Juice it up! Juicing is a tasty way to get more nutrients, especially fruits and vegetables, into your body. Unfortunately, those nutrients can be quite costly when you realize how much produce is used for each glass.
Whether you are looking for a delicious juice cleanse, green juice for your detox, an easy snack on-the-go, or a full meal replacement, there are ways to save money, without sacrificing flavor.
Here is the scoop, with ideas for sticking to your budget while keepin’ it juicy in the kitchen. Read on ... and at the end you'll find a link to our freebie "3 Dozen Green Juice Recipes for Your Next Juice Cleanse or Detox".
1. CSAs and Farmer’s Markets
If you want to start juicing for your health, the first thing to consider is your budget. Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of fresh produce in order to juice on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to cut back on costs!
The first thing you should consider is where you actually buy your produce. Some of the most popular options when buying large amounts and saving money in the process is to go through local farmers, such as farmer’s markets, CSAs, and co-ops.
Here is some information about each of these options.
The first option, which is often more convenient, is to join a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs might work differently depending on where you live, but typically you get a box every week or month with your fresh produce. These are often from local farmers, offered at a substantial discount, and not produce you pick yourself.
Many CSAs have different types of boxes, for example small or large. You decide how often to get a new box and whether to go all fruit, all veggies, or a mixture of both.
Some of the CSAs will require you to pick it up at a local farm location, or have it dropped off at your door weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
Your next option for getting affordable produce from your local farmers is with a co-op. This is similar to a CSA, except instead of having a box delivered to you on a routine basis with produce you didn’t choose, you go to a location that is more similar to a small supermarket.
You will need to become part of the co-op, which usually requires signing up and paying a small fee to be a member. Then you go to the local co-op location where you pick up produce as needed, which is usually provided by local farmers or other members of the co-op.
This is often much cheaper than if you were to buy all your produce for juicing at local supermarkets or even health food stores.
You can also find a local farmer’s market, where you not only buy fresh produce, but often find herbs, spices, whole foods and snacks, flowers, and a lot of other fun goodies. The trick is to really pay attention to the prices of the produce, compared to what it might cost elsewhere.
There are many benefits to getting organic, local produce at farmer’s markets, but if sticking to a budget is your main goal, you may want to shop around for the best deals within your neighborhood.
2. Growing Your Own Produce
Growing your own produce can save you money on juicing. If you are already an ace gardener, great! If not, make it a longer-term goal. You will only get frustrated if you have to delay your new juicing plans until you pick up gardening skills and actually grow the produce. Once you get there, though, you will see how incredibly useful and fun it can be. Over time, you will find yourself wanting to juice daily or multiple times a day. If you are struggling with the cost of fresh produce, it is definitely something to look into.
Here are a few factors to consider with growing your own produce.
Caring for produce can be time and labor-intensive.
You need to grow produce suitable for the climate in which you live.
You might not have it year-round, depending on your climate.
You must have good soil.
Produce You Only Have to Grow Once
If you are looking to save money while juicing, simplify the growing process even more by looking at what you can grow more than once. With these vegetables and fruits, you can actually use part of the harvested vegetable to keep re-growing it, while others (like tomatoes) just keep growing.
Tomatoes keep growing on the vine until you remove it, where avocados can grow from the pit of a previous avocado. Carrots re-grow by using the carrot tops.
3. Organic Vs. Non-Organic
Let’s talk about the difference between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables.
Organic produce can be considerably higher in price, which is of course going to make a big dent in your budget. If you are just starting out, you can choose all non-organic produce if you prefer. However, there may come a certain point when you really want to switch to a more organic approach.
Keep in mind is that not all produce really needs to be organic, or grown with minimal pesticides and other chemicals. However, there are 12 common fruits and vegetables on a list called the dirty dozen, which typically use more chemicals than other types of produce.
If you are going to buy organic, start with just those on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) “dirty dozen” list, identified in their 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™.
The Dirty Dozen
Kale, collard and mustard greens
Bell and hot peppers
The Clean 15
If you are looking to save money, you may want to skip going organic when it comes to produce on the EWG’s Clean 15 list. There are even more varieties on this list!
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
The EWG notes that a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. They recommend buying organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.
Keep in mind that if you are purchasing your produce locally or at CSAs and farmer’s markets, most of it is going to be organic anyway. This is great news because then you don’t need to worry about these different lists, and struggling between choosing organic or non-organic. However, if you buy your produce from a regular grocery store.
Either way, be sure to rinse off the produce, particularly if your plans are to juice it with it the skin or outer covering!
4. Choose Your Produce Wisely
In this last section, we’ll cover what type of produce to choose for juicing, especially when you are first starting out. These tips not only help you simplify the juicing process, but also help you to curb costs so you aren’t using your entire food budget just on produce for your juice.
Go for High Water Content
The reason juicing can sometimes be expensive is that it uses a lot of produce in order to create enough juice to fill a glass. If you are juicing for multiple family members or more than once a day, the costs add up very quickly.
One of the best things you can do is focus more on the fruits and vegetables with a high water content. You will get more liquid, water, and juice from these fruits and vegetables, which allow them to go further, requiring less of the other ingredients you decide to add.
You probably already know some of the fruits and vegetables that have a high water content based on using them for your meals. Some of the more common ones include:
Here are some more:
Select Less Expensive Produce
After you have chosen the best places to get your fruits and vegetables (and don’t forget about herbs!) for juicing, focus on which specific produce is the best bargain to cut back on costs even more.
As the saying goes, select your produce based upon what is local an in season.
One of my favorite sites is the Seasonal Food Guide. They have a drop-down menu for you to search what’s in season, when and where – and they have a ton of recipes. The data comes from the Natural Resources Defense Council and state departments of agriculture and university extension programs across the US.
Sometimes you can’t find what you need in a CSA box or at a farmer’s market. Other times, you may want to visit your local grocery store. It helps to know what produce is going to cost a little less, and go a long way to creating delicious, healthy juices every day.
Some of the less expensive types of produce include your lemons, limes, celery, apples, and cucumbers. Other fruits that are often more affordable include watermelon, pears, papaya, nectarines, kiwi, honeydew, grapefruit, bananas, apricots, avocados (depending on where you live), and tangerines.
For more affordable vegetables, turn to carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, parsley, and some greens.
5. Start with Few-Ingredient Juicing Recipes
Finally, when you start juicing, don’t try to use 10 different types of fruits and vegetables in a single glass of juice. Your costs will be outrageous, and the recipes will most likely keep you from wanting to juice every day. It can be fun in the beginning, then you realize how much work is involved, and quit pretty fast.
To save more money and make juicing a simple, healthy activity to participate in daily, look for more simplified recipes. Try to stick to just a handful of produce with each juicing recipe, making sure to include those greens since they increase the health of your juice, and won’t cost much either.
Simple Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Less
Here are a few juicing recipes you can start out with, that use affordable produce and only minimal varieties.
Simple green juice – For a basic green juice, start with greens of your choice, like kale or spinach. Add in some pineapple (without the skin), a green apple, and ½ to a full cucumber. Simple and delicious!
Berry juice – If you prefer more of a fruity, berry flavor, you can do mostly berries, but should still add a vegetable with a neutral flavor, like celery. Add in however many berries you want for juicing, a couple apples, some celery, and a peeled lemon or orange.
Tropical green juice – To make it more tropical, just pick 2-3 tropical fruits and combine it with spinach and kale, or a mixture of both. Try some cantaloupe, papaya, and mango, adding in an apple for extra sweetness and to cover up the greens flavor.
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