Pulp Fiction: Reverse Juicing 101

If you are forward-thinking in the kitchen, it’s time to try “REVERSE JUICING.”  It’s the smarter (and healthier) approach to the traditional machine juicing method that saves the juice — but discards the nutrient-rich fiber.

Traditional juicing delivers large amounts of fruit sugar that’s absorbed into the bloodstream. That fructose messes with blood sugar, insulin levels, and the stability of the all-important gut microbiome. Enter “reverse juicing” which minimizes the juice and makes the most of the polyphenol-rich produce. Reverse juicing is also in line with the waste-not sustainability principles we stand by these days.

Surprisingly, there are countless uses for that fiber-rich pulp you may have been composting or simply tossing away.

Juicing is an excellent way to bring more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet. It’s especially useful when dealing with produce such as celery root, pineapple, and winter squash that may be challenging to eat otherwise. In juiced form, these fruits and vegetables go down easy, especially for folks with digestive issues.

But that’s where the pluses end. When that pulp goes into the compost heap it takes with it essential fat-soluble compounds that are found only in the pit, peel, and skin. For example, most of the phytonutrients in grapes are found in the skin (and seeds). Similarly, most of the beneficial flavonoid compounds found in oranges are located in the peel, which is lost with traditional juicing.

The rapid intake of sugar sans fiber can spike insulin levels and lead to erratic blood sugar.  In 2013, researchers analyzed the health data of 100,000 people collected between 1986 and 2009 and found that fruit juice consumption was linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.  By contrast, diets high in fiber have been linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes,

Another minus:  juice is a concentrated source of sugary calories that lead to weight gain, and puts the drinker at risk for cancer and other chronic diseases, according to the World Health Organization. This is especially true with fruits like grapes, pineapple, and cherries.

By contrast, the pulp from juicing (when it goes into your body rather than into the trash) can help stabilize cholesterol, aid normal digestion, and maintain healthy blood sugar. Those amazing polyphenols (antioxidants that protect cells and protect against diseases and the effects of aging) are concentrated in the leaves, fruits, and seeds of fruits and vegetables, not the juice. So, here’s how to get more for your money and more for your health.


1) Instead of chucking the separated pulp into the compost, you can take the pulp, and stir it into dairy or non-dairy yogurt, kefir, or sour cream and spoon over chopped fruit for a double-fruity treat.

2) Soup Cubes: Freeze vegetable pulp in an ice tray. Defrost to add rich flavor and antioxidant power to a soup, sauce or dip.

3) High Fiber Crackers: Preheat oven to 350. Use the pulp from juicing vegetables like carrots celery and beets. Use paper towels to press out excess moisture, then place in a bowl, adding flaxseed, hemp or chia seed and/or crushed nuts and flour of your choice plus salt, pepper or any all-purpose herbal seasoning. Blend until the mixture holds its shape without being too dry or too wet. Shape into a ball and place between parchment paper or foil and roll out into a square. Score into squares and transfer to greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with paprika or more seeds.  Bake for 15 minutes. Turn over with a spatula, bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack or plate.

4) Better Baked Goods: Making cupcakes, cake, cookies? Add more nutritional punch by stirring 1 cup of sweet fruit pulp into the dough and reducing the butter or oil a bit.

5) Juicy Fruit Whip: Combine ½ pureed avocado and ½ cup yogurt with 1 cup of sweet (fruit or vegetable) pulp. Whip and chill.  Healthier than ice cream or most frozen yogurts.

6) Super Smoothie: Add ½ to 1 cup of leftover fruit or vegetable pulp to your smoothie before blending for added nutrition and fiber.

7) Fruit Pulp Leather: Spread a thin layer of leftover pulp on parchment or waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Optional: Sprinkle with a little powdered ginger or pumpkin pie spice. Place in a preheated low oven (150-120 degrees) and let it dehydrate for 12 hours. If you have a dehydrator, follow directions.  Remove and cut into chewy strips.

8) Pulpsicles: Spoon fruit or sweet vegetable pulp into popsicle molds, add a little fruit juice, lemonade, or non-dairy milk, and freeze.

9) Pesto Plus Pulp: Blend ¼ cup vegetable pulp into 1 cup of your homemade or store-bought pesto.

10) Bread Spread: Forget store-bought sandwich spreads. Blend nutritious delicious finely chopped vegetable pulp with some softened dairy or non-dairy cream cheese. Chill and spread on crackers, bagels, sliced bread, or toast.

And when you do drink the juice, you can lower the sugar intake by…

  • Juicing any fruit with a bit of cucumber or zucchini
  • Adding mild and sweet-tasting spinach leaves along with the fruit
  • Using low-sugar fruit like Granny Smith apples, cranberries, or grapefruit
  • Diluting your fresh juice with spring water, or mixing it half and half with sparkling water
  • Or freezing some of it as a tasty favor spike for ice tea and lemonade

-Frances Goulart


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