There's more to juicing than juice
Seven years ago, my mother-in-law gifted us with a juicer. It sat on the pantry floor for several years. At first, mixing cucumbers with beets or carrots and apples seemed like a lot of work and a little yucky, so I didn't bother.
But not too long ago I resolved to eat more green, leafy vegetables. At the same time, I wanted to see what the fruit-and-vegetable-liquefying fuss was all about.
So I swore off Cheetos for breakfast and dusted off our Acme Supreme JUICEerator, which is supposed to be the Cadillac of juice-makers. It's a workhorse of a machine, solidly built and weighing in at almost 15 pounds.
Since then I've juiced everything that grows.
At times, the inside of my fridge looks like a root cellar, overflowing with huge bunches of kale, spinach and 25-pound bags of juicing carrots.
Of course, many of the best-tasting juices are all fruit, but those are also all highly caloric and packed with natural sugars. And some of the more low-calorie, nutrient-rich juices taste as bad as they look, so you have to find a happy medium between the two. I throw some ginger or maybe an apple in with the kale, and my drinks come out green, but taste really good.
I've developed a love-hate relationship with the beastly machine. I love the delicious, nutritious drinks I concoct, but clean-up duty is a pain.
Then there's this thing that has had me perplexed from day one: juicer pulp.
A juicer separates, so all you get is pure juice. This means contending with the wanton disposal of the fruit and vegetable pulp, which contain lots of fiber. Since I'm a confirmed recycler, I find it too good to throw away.
My first thought was to compost it or feed it to the chickens. But since we have neither, I consulted the Internet.
I discovered that leftovers can be used in many ways, and portions can be frozen until you're ready to use them.
Afterlife options include adding the pulp to other recipes, like muffins, breads, burgers, marinara sauce or gazpacho.
You can mix it into your kids' macaroni and cheese, a block of cream cheese for a delicious cracker or sandwich spread or use it to thicken and enrich soups.
And then of course there's the more popular "chuck it" option. But before you do that, first try this tasty cracker recipe. You may never throw away pulp again.
Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist and blogger. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel or look for her blog at www.lynnkessel.blogspot.com.