* Prices may differ from that shown
When I first started juicing, it was at a time when there weren't that many actual juicers on the market. Most UK buyers back in 2004 assumed a juicer was a dome shaped object that could produce orange or citrus fruit based juice simply by holding the fruit under a reamer and pushing down hard to release the juice. However, the machine that was left to me from a student flat share could in theory do other fruits, although most of the time it was trial and error since the old Kenwood couldn't keep up and constantly cut out due to the lack of power in the motor and so many bits that had to be taken apart to clean it, eventually rendered the machine to the back of the cupboard and forgotten about. Still, I liked the idea of a juicer and used to use the Kenwood, but in tiny quantities to avoid overheating the motor. Latterly, I am not someone that spends a lot of time buying recipe books; I have all the books I need that my parents bought from the 1960's and onwards. I find that in general books about food should just state what they are for and just get on with it, which is probably one reason alone to why I became more of a smoothie or blending liquid fan over the years, from milk shakes to healthier yogurt based drinks, as well as juices I could make myself. Thus, as I read the inlay cover of this book and flicked through a few pages, I thought that this book was a good one to buy. It doesn't confuse me like other text publications have managed to do in the past because it has been written with a view of educating people about the positive aspects of juicing and making smoothies in the most basic way possible.
Originally "The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies," by Natalie Savona cost £12-99 in 2004. Nowadays the book is still on sale, albeit slightly updated and holds an average pricing of £5 to £9; Amazon.co.uk are currently listing this book (2012) for £9-44. The author, Natalie Savona trained as a nutritionalist at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London after graduating from Cambridge University. Her publications include "The Kitchen Shrink," and she has been a regular columnist for the fashion "Cosmopolitan" magazine as well as national newspapers.
The Difference Between Smoothies and Juicing
Blending fruit, better known as Smoothies, allow you to consume everything including the fibrous material of fruits and vegetables in a pulp like substance, therefore utilising every part of the fruit. To begin with, Savona points out that juice has a faster way of entering the human body than any other way of delivering high nutritional content. Infact juice affects the body in minutes rather than hours if fruit and vegetables are consumed whole and Juice therefore is pure juice without the added roughage of fibre as Juicing machines get rid of the fibre and allow the owner to consume pure juice. Creamy and normal consistencies in the recipes for Smoothies for example use Yogurt or milk, but usually yogurt is added to ensure a healthier drink. There are however other drinks that can be prepared in this book. Quenchers have also been added. This is simply an extension of the basic smoothie, using frozen fruit, ice or sparkling water to add to the overall taste. This is where, when preferred it is best to have a blender that can crush ice.
General Layout & Design
Where general layout and design of the book is concerned, this "bible" is really well designed. The book is tall and narrow which serves it purpose well if you have small workspace and rather than glance at the recipe you intend to use, I find it useful that the book isn't like a normal standard recipe book, which brand new means that inevitably every page doesn't stay put. Because of the binder style, each page stays open which is handy if you want to try a quick smoothie or juice. It's just a shame that the pages aren't wipe free as already I've managed to get some stains from recipes I have tried in my blender!
As a gift the book is ideal for anyone who is experimenting with preparing their own juices, smoothies to the more experienced liquid drink fan. The book is brightly coloured, showing a glass of orange type juice on the front cover whilst the colours are in a cheery vibrant but positive lime green and white lettering. At the rear of the book, there are many bullet points such as "A Juice For Every Day Of The Year," and promises to boost your immunity as well as revitalise energy levels. All in all, it looks like a good promise! The book's main title is actually "The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies - 365 Natural Blends for Health and Vitality Every Day."
There are 192 pages total in this book and 365 (as the title of the book suggests) blends of juices and smoothies to try out. Each recipe makes two portions unless stated. One of the better, more basic aspects that I have come to appreciate over the years is that each recipe does away with metric requirements such as fluid ounces or pounds and weight in general. Instead you'll find measurements being quite varied and relaxed such as "1 long cucumber," or "a handful of grapes," or "2 thick slices of melon."
The book does point out that you don't have to go out of your way to find the most expensive juicer although if you end up juicing every day you may have to find something which can cope with daily juicing. As with manuals that are supplied with juicers and blenders, Natalie Savona also suggests that you wash your juicer and blender immediately after use to ensure that all the juice is gone.
Versatility of Recipes & Downsides
So you have your Juicer and your blender but what else does this book suggest? Well, there are optional things that you would probably have in your home without needlessly spending over the top just to use this book. Namely you will need a citrus press for lemons - more about this fruit later, and air tight containers to keep the finished products in if you are going to chill them. The great nature of the layout of this book means that you don't necessarily have to read the sections containing the goodness of fruit. The index section is simply vast and it allows you to choose the basics, even if say you wanted something with carrots in it. Savona gives brief but worthy descriptions of fruit and vegetables and their health uses well before the actual recipes begin. Savona doesn't leave other additives out either as adding herbs and grains to smoothies for example help to bulk out the drinks as well as adding an extra helping of vitamins and minerals to the drinks.
When it comes to choosing fruit or vegetables there is endless choice in this book. The only thing that is lacking is your imagination and the book soon becomes a bit of a bind if you don't want to create something yourself and only, stick rigidly to the recipes on the page. Savona invites you to make up your own juices and smoothies if the recipes become too well used and relied upon. The great nature of the layout of this book means that you don't necessarily have to read the sections containing the goodness of fruit. The index section is simply vast and it allows you to choose the basics, even if say you wanted something with carrots in it. Savona gives brief but worthy descriptions of fruit and vegetables and their health uses well before the actual recipes begin.
