how to make a “mean green juice” without a juicer

So, there’s this new juice bar that just opened in Corte Madera for all you locals called, Juice Alley.  It’s an amazing little juice bar that has tons of different organic juice concoctions, vegan snacks and bars. I’m so excited as I love green juices and I also love that it’s right next to my gym.  What a great and healthy treat to pick up after a hard workout, right?  So, I tried their kale and ginger juice.  Let me just tell you that it was amazing and the ginger just popped in my mouth. I knew I was going to have to figure out how to replicate it at home, as this daily juice thing was going to turn into a pricy habit.  I googled the ingredients, and of course, there were 100 different recipes.

So here I was looking to juice, but I didn’t own a juicer.  I didn’t let that stop me though, so again, I went on the Internet and googled, “how to juice without a juicer,” and I found exactly what I was looking for. OK, honestly, what did we do before the Internet?  I really can’t seem to recall how I found information.  Did I actually go to the library and look through encyclopedias for questions such as this?  I really don’t remember, and I feel like we were in the dark on a lot of things. I can only imagine what science is going to create next that will make the Internet seem obsolete like encyclopedias.

Getting back on topic here, basically if you have a blender, you can juice. Yes, you can, trust me. You don’t have to just drink smoothies or pulpy concoctions. You can drink a smooth and refreshing juice.  All you need is a blender and this handy little bag, called a jelly strainer bag.  You can find these at most kitchen or hardware stores that sell kitchen appliances.  I picked mine up at the local Ace Hardware in Larkspur, for those of you that are local.  They cost $ 4.99 for 2 bags.  BTW, don’t get the metal contraption that is sold with some of the bags, just buy the bags.

To clean the bags, just use some dish soap and rub the bag together till it’s clean and all the soap is off the bag. Then place the bag on top of a glass or something similar to air dry.  These bags should last quite a while.  I have used my 10x already and it still looks new.  
mean green juice without a juicer

how to make a “mean green juice” without a juicer:

recipe adapted from reboot your life
makes 22 ounces
printer friendly recipe

  • 6 to 8 kale leaves, washed and de-stemmed – I used 8 leaves and used lacinato/dinasour kale because it’s not as bitter tasting as curly kale, but you can use any kind of kale.
  • 2 green apples – cored and cut into chunks – There were not any organic granny smith apples, so I picked up some Mutsu apples, and they were perfect.
  • 3 – 4 stalks celery, cut into chunks – I used 3 stalks
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled –  I love ginger and think it adds a pop of flavor to the juice, so I put in quite a bit.  If you’re not a big fan of ginger, than start out with a smaller piece, say 1/2-inch to 1-inch piece.
  • 1/2 lemon – peeled, but you can leave on the white pith
  • 1 cucumber peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup filtered water

Below are the ingredients before they’re prepped.Here’s how the ingredients will look after they’re prepped.To peel ginger, just take a spoon and gently scrape off the skin from top to bottom.  The skin is thin, so minimal effort is required.Pour 1 cup of water into your blender.  Add in the chopped apple, chopped celery, chopped cucumber and peeled lemon, and blend away till liquified.  Add in the ginger and the de-stemmed kale leaves and puree till smooth.
Take your jelly bag and wrap it over a large measuring cup or bowl.

Pour your juice into the jelly bag.

Don’t worry if your bag slides off the bowl, you just want to make sure that your juice goes in the bag. You can aways hold it open with one hand while pouring with your other hand.Once all the juice is poured into the bag, remove the bag from the measuring cup or bowl and gently twist the top of the bag closed.  Slowly twist the bag so the juice escapes.  Keep twisting and squeezing the bag until all of the juice is released.

WARNING:  Ugly hand pictures below!Look at all that pulp that was left in the bag.  It’s a beautiful color, but not something I want to be drinking.  It actually looks like moss, doesn’t it.

My compost was very happy to receive all that pulp.
Pour the juice into a large glass, canning jar or Lifefactory bottle, and refrigerate it, as it will be a bit warm.  I was anxious to drink my juice, so I threw it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool.
Make sure you shake it (if you have a glass with a lid) or stir it before you drink it, as some of the juice will settle.
It helps to have a glass or bottle with a lid so you can shake your juice when it settles.
It’s recommended that you drink the juice the day you make it.  It really goes down easy and tastes great. It actually tastes sort of sweet and citrusy, at least to me.  What’s great about juicing is that you’re in control of the ingredients. You can add to or delete any of the ingredients you wish.  My friend Yvonne loves the taste of celery in her juice, so she adds more celery and less ginger, as she’s not a fan of ginger.
I do recommend you try it with the 2-inch piece of ginger sometime.  I’m not a huge fan of ginger, as it reminds me of my early pregnancy days, but that first juice from Juice Alley was packed with ginger and that flavor stuck with me.  The original “mean green juice” recipe called for a teaspoon of ginger, but when I tried the juice, it just didn’t have that “wow” factor I was looking for, so I added more ginger and I got the “wow” factor.
mean green juice without a juicer
Ok, I really want to know how many of you are actually going to buy the bags and make the juice?  I had lunch with my friend Andie yesterday and she asked what this new juicing contraption was that went with my vitamix.  I excitedly told her about the bags and she said, “Oh, I think I’ll just stick with my juices from the Bay Club and save myself the work.” I had to laugh at that statement because honestly, it’s what most people will do!  I love you Andie.
Do you like to juice?  If so, then you have to try my carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice.
carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice, no juicer required
Happy juicing everyone!
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{ 48 comments… add one }

  • Made in Sonoma September 20, 2012, 4:55 pm

    I love mean green juice! Luckily we have a juicer at work. :) I will definitely remember Juice Alley next time in Corte Madera!

