Preparing Produce for Juice

Preparing Produce for Cold-Pressed Juice

Preparing Produce for Juice

Should I peel, de-seed or remove? I get these types of questions a lot and have found that when prepping produce for juicing, the way you prep certain items will depend on functionality and your personal preferences. Here are some of my tips to help guide you:

General Tips:

  1. Always wash produce thoroughly and use a produce or antimicrobial wash – when serving a raw, unpasteurized juice, you want to make sure the product is as clean as possible.
  2. If the peel doesn’t affect the flavor or color of the juice – don’t peel it! There is a large concentration of beneficial nutrients in the outer layer of many fruits and vegetables.
  3. If the seeds are the size of a cherry pit or larger, remove them – pits and large seeds can lend a slightly bitter flavor to juice, as well as wear down or even damage blades.
  4. For large items (pineapples and larger), I prefer to cut into quarters – this will make it easier to process the produce at a more consistent rate.
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Preparing Fresh Fruit and Vegetables for Juice

Apples: You can keep whole and unpeeled.

Beets: Remove the top ends and clean the bottoms thoroughly. If they are small in size, I remove the bottom skinny part as well.

Berries: These small, fleshy fruits have a soft texture and do not contain a lot of liquid. I recommend using a blender to blend into a puree, then add it to the juice. To use more as a color and flavor infusion – lightly process, then press with your other recipe ingredients.

Carrots: I like to remove the top ends of the carrots due to the fact that it’s tough to remove all the dirt.

Cucumbers: Clean with antimicrobial wash to remove any wax. For light colored, non-green juices, I peel the cucumbers – otherwise I leave the skin on.

Leafy Vegetables: In general, do not remove the stems – they typically contain a lot of flavor and juice. Coming from the farm, leafy greens usually have the most dirt on the leaves and need to be thoroughly washed.

Lemons & Limes: For stronger flavored or full bodied juices, I like to grind these with the peel on – this is a preference where some might disagree – but when juiced whole, I find the peel not as bitter than it is with oranges and grapefruits.

Mangos & Papayas: These are a little pricey in most locations and do not contain a lot of juice – I recommend to blend in a blender and then add to the juice.

Melons: You can either peel or keep the rind on watermelon, if it is not that sweet, I would definitely peel. I like to de-seed honeydew and cantaloupe, as you get a slightly bitter flavor when you grind or process the seeds.

Nuts: In general, remove shells – however, keep or order with the skins on if possible, nuts such as almonds contain a lot of flavor in the brown skin.

Oranges & Grapefruits: I prefer to peel these items and then grind & press due to the bitter flavor in the peel.

Pineapples: Remove the green crown and cut into quarters, but leave the skin on.

Passion Fruit: In most areas these are a bit pricey, I like to add this to finished juice by scooping out the seeds and mixing them into the juice.

Have questions on specific produce? Or have tips you would like to share? Let us know by commenting below.

Infographic for Easy Reference on How to Prepare Produce for Juice

 

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About The Author

Ari Sexner is a classically trained chef who has worked at some of the finest dining restaurants in America, and eventually made his way into cold-pressed juice, developing the first USDA Certified Organic juice program on the Las Vegas strip for Bellagio Hotel. He currently works as a full time consultant, guiding new cold-pressed juice companies through kitchen planning, operations, recipe creation, food costing, sourcing ingredients, HACCP and SSOP programs, USDA Organic Certification, and more.

33 Responses

  1. Very helpful !! Thank you 🙂

    Reply

    1. Very helpful article! We are a certified organic juice business and have never used produce wash, but we do thoroughly wash all our fruits and veggies before pressing them into juice. The leafy greens (parsley, kale, cilantro, mint) usually get triple washed. We use a lot of organic apples, and cut them in half stem-to-stem before grinding to make sure the centers are “clean”. For our carrot-orange-turmeric drink we’ve been following Goodnature’s tip for pressing oranges — cut them in half without peeling and put them right into the pressing bag with the plates barely open (no grinding). I think there’s a video that shows this. Would you please share the exact name of the Ecolab produce wash you use that’s approved for certified organic operations – we’re interested to try it. We do remove the very long stems on parsley — is this one of the greens that has flavorful stems?

