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Can you juice collard greens?

Collard greens are a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable that have been consumed for centuries in the southern United States. They are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide many health benefits. Juicing collard greens allows you to consume more of these healthful plants in one sitting while removing the insoluble fiber. But can you actually juice collard greens, and if so, is it a good idea? Here’s what you need to know.

The Benefits of Juicing Collard Greens

Juicing collard greens provides a quick and convenient way to take advantage of their many nutrients. Here are some of the top benefits of drinking collard green juice:

  • Increased vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake – Juicing collards allows you to consume greater quantities than you could if you were eating them raw or cooked. This means you get a more concentrated dose of nutrients like vitamins A, C and K, manganese, calcium, iron and more.
  • Aids digestion and detoxification – The liquid format of collard juices makes their nutrients highly bioavailable and easy to absorb. Their high fiber content also promotes digestion and detoxification when juicing.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Compounds like quercetin and anthocyanins give collard greens anti-inflammatory properties that remain present in the juice.
  • Supports heart health – The antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene in collard juices can reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
  • Boosts immunity – The high vitamin C content of collard greens makes their juice an excellent immunity booster.
  • Eye health – Lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants in collards promote eye health and reduce risk of degenerative eye diseases.

In general, juicing collard greens allows you to take advantage of their many nutrients without having to eat very large quantities of raw or cooked greens. The juice makes their nutrients and health benefits highly bioavailable and easy for your body to absorb.

Challenges of Juicing Collard Greens

While juicing collard greens offers some benefits, there are also some downsides and challenges to be aware of:

  • Nutrient loss – Juicing strips away the insoluble fiber content of collard greens. This fiber helps feed good gut bacteria and promote feelings of fullness. Valuable minerals can also be lost unless you consume the pulp as well.
  • High oxalate content – Collards contain oxalic acid, which can bind to calcium and cause kidney stones in sensitive individuals. Juicing boosts the oxalate concentration.
  • Bitter flavor – Collard greens have an inherently bitter taste that becomes very concentrated in juice form. This may be unpalatable for some people.
  • Short shelf life – Like most green juices, collard green juice has a very short shelf life. It will begin to degrade and lose nutrients within 12-24 hours.
  • Lower satiety – The liquid format provides less satiety than eating whole collard greens or dishes containing them.

While juicing collards can provide a big nutritional boost, the drawbacks show it may be better in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Choosing Collard Greens for Juicing

If you do want to juice collard greens, choosing high-quality fresh greens is an important first step:

  • Look for crisp, bright green leaves. Avoid any with signs of wilting, yellowing, or dark spots.
  • Smaller leaves tend to be more tender and mild. Larger leaves can be tougher and more bitter.
  • Organic collards have not been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
  • Locally grown collard greens are fresher since they don’t have to travel as far.
  • Store collard greens in the fridge in a plastic bag up to 5 days. Wash just before using.

You can use both the leaves and stems of fresh collard greens for juicing. The stems contain fiber and nutrients too.

Preparing Collard Greens for Juicing

Here are some tips for prepping collard greens to juice:

  • Rinse leaves and stems thoroughly under cool water.
  • Trim away any tough bottom stems or blemished spots.
  • Roll up leaves lengthwise and slice into 1-2 inch strips so they fit through your juicer feed tube.
  • Chop stems into smaller pieces to feed through the juicer.
  • Add collards to juicer alternately with harder produce like carrots or apples.

Adding some cucumber, lemon, ginger or apples can help balance the strong flavor of straight collard juice.

Best Juicers for Collard Greens

Masticating and triturating juicers typically work best for juicing leafy greens like collard greens:

Juicer Type Benefits Models
Masticating Juicer – Slow crushing preserves nutrients
– Higher juice yields from greens
– Juice lasts longer
Omega NC900HDC
SKG Slow Masticating Juicer
Mueller Austria Juicer
Triturating Juicer – Dual gears optimize green juicing
– Highest juice yields
– Minimal oxidation
Super Angel Juicers
Tribest Greenstar Elite GSE-5000
KC Kinetix Living Juicer

These juicers crush and press produce slowly to maximize the juice extracted, especially from leafy greens like collards. Look for a juicer with a large feed chute or hopper to minimize prep work.

Collard Green Juice Recipes

Here are a few tasty collard green juice recipes to try:

Basic Collard Greens Juice

  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 3 carrots, tops removed
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • Small knob of ginger

Process all ingredients through a masticating juicer. Stir or shake juice before drinking.

Apple Collard Cooler

  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1⁄2 lemon

Juice ingredients. Pour over ice and enjoy.

Green Lemonade

  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 2-inch knob ginger
  • Stevia or honey to taste (optional)

Run all ingredients through a juicer. Sweeten if desired. Serve chilled.

Storing Collard Green Juice

To retain the most nutrients from your collard juices, follow these storage tips:

  • Drink immediately after juicing for maximum freshness.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 24 hours.
  • Pour into ice cube trays and freeze for up to 6 months.
  • Place in a vacuum sealed mason jar and freeze for 3-4 months.
  • Always consume within recommended time for food safety.

Minimize exposure to heat, light, and air to prevent oxidation and nutrient breakdown.

Potential Side Effects of Collard Juice

Collard green juice is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation. But possible side effects can include:

  • Upset stomach – High oxalate levels may cause gas or diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
  • Kidney stones – The oxalates in collards can contribute to kidney stone formation in those prone to them.
  • Medication interactions – Collards contain vitamin K which can interact with blood thinners like warfarin.
  • Allergic reactions – Collards belong to the brassica family, so those with cruciferous vegetable allergies should use caution.

Introduce collard juice slowly and discontinue use if any intolerance reactions occur. Those on medications or with kidney issues should consult a doctor first.

The Bottom Line

Juicing collard greens allows you to take advantage of their abundant nutrients in concentrated, convenient form. However, some nutrient and fiber loss can occur. For best results, enjoy collard juices in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. Choose fresh, organic greens and a quality juicer. Drink juices soon after making and be cautious if you have kidney issues or take certain medications. When enjoyed responsibly, collard green juice can be a nutritious addition to your wellness routine.