Sunday, May 5, 2013

What About the Pulp? With Mrs. Juice Avenger


What about the pulp?  Isn’t that wasteful?  These are the most common questions I get asked when someone engages me in a discussion on juicing.  Most are mystified as to why it can be helpful NOT to have all of that fiber material in the juice.  Once that question is settled, the matter turns to what to do with the pulp. 

Firstly, for those of you concerned that you aren’t getting any fiber in your juice let me assuage your fears.  The soluble fiber is extracted into the juice.  If you are still eating and juicing you obviously get additional fiber from the foods you are consuming.  This point seems to be especially troubling to those preparing to embark on a juice only fast.  While the lack of insoluble fiber in our diet on a long-term basis would be detrimental to our health, on a short term basis during a juice fast, it assists our body to easily absorb all of those wonderful micro nutrients without the digestive system having to work so hard to get them.  So basically, getting the insoluble fiber out of the way gives the nutrients an express train to your cells where they can do their work to repair the cells and get you looking and feeling great!  One of the first benefits you may notice when you juice is clearer skin!  What great external proof that the extra plant nutrition is doing its job!

Okay, hopefully I have convinced you that you can live without some of that fiber.  We now turn to what to do with what is left.  When the Juice Avenger and I began our 10 day reboot (see Reboot with Joe for some excellent plans) I took Joe Cross’ suggestion and put a bag in the pulp container on the juicer and froze the leftover in freezer bags vowing that I would add it to a spaghetti sauce or bake it into bread.  The reality for me was that I quickly realized I would never get around to using any of those bags in the freezer.  Partly because I found pulp recipes labor intensive, also because I wasn’t brave enough to just throw it in a sauce, and partly because most of the recipes I found called for a specific type of pulp or all veggie and mine was very mixed.  So, I quit saving it, and began to throw it away.  I had much guilt for doing this.  One morning, I remembered our compost bucket we had as a kid and wondered why I had completely forgotten about composting when deciding the fate of the pulp.  My neighbor has a fancy compost bin on a frame that you can turn to aid in aerating the compost and assisting it in breaking down more quickly, so I initially began saving the days plant waste from juicing and whatever else we ate and collecting it in a bucket for Dave.  Then I decided that there was no reason he should get all that wonderful waste (sorry Dave) and began to look at how I could compost it myself.

As a kid, I grew up in the middle of nowhere on several acres in Western, NY.  Composting required no fancy equipment (if it was even available, we sure wouldn’t have known it) so we used an old bowl to collect during the day and dumped it in a remote corner of the yard.  Nature takes its course from there and my parents had their very own supply of free nutrient rich soil.  (Even if you don’t garden (as we didn’t and don’t) you are still enriching the earth for whatever grows there naturally which will then feed wildlife, etc. etc.)   If you have the space in your yard this is still the easiest way to compost and it is free!  If you have space constraints or an HOA that would frown on your rotting pile of veg, you may still be able to get away with an open pile of compost.  The smell can be thwarted with some fresh grass clippings piled on top of the compost.  A two inch layer of compost clippings will also help to discourage fruit flies, disguise the pile, and activate the decomposition process.  You can also place your pile somewhere that you plan to plant so that you don’t even have to do the work of moving the sol. It is important to remember that compost soil should be added to and not be the sole component of your planting soil. 

If you prefer to have a compost bin for any reason there are a multitude of options.  The most economical is to build a bin yourself.   We are handicraft challenged so I will simply point you here for a great step by step guide.  The people at Earth Easy also have some additional helpful composting tips.  If you too are handicraft challenged there are dozens of prefab bins beginning with the most economical pre-made version of a wooden bin you would construct yourself to fancy plastic bins from the simple to the rotating.  I will not bore you with all of those options here.  A quick Google search for compost bin will bring them up for you.

So, you are ready to compost and have figured out what to do with it, but are wondering where to hold it in the house until you bring it outside.  I continue to hold my compost as we did as kids in a large plastic bowl, sometimes a gallon pitcher.  I like free!  There are almost as many options for inside compost containers as there are the actual composting bins. I have seen larger plastic pails that can be useful as they are like diaper pails for compost.  Odor free, and do not need to be emptied daily.   If you would like something attractive and covered or want to choose something larger, again a quick Google search for compost pail and/or compost crock will give you a myriad of options one of which I will likely eventually invest in myself.  In the meantime, the open container of yuck goes under the kitchen sink!   

If you are unsure as to what exactly you can and can’t compost, read on!   Obviously any fruit and vegetable peelings, pulp, cut ends; spoiled produce, etc. can be composted.  I recently had some whole potatoes go bad and wondered what to do about those.  They can go in as well, though it is better to cut them up to reduce odor and speed up decomposition.  You can also compost coffee grounds and egg shells.  I also once threw in leftover spaghetti (no meat) and other cooked vegetable leftovers.  I later questioned the wisdom of that and found that the answer for your backyard compost pile is no.  That day’s bucket of compost had to go in the trash.  If veggies were steamed with no oil, butter or salt added they are fine to add to compost, but meat, salt, oils and butters will all interfere negatively with the composting process and/or add harmful bacteria.  You should also know that your compost pile may steam.  That is fantastic!  It means you have lots of decomposers doing their job and your pile is decomposing effectively!

Now, if you are still wondering why in the world I wouldn’t have used that pulp in the freezer and are dreaming up great things you can do with it, you rock!  Stretching that food further is awesome and you clearly have motivation I do not currently possess!  Here are a few links to other blogs where they give some great uses and recipes for the pulp:

If you do reuse the pulp, please share your successful reuses.   I would like to give it a try at some point. 

I hope I have given you a one stop shop for your questions about all that pulp!  Bottom Line:  Don’t throw that pulp in the landfill.  There are so many better options!  Happy juicing, pulp re purposing and composting!  As always, we here at Juice Avenger love to hear our reader’s comments, tips and successful juicing (and pulp using) adventures!

1 Day and a Lifetime to go!!!!