      Reply

      1. Hello, it’s great to talk to certified organic operations, it’s always a challenge to keep up with the organic produce and documentation but rewarding in the end. The antimicrobial wash is called fruit and vegetable antimicrobial treatment from ECOlab. It used to be called Victory but they have discontinued it a few years ago, both work great though. For the herbs I typically use all stems unless they are yellow, bruised, hard or Woody. Typically the Woody stems can give a bitter flavor when processed.

        Reply

  2. Wow you leave the rind on the pineapple? Do you have a preference in antimicrobial wash? I’ve always just used water. Preferably one that goes well with organic marketing?

    Reply

    1. Yes, From some tests, we have found the just cutting off the green crown on top and leaving the brown peel on, the fibers help get a little higher yield from the pineapple and a little easier removing the pulp from the bag during cleaning. For the antimicrobial wash, I like to use ECOlabs brand, they have one that is approved for certified organic operations.

      Reply

  3. Excellent article!

    Reply

  4. what is cost of getting X1 to Abuja, Nigeria. what is the capacity of generator that can power his extractor? Thanks.

    Reply

    1. Hello Abdullahi, Eric will reach out to you with that info about shipping costs and power needed for the X1. Thanks

      Reply

  5. When pressing pineapple, has anyone ever bypassed the grinding step and thrown the pineapple directly into the bags then pressing? Pineapple has so much juice in it that it takes forever to press out sometimes. Then of course the “pineapple volcano” that can come out the top of the bags if you’re not watching carefully. We always take the outside of the pineapple off & half them before grinding. Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Hello Dan, Pineapple is a little tricky to juice, we have seen that before definitely. When we juice with pineapple, we have found that the brown skin helps grip the bag a little bit to help extract the juice a little better, it also becomes difficult if it is processed too fine as well. I like the idea though of slicing it and putting directly into the bags, We will definitely try that one out next time to see how it goes. Thanks

      Reply

    2. We always wash the pineapples using a brush, cut off the top part and then cut it in slices and put it directly in the press bags. Without grinding! Works better for us than grinding. We do the same with watermelon, lemons and oranges. But the orange we peel.
      We do peel the cucumber because of the taste (more bitter/strong taste) but will try it unpeeled. Saves us time. We also peel the carrots because unpeeled gives it a brownish colour. You dont have this problem? And do you peel the beets?

      Reply

      1. Yes, Putting the watermelons and pineapples quartered directly into an X-1 and larger press works great. For cucumbers, I only peel if it’s not a green juice to keep the color vibrant. Also for beets and carrots, I treat them the same, I remove the ends on either the base or the top just because it is difficult to clean even with the brush and then wash thoroughly. This tend to keep the carrots vibrant orange however if the carrots are on the smaller end I can definitely see the outside peel changing the color of the finished juice. Its always good to experiment and the biggest thing is, different varieties of produce, sometimes need different techniques in processing. Thanks for the comment.

        Reply

  6. Hi There! Thank you for this info. How do you feel about using vinegar as a wash?

    Reply

    1. I love using it as a cleaner. I have had some issues however with getting it approved for use through local health departments. The main reason is when you use a commercial grade cleaner. Most have the ability to test the ppm or concentration for consistent results. Using vinegar is a little more difficult. I would always confirm with them first for approval in your area. Thanks

      Reply

  7. I really love ur work. kudos! what is the cost of ur cheapest juicer for commercial purposes and the cost of shipping to Nigeria?
    thank u

    Reply

    1. Hello, to give you accurate information. If you fill out an inquiry on our press page one of our sales executives will contact you. We typically need an address to give an accurate shipping quote. Any questions let me know. Thanks

