Move over mango, there’s a new, brightly colored piece of produce in town. That sneaky root vegetable, the beet, has crept onto menus around the country and it’s now found its way into the smoothie and juice world too.
Its deep magenta color and unique taste has made it a popular choice among chefs, and because its power-packed with nutrient compounds, the veggie is a winner in health-conscious circles too.
Just ask Kate Linehan, owner of the Honeybee Juice Farmacy. She presses beets with ginger, cayenne, carrot, orange and lemon in her “Immunity” cocktail for a smooth and pleasantly refreshing drink.
“And, I hear it’s great for recovery among athletes,” she says, in between chopping beets to prep for the day’s juice production.
It’s 7 a.m., and she and three co-workers are busy double-pressing hundreds of pounds of vegetables to make more than 100 bottles of fresh juice. Because it’s unpasteurized, the juices have a shelf life of two days. So it’s a routine they do every day.
The beet has several friends which are all working their way into veggie drinks, signifying a growing trend in the herbivorous world: juicing.
Gone are the days when smoothies were limited to sugar and crushed ice disguised as fruit concoctions that were supposed to be beneficial to your health. They’re packed with calories and offer little in the way of vitamins and nutrients.
But, V8 was onto something more than 75 years ago when they put two servings of the suggested daily intake for vegetables into every 8-ounce can.
Only now, the options are a bit sexier and more diverse. Who doesn’t get excited about kale?
Linehan mixes the leafy green with celery, cucumber, collards, lemon and apple to make “Green Juice.”
“It’s definitely the most popular,” she says. “When people aren’t used to drinking juice, or are against it, we suggest they try a Green Juice to begin with.”
By using “superfoods,” these extra-good-for-you vegetables make it into your diet in an drinkable way. Proponents will also argue that the liquid form is also easier and quicker to absorb.
If anything, it’s just another fun way for plant-lovers to indulge.
Linehan uses a two-step cold blending process to juice. It involves prepping the produce, and putting it into a slow-turning blender. (Normally, centrifugal blenders operate at high speeds which can create heat and oxidation). Afterward, the shredded veggies are put into a mesh hydraulic press and squashed so that the good stuff comes out.
“We spend a lot of time educating people on the difference between smoothies and juice, because it’s confusing,” she says. Juice is the liquid that’s pressed from vegetables so you don’t get the pulp, and smoothies are the blended version—so they maintain some of the fiber, something that’s still essential in terms of digestion.
While no one should replace their vegetable intake with juice alone, it can be a good substitute. If it’s something you try at home, use the leftover pulp to make muffins and breads.
Drinking your veggies doesn’t have to be a painful experience anymore, equated with stringy, bland purees. Now you can fill that bottom layer of the food pyramid and like it too.
Honeybee Juice Farmacy is located in the Ute City Bank Building, 501 E. Hyman Ave. The juices are also available at Big Wrap and Saturdays at the Aspen Farmers’ Market.