“What is cold-pressed juice,” our aunt asked us recently, “and should I be drinking it instead of Tropicana?”
While we don’t focus on health foods, we’ll give the topic a bit of attention.
Cold-pressed juicing has existed for decades among health-food devotées, and generated attention in the 1990s as more sophisticated home juicers came onto the market.
But it has become much more visible over the last few years as some celebrities (Gwyneth, Kim et al) have publicized their juice fasts for dieting and/or health.
This engendered the current juicing fad, made more visible by the proliferation of shops and delivery services selling pricey cold-pressed juice. (By the same token, buying produce at retail for pressing juice at home is not inexpensive.)
SHOULD YOU SWITCH TO COLD-PRESSED JUICE?
If you’re a juice drinker, or are thinking about it, know that there is little scientific evidence to support the claim that cold-pressed juice contains more nutrients than pasteurized juices, or those you could hand-squeeze at home. However, when the juice is unfiltered and cloudy, it indicates a higher level of fiber.
What is known is that any juice begins to lose nutrients immediately after squeezing, and should consumed quickly if you want to capture every iota of nutrition. Those juices made commercially under high pressure processing (HPP) hold their nutrients longer. Hard-core juicers argue that cold-pressed is better than HPP. Here’s the argument.
PRESSING JUICE AT HOME
There are two main categories of home juicers:
Centrifugal juicers (top photo) have an upright design; the produce food is pushed into a rapidly spinning mesh chamber with sharp teeth on the bottom (like a blender). The teeth shred the produce into a pulp, and the centrifugal motion pulls the juice out of the pulp and through the mesh filter.
Masticating juicers (second photo) are horizontal in design and higher in price. Produce is pushed into the top of the tube, where it is crushed and squeezed. Because of the slower crushing and squeezing action, these juicers are better at processing leafy greens and wheatgrass, a limitation of centrifugal juicers. The process extracts more juice in general.
Commercially cold-pressed juice (HPP) uses a hydraulic press, crushing the produce under extremely high pressure with cold water to counter the heat generated by the process (heat destroys nutrients; the water does not mix with the juice). This gives the juice a refrigerated shelf life of 30 days or so, compared to only 2 to 4 days for those extracted without high pressure.
OUR AFFORDABLE SOLUTION
Before we had ever heard the term “cold-pressed juice,” we were hooked on a Red Jacket Orchards, a family juice brand produced in New York’s Finger Lakes region that’s delicious, nutritious, unfiltered and affordable.
They’ve been selling cold-pressed apple juices and blends for 50 years. We’re not a committed juicer; we just love the refreshing flavor as a glass of juice or a cocktail mixer.
We like every flavor, but are hooked on Joe’s Half & Half.
The company sells it online; use the store locator to find a retailer near you. Online, three 32-ounce bottles are $31, including shipping.
Top: The Kuvings NJ-9500U Centrifugal Juice Extractor, $149 on Amazon.com. Second: A masticating juicer from Omega, $299.99 at Amazon.com. Third: Cold-pressed juice at Trader Joe’s. Bottom: Red Jacket, a brand that’s been quietly selling cold-pressed juice for 50 years.