      Reply

  8. Hello,
    We have an X-6 press. Do you have any tips, suggestions, processes for Prickly Pears? We would be juicing a lot of them and want to do it as efficiently as possible. Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Personally I have not, I do love the taste though. Two factors will go into this. The first would be, does the outside layer taste bitter, if it does then it needs to be peeled. The second factor is, will the outside layer change the color of the juice. If it does, then I would peel it as well. Other than that I would treat it as a soft fruit which means trying to get the grind before pressing into somewhat larger pieces. Please share with us how it came out and any tips you might want to share along the way. Thanks

      Reply

  9. Great info. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  10. Hi, what food processor do you use to grind your produce before putting it through the juicer. In particular, I’m curious about the CT-7 Counter Press juicer. Thanks?

    Reply

    1. For the CT-7 we like to use the Sammic CKE8. https://www.goodnature.com/product-category/accessories/. We like this one due to its variable speed as well as the built-in scraper makes it easy as well.

      Reply

  11. Do you have to peel ginger before processing? We would love to switch to organic ginger which is lovely but small and difficult to peel. Will the x1 take away that chore from our staff?

    Reply

    1. You do not have to peel ginger with the X1. Generally you don’t have to peel most fruit and vegetables, because the peels stay in the bag during pressing, and the grinder can work through most skins / peels.

      Reply

  12. Hi, do you have a number of amount of water used in the whole process to produce 1,000 ltrs? I mean litres used to wash the produce and the machine and tools. Thank you.

    Reply

    1. This varies a lot depending on the process, so unfortunately we don’t have that data. It would depend on your equipment, how many recipes, size of sinks, how much water your dishwasher uses (if using a dishwasher machine), etc.

      Reply

  13. Hi, thank you for the data. Do you know how much water is consumed to wash a kg of produce? In average? What about when the machine and other tools are washed?

    Reply

    1. If you fill a sink up with about 3 liters of water with produce wash in it, you can wash a lot of produce (5-10kg).

      For the machine and tools, it depends on what you are using. For the small parts, it’s best to use a 3 compartment sink. One compartment for each washing, rinsing, sanitizing. That way you don’t waste much water. For the machine, you can just use a bucket and a sponge. I would say you could plan on using 10-20 liters of water for washing a machine and all of the parts, depending on what you’re washing. This is just a guess though, I don’t know for sure.

      Reply

  14. We are finally in the process of our Build-out for our juice bar. And I am seeing that you (Chef Ari) use a wash from ECOlab. What about Food grade Hydrogen Perixide? Can one get a ppm reading using something like that?
    Thanks for the info above! Good stuff.

    I printed out the poster you created and the font is just too small to read. I was hoping to laminate it for our people when they get started. Any chance you can make the font larger?

    Reply

    1. Hello Sandy, Hope all is well. For using Hydrogen Peroxide to wash the produce, I know they have test strips to measure the parts per million or ppm, However, this process would need to be approved by your local health authority beforehand. I know the ECOlab produce wash is also approved for certified organic operations as well.
      Thanks

      Reply

  15. Hey,

    Love your articles so much – they are super helpful. We are struggling with how to prepare our ginger without it being too time consuming. What would you suggest?

    Thanks so much,
    Emma

    Reply

    1. Hello Emma, With juicing ginger on a Goodnature cold press unit it is very simple, You wash the produce and put into the grind for juicing, no need to peel and the fibers on the ginger will not clog the blade so you can juice fairly quickly. We actually have a video on our youtube page here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxXujRSlxJc&t=36s

      Reply

  16. Hi, Ari!

    Thanks for the article. On juicing the peels of citrus fruits – I know there are plentiful amounts of phytochemicals to benefit human health & preserve shelf life, but what about the volatile oils? We’ve only used a hand press to extract minimal amounts, but juicing them all whole seems like we might have some upset stomachs/increased transit times for loose bowel movements coming our way! What have you seen in your experience?

    Reply

    1. I haven’t seen that make anyone sick, but maybe it’s possible. I personally do a “rough peel” with a knife to remove most of the peel, but I don’t stress out if there’s a little bit left on.

      Reply

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