I’m really excited because I have been invited by Williams-Sonoma to participate in their Juice Week! My mission was to share a recipe of a juice that “bites back” or contains a wild ingredient. What better ingredient to fulfill this mission than the enigmatic bitter melon?
I enlisted my Mom’s help with this since she juices regularly. Her recipes vary, but all of them have four basic ingredients: carrot, celery, cucumber and granny smith apple. She adds lemon and ginger for a nice punch. Ginger in itself is a wild ingredient that adds a spicy kick to any juice! All we did was add one bitter melon to the mix.
Basically Bitter Juice
Juice together the following ingredients:
1 bitter melon, de-seeded*
1 large cucumber
1 large carrot
1 Granny Smith apple
3 celery stalks
1/2 lemon with rind but remove the seeds
Ginger, to taste
*To remove the seeds from bitter melon, slice it in half, lengthwise, and then use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and membranes, leaving only the tough green skin.
Here is what the juice looks like! The hue actually fluctuates between green and orange, depending on how everything is settled and the lighting. As for how it tastes, the apple is enough to give this juice a sweetness and offset some of the bitterness, and the spiciness of the ginger can be felt in the throat.
Although this recipe includes bitter melon, the bitterness is not at all an overpowering flavor. Everything melds together nicely in this combination. The addition of a second bitter melon will definitely add that punch, but it’s still not super overpowering. I love this about bitter melon: it plays well with others. Even when cooked with other vegetables or meats, it doesn’t contaminate the dish with its flavor.
The great thing about juicing is that you can get any combination of ingredients and use how much or how little of each one that you like. There’s no science or precision when my mom juices. This might be scary to some, but if you’re making the effort to juice at home, then take the opportunity to test out ingredients and measurements to develop “your” juice.
Our juicer is the Breville Juice Fountain Plus. After tying out other juicers, including a Vitamix, we found this one to be our favorite everyday juicer. It hasn’t let us down and I recommend it for its quality and cost compared to other juicers. It’s all up to your personal preference – and Williams-Sonoma has a great selection to choose from.
If you’re ever curious about bitter melon, you should be able to find them at Asian grocery stores. In the Chicago area, I recommend Tai Nam on Broadway or any of the grocery stores on Devon Ave. They are of great quality in the summertime since they are in season!
What crazy ingredients do you add to your juice? Let us know in the comments! –Melissa