There is however a lot more to this book than meets the eye! Each recipe for example has a nutrient chart to let you know what the fruits and vegetables will do once each drink has been prepared. It also gives the reader all the benefits and nutrient levels of Vitamins and Minerals. Folic acid is also mentioned as well as essential fatty acids and protein. Five sections exist such as Energy, Detox, Immunity, Digestion and Skin. A marking of total 5 starts for example indicate which drink has the highest and lowest of nutrient values. Handy to know!! One of my favourite drinks is the Hangover Cure. I found it totally by accident at the rear of the book in a section called "Juices For Ailments." Thankfully there are no raw eggs in any of the recipes which immediately banish traditional less favoured ways! There is even a drink available for Motion Sickness and for first time amateurs, you can begin using "The Basic Intro Week." This is a section to inspire the user to get used to the idea of blending and juicing. It lists 7 days of the week and per day, a recipe to try and master. Each recipe mentioned has the page number listed so there's no need to go looking up the endless small print in the index section and there are other specialist drinks like: "The Detox Week," "The Immune Power Week," and lastly "The Juice High Weekend," drinks. All of them have been already tested by me and I have to say the "Immune," one was quite bizarre but also pretty tasty. The more you become involved with this book, the better it gets, even if some ingredients are unusual, the end result is a tasty treat, if not offering and discovering unusual tastes on the tongue!
Apart from the recipes which for the majority of the book is 3 recipes per page on average (there are a few recipes for example towards the rear of the book that only have 2 recipes per page) I was more interested in the properties of fruit and vegetables. Pages are also, helpfully colour coded with a central thumb nail picture with fruits that the recipes are based on, or use the majority of. I find this aspect of the book's layout the more useful rather than continually flicking to the front of the book for specific chapters or going through the index.
Savona writes very clearly on everything that she has included in this book, clearly defining the differences in fruit, vegetables and optional additives. Lemon juice or a teaspoon of Vitamin C powder for example ensures that any fresh juice or smoothie made will not turn brown, (it is an antioxidant) particularly if you want to store any surplus produce after you have made it, in the fridge. The author also gives tips on how to juice certain fruits, such as coring apples and peeling. Sounds obvious at the time, but when you're as excited as me to make up a fresh juice or smoothie for example, you can feel that you can lose yourself at any time as well as get the amount of ingredients wrong, unless you stick to the instructions that Savona suggests.
All in all I think is a bargain bumper book for anyone who has a juicer AND blender. I would say that it's not essentially a book you need if you don't have a juicer because by and large you can't always use a blender to prepare the juice recipes in the book. If like me, you have two of the gadgets in your kitchen, get this book because by and large it will open up a new world of preparing drinks for everyone and there are even some cocktails for the adults that you can try making up too. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2012.
If you've read my recent review on 'Nutrition for Life' you'll know that I have a keen interest in nutrition and how the food you eat can help you stay healthy. As a family we've always kept a close eye on what we eat as there is a history of heart disease, cancer and diabetes on both sides of the family. When my Dad had his second triple heart bypass a few years back we bought him a juicer for when he came home to recover. The idea was that the fresh juice from fruits and vegetables would give him strength and nutrients he needed to help him recover quickly.
At first we stuck to simple juices, such as apple or carrot, but then tried to be a bit more adventurous. It really was a case of trial and error and some of the concoctions we came up with were really quite nice but others just did not work! I therefore decided to invest in a book on juice recipes and came across 'The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies' which I bought from WHSmith. This retails at £12.99 but I picked this up in the sale for around £5. The book is written by nutritionist Natalie Savona and contains 365 different recipes - one for each day of the year. No chance of getting bored then!
The book really is quite big - it is A4 in size and contains spiral bound pages. The first section gives the basics of juicing. It talks through the health benefits of juicing and the difference between a juice and a smoothie. This is followed by a section which goes through various fruits and vegetables, describing their flavours, their health benefits and how to prepare them for making either a juice or a smoothie. This section really is quite interesting and is something that I find myself coming back to read again and again. I find it quite motivating to read about the health benefits of the ingredients and it encourages me to use these to make my own juices.
The next couple of sections contains the recipes for various juices and smoothies. These start off quite simple using just one ingredient but then gain in complexity by mixing various fruits and vegetables. As you can imagine, the recipes are quite short and each page lists about 3 recipes. Each recipe also contains a list of key nutrients that that particular juice provides and also what it is good for (e.g. provides energy, good for detoxing, immunity, digestion or skin).
The recipes are grouped by the main fruits or vegetables in them, so for example all the recipes containing apples as their main ingredient are listed under the apple section. I find that this makes it easier to select recipes based on what I have left in my fridge! That's not to say that the recipes in the other sections do not have apples as an ingredient, just that it's not the main component. Some of the recipes have pictures showing the end result and I have to say that they all look mouthwatering and very healthy! I have tried various recipes from the book and they have all come out a treat. One of my favourites is carrot, apple, orange and beetroot juice. I also like the recipe called 'purple 'nana' which is a smoothie containing various berries banana and yoghurt.
There is also a section that contains a group of recipes called 'quenchers' which are drinks made of mainly frozen fruit and ice or sparkling mineral water with various fruits. I find that these are great in the summer as they are really quite refreshing and very healthy too.
The final section is called the 'juicing reference' and contains four juicing health programs for you to follow. These include the 'detox week', the 'immune power week' and the 'juice high weekend'. This is then followed by a nutrient chart which lists each vitamin and mineral, their benefits in the body and food sources where they can be found.
Overall I am really glad I bought this juicing book. Using it, I have created many delicious and healthy concoctions. I still have many more to try though and look forward to doing so in the future. My only gripe with this book is that it is a paperback and as it is used quite often it has started to look a bit tatty - a hard-backed book in my opinion would have been better. However I think this book is one for everyone who is interested in diet and nutrition and comes with a high recommendation from me.