I had a jolting realization the other day: Labor Day is just one week and some change away. Yipers! What.happened.to.summer? I had to run out to my vegetable garden and stand among the fragrant branches of my tomato plants to calm the panic.
It also doesn’t help that a certain coffee joint is releasing their Pumpkin Spice Lattes this coming Monday. Last year, I was ready for the pumpkin onslaught by the time September rolled around. This year, with our gorgeous, mild weather, I’m holding onto summer with everything I’ve got.
Mostly because summer vegetables just keep rolling in, and they’re bright and beautiful with deep savory flavors. And when I can’t keep up with their quantity through normal cooking and preserving, I find other ways to enjoy them. Like with super fresh vegetable juice.
Are you guys fans of commercial tomato juice? I used to be, as a kid. But once I reached adulthood and discovered the amazing yumminess of fresh vegetables, I completely lost my taste for super salty, processed vegetable products.
And then I bought a juicer. Last summer, with a counter full of newly picked vegetables, I whipped up batch after batch of fresh vegetable juice, and fell in love with tomato juice all over again. My very favorite mix is actually a V10 juice — ten amazing summer vegetables, plus herbs and lemon juice and ginger and turmeric.
But for a convenient daily dose of goodness, I turn to my V6 vegetable juice with veggies I can pluck from my own garden, plus my juicing must-haves, lemons and ginger (I’ve never grown lemons in my yard, but I have grown ginger!)
And you know what: freshly pressed juice made with homegrown veggies is so good, it doesn’t need salt. Not one speck. Summer vegetable juice is super healthy — tomatoes (lycopene!) kale (vitamins A, C, and K!) celery (vitamin K and antioxidants!) carrots (vitamin A!) cucumbers (phytonutrients!) ginger (too-many-good-things-to-count!) lemon juice (ditto!) — and delicious and needs no nuthin’ to make it fabulous.
And how ’bout that color! Gorgeous deep red, thanks to the tomatoes, super cute red ruffled pimento peppers (bell peppers work, too), and kale. Such a great energy boost in those drowsy post-lunch hours of the afternoon!
- 4 to 6 large kale leaves (or sub a handful/heaping handful of spinach or romaine leaves)
- 2 medium tomatoes or 36 cherry tomatoes
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 stalk celery
- 1/2 large lemon
- 1" knob of ginger (optional, but delicious)
- Thoroughly clean and prepare all of the ingredients according to the instructions of your juicer (you might, for example, have to chop the veggies into smaller pieces, or remove the lemon peel). Process all ingredients through the juicer. Skim off any foam that might collect on top and give a good stir. If you're a fan of cold juice, as I am, refrigerate for an hour before consuming, or serve over ice.