1000 Juices by Deborah Gray: cookbook review
Perhaps you think that I couldn’t possibly need another cookbook (I know KP does). Want? Yes. Need? Perhaps. However, within my groaning shelves there is one topic uncovered and that’s juices and smoothies. I’ve browsed various volumes but never been motivated enough to take one home.
Most juicing books are slender volumes but 1000 juices, green drinks and smoothies, in hardback, is the size of a normal cookbook (from Jamie for instance) and that’s the clue to what it contains. If I ever meet author Deborah Gray (or perhaps her editor) the first thing I’ll do is invite her round and bribe her to sort out my filing (with an option on my wardrobe, cupboards and life). Each chapter is based on a master recipe with variations. It’s a simple way of working but means that there are indeed 1000 ideas for assorted drinks.
What’s in the book?
Before you dive into the profusion of juicing ideas, the useful chapter on equipment, fruit and ingredients is well worth a read. It describes major fruit, vegetables and other additions such as natural sweeteners, dairy substitutes and flavourings. It gives the best way to prepare the fruit or veg and extract the juice, the calories contained and how much juice to expect per fruit plus the health benefits. It’s packed full of information, for instance did you know that the levulose sugar in pears is better tolerated by diabetics than most fruit sugars? A single carrot contains sufficient beta-carotene to supply a day’s worth of Vitamin A, promoting good eyesight and skin (read on to see why this is important).
Recipes and chapters
The chapters give more evidence that this is worth its shelf space: Breakfast Blends, Cleansing Drinks, Restorative Drinks, Super Energy Boosters, Thirst Quenchers, Milkshakes and Frozen Drinks, Perfect for Parties and Mocktails. It’s not all about abstemious self-denial and some recipes include frozen yoghurt, ice cream, coffee, sparkling water and even soda (boo) plus, in the party section, alcohol, but the main thrust of the book is on healthy drinks. Many are just ideas for fruit combinations especially in the juicing section.
When preparing a smoothie, I usually just make it up as I go along using what I have on hand. The ideas in this book too me way outside my usual repertoire. I’d never thought of blitzing lemon and garlic into a shot, or adding nuts to bananas, or using stewed fruit from the freezer. And lentils in a smoothie or rosewater with lychees? So much inspiration.
Green juices are my challenge. They are often too foamy or too thickly, greenly, off putting to be palatable. I would never have thought of putting broccoli with pear to balance the earthiness, or using fennel as a base (how good does fennel and lime sound?). The big green chiller is described ‘this wonderful concoction is a farmers’ market stall in a glass and contains cucumber, celery, courgettes, kale, spinach, coriander, lime and ginger. My local farmers’ market starts for the season on 28th November and I’ll be bringing armfuls of ingredients back with a few to gulping down some in a glass.
I asked veggie teen what she thought about the book and she was very impressed. However, she said ‘Mum, you must have a job reading this, the type is SO small.” And indeed she is right. The ingredients list in the lead recipe is 8 point at the most (if not 7 or even teeny weeny 6) and I peer at it even when wearing my glasses. The cost of cramming all this information into one book.
Staying on my shelf?
Absolutely. Font size aside, this is beautifully produced with lovely images and absolutely packed full of ideas which are organised within an inch of their lives. This is probably the only juices, smoothies and drinks book you’ll ever need it is so extensive. This means more room for other cookbooks right?
The best tools for juicing and smoothie-ing?
Could you eat 4 apples in one go? I know I couldn’t, but drinking the juice of four is easy. This is good and bad. Eating whole fruit is healthier for you than juicing because you get the fibre. While sugar in fruits and vegetables is not a bad thing in normal quantities, it’s easy to ingest far greater quantities if juiced than in a smoothie or eaten raw. Juices and smoothies are a great way to make sure you get your five (or seven a day) but like all things, best in moderation.
Therefore I do not own a juicer. I’ve tested them and owned one for a while, but the washing up is just too arduous. You can juice effectively in a power blender (I have a Vitamix). Cut the fruit up into small pieces, add some water (water is good for you too) and blend until smooth. You can drink it as it is or strain through muslin or a fine mesh sieve. The washing up is done in a trice and you get more fibre. I’ve never tried this with wheatgrass!
For small quantities of citrus fruit you can’t beat an old-fashioned lemon squeezer. The lime squeezer is quick, easy and lovely to look at. I wouldn’t save it in a flood but like owning it (thank to Sarah). For larger quantities of citrus, this Cuisinart press is the best I’ve found. Many are absolutely huge (you need it on the counter) with lots of working parts, not this one. The lid, strainer and press part simply lift off and you can wash in the top section of the dishwasher. The spout can be lifted up and down to stop the juice flow and means you can juice directly into a jug or glass. By putting the lid on and pressing down you can extract more juice and pulp.
Thanks to the Quarto group who published this book and sent me a review copy. All views my own.
Would you find room on your shelf for a book about juices, smoothies and drinks? What do you use for juicing (ingredients or equipment)?