prewashed, organic)
Citric Acid (flavoring & neutralizing agent) Lemon
Ascorbic Acid (maintains color and flavor)
Natural Flavoring†
* Reconstituted
† 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…

Make it!

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.

Enjoy! 

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.

Homemade Baby Food: Sweet Potato

Ingredients

1 sweet potato
1/2 cup formula, breast milk or water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 410 degrees Farenheit.

Wash the sweet potato well under warm water. Poke it with a fork three or four times along the length of it, then run warm water over it again. The water that gets into the fork holes will help steam it from within.

Wrap it in tinfoil and place it on the lower rack of the oven to slow bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven. If you are using a normal blender, scoop the potato with a tablespoon out of the skin and place it in your blender.

If you are using a ‘super blender’ like a Vitamix or a Blendtec you can simply quarter it and put the whole potato, skin and all, into the blender.

Add 1/2 cup formula, breast milk or water and blend until smooth.

Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 or 3 days.

Homemade Baby Food: Rice Cereal

Congratulations on meeting this big milestone; your baby is ready to start trying some food! Since you’re reading this recipe you probably already know that the big brand, pre-made, store bought equivalent is an expensive, preservative packed inferior alternative (but we included the ingredients at the bottom just to make you feel good about your decision to make it from scratch).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Short grained brown, basmati or jasmine rice.
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/2 cup formula, breast milk or water

Directions:

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in saucepan
Add rice. simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir once at about the 10 minute mark.

Once the rice is cooked, add the 1/2 cup of forumula or breast milk and puree in your blender.

Serve warm

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.

These are the infant rice cereal ingredients from a leading baby food brand:

RICE FLOUR, TRI- AND DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SOYBEAN OIL, SOY LECITHIN, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), ELECTROLYTIC IRON, ZINC SULFATE, ALPHA TOCOPHERYL ACETATE (VITAMIN E) NIACINAMIDE (A B VITAMIN), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), FOLIC ACID (A B VITAMIN), VITAMIN B12 (CYANOCOBALAMIN)

Tomato Soup Recipe

Ingredients

6 medium tomatos (you can use canned as well). Note: I’m skipping the step of de-skinning the tomatoes because the I’m eventually going add them to our blender which will make skins and seeds smooth.
extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 stalks of celery, chopped. Note: I’m only rough chopping everything because . Since these ingredients will end up being made smooth, I’m saving time on the cutting board by not dicing/mincing.
2 or 3 carrots, chopped.
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, skinned and chopped
1.5 cups of chicken broth or bullion. My wife made some chicken curry soup with root vegetables the day before I executed this recipe, so I was lucky to have “real” broth.
1 handful fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half (optional; we had some in the fridge so I threw it in)

Nice to have

Sourdough bread. With crispy, crunchy crust. I want some right now.

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Quarter the tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Place them in the oven to roast for 15 to 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat up some olive oil in a saucepan and throw in the chopped celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.

Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth and butter. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Spoon the ingredients from your saucepan into a food processor container. You will have to do it in two rounds because there won’t be enough room in your bin for everything at once. Fill the food processor container to about halfway full and run it on high until the soup looks smooth.

Pour the pureed batch into a saucepan and add the remaining chunky ingredients to the blender bin. Add the handful of fresh basil leaves and creme to the bin and puree it all together.

Vegetables on deck for chopping
We like to keep potted basil on the windowsill so it's always handy.
Quartered tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil are ready for the oven.
Softening up the vegetables while the tomatoes roast in the oven.
Added roasted tomatoes from the oven to the saucepan to simmer.
This is what it looks like after everything has been pureed together in the Vitamix blender. Ready for a sprinkle of ground pepper and a slice of sourdough bread!

Watermelon Juice


We have a small family, so the general life cycle of a harvested watermelon from that garden has been: We eat half of it on the same day it is picked, store the rest in the fridge & it occupies valuable casserole-sized space for an eternity.

Also, every time I eat one I think: If only I could skip the seed picking and just drink the juice. Love the juice!

The combination of lack of storage space, hatred of waste and love of the idea of drinking watermelon juice gave me the motivation I needed to try an experiment.

We had recently received our new Vitamix blender. I decided to see if it was capable of crushing up all the watermelon seeds to a point that they were ‘drinkable’. It did.

The seeds gave the juice a slight bitter taste, but the overall taste was great. Our four year old also enjoyed it enough to ask for a second glass.

Watermelon Seeds

Before making it, I did some quick research to make sure that the seeds weren’t harmful and was happy to find that they are in fact nutritive. Watermelon seeds contain Zinc, an anti-oxidant which may protect against accelerated aging, and are high in protien (~30%). According to the USDA, there are 28.3 g of protein in 100 g of dried watermelon seeds. That’s amounts to around 1 cup of kernels (dried).

In some African and Asian cultures they are consumed as a snack.

How to make watermelon juice

What you’ll need

  • 1/2 small Watermelon. Makes about 30 ounces, almost 4 servings.
  • Knife
  • Blender
  • Cheesecloth (to strain out the seeds if you don’t have a “superblender” like a Vitamix that can pulverize them)

Of course you could also grow or buy the seedless variety of watermelon.

Instructions

  • Halve a small watermelon and drop chunks of it, minus the rind, into the bin.
  • Put the lid on (duh).
  • Start the blender in Variable mode, low speed.
  • Slowly turn the speed dial up to max (10).
  • Flip the switch from Variable to High.
  • Let it run for a 1 minute, 30 seconds to give it time to atomize the seeds.
  • Pour over ice, or blend ice in with it.

Enjoy!