Juicing on a budget - money saving tips for juicing fruit, vegetables and herbs

Juicing on a budget - thoughtful ingredient selection and sourcing can result in high quality juice, even whilst saving money.

If you are a keen juicer and juice every day or even more than once a day then you will be getting through a lot of fruit, vegetable and herbs each week. The costs of your juicing ingredients could quickly mount up if you don't take into consideration some of the following factors. In this article we look at how to reduce the costs associated with regular juicing by looking at:

  • Choice of recipes/ingredients
  • Choice of juicer and what that means for your ongoing budget
  • Sourcing of your juicing ingredients

Choosing your juicing ingredients to minimise costs

Supplying your juicing ingredients on a budget does not mean that you should accept a poorer nutritional / taste value from your juicing products. As we will shortly see, attempting to reduce the cost of drinks created with your juicer can actually improve the nutritional value and flavours of your juices.

Use produce that is in season

In money saving terms this is a simple case of supply and demand. When a specific ingredient such as Strawberries are in season in summer they are relatively cheap as there is an abundance of them in the shops. In winter if you want strawberries they have to be brought from another part of the world where the growing climate is warmer. The benefits of using in season produce include:

  • Cheaper to buy due to the 'glut' of harvesting that produce as well as the reduced transportation costs
  • More locally produced food will be on shelves quicker and therefore of better nutritional value
  • Ensures a wide variety of produce is used throughout the year
  • Produce is not artificially ripened with ethene gas as occurs when importing produce from afar.

Don't buy juice ingredients using just your eyes

When obtaining juicing ingredients there is no need for the produce to have a perfect appearance. The ingredients are unrecognisable once they have been put through your juicer. Many supermarkets will only display produce of a certain size, color and 'skin tone'. This results in 'non-perfect' produce being thrown away / not used or being reduced in price.

It doesn't matter if there are a few blemishes / small bruises on an apple. It doesn't matter if a pepper is a slightly odd shape and has an uneven colouring. As long as the produce is fresh then it is fit for juicing. If you are concerned about bruised areas on fruit or veg then you can just cut off the bruised area.

A huge saving on the juicing budget can be made if you are able to collect 'windfall' fruits that have fallen from trees and have been abandoned by the orchard owner due to bruising / lack or resources for harvesting.

Use 'staple' ingredients of a juicer

Many juicer recipes are based around a similar base that has extra 'flavouring' juices added to it to provide variation on the basic juice. The most obvious example here is carrot and apple. Carrot and Apple are used as a base for many juices and they are two of the cheapest types of fruit and vegetable around. They both have a good nutritional make up that covers a wide range of our nutritional requirements.

To make a large glass of strawberry juice would work out relatively expensive and require a couple of punnets of strawberries. However the costs can be reduced dramatically if you use a cheaper base juice to form the bulk of the juice. To add a strong strawberry flavour to a large glass of apple juice only takes a small amount of strawberry juice (just a small handful of strawberries).

Choosing the right juicer and equipment to maximise your budget

Here we will examine the equipment we can use to make our juicing habits more streamlined and efficient.

Choosing the right juicer can be the key to a happy, efficient juicing process as opposed to a frustrating effort that does not yield the results that you require. Before choosing a juicer you need to assess how you will be wanting to use the juicer:

  • how often will you juice?
  • how much time can you spend making juice?
  • what types of juice do you want to make - fruit / vegetable / wheatgrass / all types?
  • what health benefits that you want to achieve from using your juicer?

Ease of use - less waste produce

The easier a juicer is to use the more often you are likely to use it. This means that you are less likely to have produce being stored for more than a few days. This will stop there being so much waste produce being discarded due to it perishing.

Consuming fruit and vegetables in this way also means that you get the extra benefits of greater levels of vitamins and other nutrients from your juices as these levels diminish over time. This is why you should never buy 'reduced to clear' produce for juicing as the old produce will be of poorer nutritional value than fresh produce.

Ease of use can include the following factors

  • How small does the produce have to be cut up to fit into the juicers feeding chute
  • How quickly can you put produce through the juicer
  • How easy is the juicer to assemble / disassemble
  • Do you have to change juicing screens to juice different types of produce?
  • How easy is the juicer to clean?

Juice yield - how efficient is the juicer at extracting juice?

Your choice of juicer will affect how much juice (juice yield) your juicer will extract. The higher the juice yield your juicer gives, the less produce you will have to use to extract the required amount of juice. This can save on your grocery bills and although it may not seem like a lot for one glass of juice multiply this by the number of times you use your juicer each year and it can quickly add up to become quite a significant saving.

Some juicers are more efficient than others at juicing certain types of produce. An example of this is the hand powered wheatgrass juicers such as the z-star which juices wheatgrass and leafy greens very efficiently but is not so efficient at juicing other produce such as apples.

If you will be juicing only grapefruit and oranges than a citrus juicer may be the most efficient juicer for you as they do a very good job of extracting the maximum juice levels out of citrus fruit but are not much use for juicing vegetables etc. The Champion Juicer is a good all round fruit and vegetable juicer although it does not juice wheatgrass efficiently.

Some juicers such as the Twin health and Green Star come with a number of juicing screens that enable them to juice a wide range of produce with equal efficiency. For instance there may be a soft fruits screen, a vegetable screen and a wheatgrass / leafy greens screen.

Centrifugal juicers are available that eject the pulp automatically, this means the pulp is not held in the juicer for very long and so this could lead to the pulp being ejected before much juice could be extracted from it. To combat this pulp-ejecting centrifugal juicers spin at a much higher speed than non pulp-ejecting machines so that more centrifugal force is applied to the pulp in an effort to extract as much juice as possible in the short time the pulp is in the juicer.

Cheap juicers don't always work out cheap

There are plenty of cheap juicers on the market and many of these will make an excellent starting point when entering the world of juicing. However in the long run they may not work out to be as cheap as expected as the motors tend to wear out and quicker and the resilience of the parts tend to be less than more expensive models that come with a higher standard of build quality. Cheap models often come with a short warranty on their motor and parts.

Get yourself some sealable flasks / jars that can store juice in the refrigerator

This is a great tip to help you save money when juicing. Sometimes you will have an abundance of produce or may not want to have to juice multiple times in one day. If you are going out for the day it may not be convenient to take your juicer with you.

In these types of scenarios having a flask that you can chill and seal juice in is invaluable as you can take your juice on the go or store it to drink later in the day. If storing the juice ensure to fill the flask / jar to the top so that oxidation will be slower than when there is a lot of air in the top of the flask.

To further help the prevention of the juice oxidating add some lemon juice to the juice as it contains anti-oxidants such as citric acid.

If you want to store juice for later consumption then twin gear juicers can be better than centrifugal juicers as they introduce less air into the juice due to their slower operating speed and so oxidation of the juice takes longer.

Sourcing your juicing produce to make the most of your budget

Cheap juice doesn't have to mean reduced quality juice. Now lets look at where to source your fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Grow your own fruit and veg

Growing your own fruit and vegetables won't only save you money, it will give you a great sense of satisfaction as well as enabling you to be sure about the growing conditions, pesticides, fertilisers and insecticides that have been used on the produce you juice. Find out more about growing your own vegetables and fruit.

If you have a successful crop and have excess amounts of some of your produce then you can barter with other locals who grow their own. If you can't find anyone to barter with then you can either freeze the produce or try selling it at your local fairs and markets.

If you don't have the time to take care of a vegetable plot or herb containers then why not get yourself a couple of fruit trees? Once established fruit trees require very little maintenance and are some of the heaviest croppers there are. You can find many types of fruit trees at your local garden centre including damsons, plums, apples and pears. For the more adventurous you can also now easily get hold of lemon, lime and olive trees although these will need to be in a heated indoors area over winter. If your local garden centre doesn't stock what you want then try looking for an online supplier who will deliver.

Use local markets

You will find many bargains to be had at local markets and fairs including a good proportion of organic produce that is suitable for juicing. Organic produce seems to automatically have a 'fashionable tax' applied to it in the supermarket just as designer items would in a clothes shop.

At local markets such as women's institute or local farmers markets you can pick up organic bargains without the extra price hike. What's more you can make some very useful contacts and negotiate great deals if you agree to take so much of a crop from an allotment holder or keen gardener. These contacts can be invaluable as they will also be able to advise you on what crops are best suited to your local area and may also share advice so that you can successfully grow your own crops.

Local markets also have the massive advantage of the produce being very fresh due to the minimal packaging and transportation that is required to get the produce to the customer.

Pick your own

Many farmers will offer produce at a much reduced cost if you pick your own from their fields and orchards as it saves them labour costs. Pick your own is most commonly associated with strawberries but all types of vegetables and fruit can be obtained this way. Striking a bargain with a farmer for obtaining windfall fruits which would otherwise be left to waste can be one of the best ways of juicing on a budget. If you buy some other produce the farmer may well let you have windfall produce for free. As well as making juices you could also consider using such abundant crops and your juicer for other purposes such as making Cider or apple wine.

Using any of the above local methods you will also be helping to save the planet as well as saving money as there will be a massively reduced carbon footprint associated with minimal food transportation associated with your juicing routine.

If shopping in stores

If you choose your time carefully then you should be able to pick up bargains. Many small grocers want to clear their stock on Saturday so that it doesn't perish further over the rest of the weekend. If you arrive just before closing on Saturday you will often find the more perishable items reduced.

Make sure to take care to avoid produce that has been reduced because it is past its best. Once a fruit or vegetable is past its optimum ripeness its nutritional content usually deteriorates with time.

Juicing doesn't have to cost the earth

Hopefully in this article we have given you an idea of how juicing is entirely possible on a budget. You have learnt how to save money in a number of ways including choosing the right types of produce that are in season, sourcing your juicing produce from the right place and choosing the juicer that is most suited to your individual requirements.

In addition you can see that you can still produce the highest quality fresh juice even though it is costing you less.