  • Jacquelyn Grandy September 20, 2012, 5:15 pm

    You lucky girl! Actually, after I made this recipe, my girlfriend Cathie dropped off a juicer that she had bought a few years back. It’s brand new and has never been taken out of the box. I’m excited to use it, but don’t know if I have the energy to set it up and figure it out. I actually like juicing this way, its pretty simple now that I have gotten use to it.
    We should meet for juice next time your in Corte Madera, just email me!

  • Becca @ The Dabblist September 20, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Woo hoo, big fan of this post! Way to make it work with your blender, Jackie! That’s a good green juice recipe you’ve got going on there. If you’re ever in a juicing rut, I highly recommend Kris Carr’s ebook here:

    Happy Juicing <3

    • Jacquelyn Grandy September 20, 2012, 5:21 pm

      I thought you would like it Becca, being that you’re a fan of juicing. I spent enough money on that vitamix so I am trying to make the most of it. It’s actually one of my favorite kitchen appliances. Thanks for the ebook recommendation. Now, that I know how to juice, I will be on the lookout for more recipes :)


  • Averie @ Averie Cooks September 20, 2012, 5:59 pm

    I rarely….and I do mean rarely like once every 3 years! LOL…juice anything. The cleanup on a Vita is 100x faster than all those teeth and pulp everywhere with the juicer so I can totally appreciate this post!

    • Jacquelyn Grandy September 20, 2012, 8:42 pm

      Hi Averie. The clean up is really a cinch with this. I hear about how difficult juicers are to clean. All I have to do is scrub a little bag and wash out a blender and I’m ready to go. Easy peasy!

  • Sharyn Dimmick September 21, 2012, 2:27 am

    Thanks, Jackie. This is a truly useful post: I’m putting a jelly strainer bag on my to-get list. I’m always reading about delicious juices that I can’t make — now I know how to get around that.

    • Jacquelyn Grandy September 21, 2012, 5:47 pm

      Thanks Sharyn! I’m glad that this post helped inspire you to now juice. I felt so liberated knowing I can now juice, and the jelly bags are super simple to use and clean. I can’t wait to hear what sort of juice you end up throwing together.

  • Green Juice Recipes September 21, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Nice. My morning green juice today was kale, dandelion greens, apples, cucumber & lemon.

    • Jacquelyn Grandy September 21, 2012, 5:47 pm

      Sounds amazing. I need to try dandelion greens next!

  • Carly T September 25, 2012, 5:10 am

    Hi, I’m new to this site, and I already love it! I really do want to try this, and I don’t have a juicer. Are Jelly Strainer bags something people actually buy to cook? I noticed you bought yours at a Hardware store. Do you think these are something that can be bought in a grocery store? And do they feel at all comparable to cheese cloth? Just thinking of a back up in case I can’t find any of those bags here in Canada.

    • Jacquelyn Grandy September 25, 2012, 1:36 pm

      Hi Carly! I’m not sure you can buy the jelly strainer bags at a grocery store. You could call your local Safeway or Whole Foods (or stores similar to those two in Canada) and ask. Jelly strainer bags are sold where canning supplies are sold (my local hardware store sells kitchen ware as well). People use jelly bags to strain jams and fruit. You could also try a nut milk bag as well. I think I have seen those at Whole Foods. If you google jelly strainer bags you will see them all over the place. You can even get them at Amazon. The website where I got the idea used a paint strainer bag, but I was hesitant to purchase one of those as I wasn’t sure if they were food grade quality or not. I looked at cheese cloth, but it looked flimsier and the holes looked bigger. The jelly bags are made of nylon and are very sturdy and can withstand pressure. Best of luck Carly and let me know what you end up using!

      • Sara | Stinkerpants July 2, 2013, 5:05 pm

        You can also buy a “nut milk” bag, which people use for making almond milk. That’s what I use!

        • jackiegrandy July 2, 2013, 5:11 pm

          Yes, great recommendation Sara! :)

    • Molly Pedersen March 16, 2013, 4:00 pm

      Cheesecloth should work just fine, use a couple layers of it for finer straining. After all, before those marvelous jelly bag thingys, cheesecloth was what we used! :)

      • jackiegrandy March 17, 2013, 2:57 pm

        Hi Molly! Great tip. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Melissa Klotz November 8, 2013, 5:38 am

      I use a paint strainer bag for coconut milk and it works great!

  • Vikki May 3, 2013, 7:48 pm

    HERE IS A QUESTION ! I make this recipe and drink it as a smoothie . . .is it better to drink it as a JUICE ?

    • jackiegrandy May 3, 2013, 8:00 pm

      Hi Vikki! It’s way too pulpy to drink as a smoothie. Believe me, I have tried. You can see how clumpy it is in the photo where I’m pouring it from the blender into the jelly bag. I have some other kale and spinach smoothies that taste great as smoothies, but for some reason I didn’t like the consistency of this one as a smoothie. It was perfect and refreshing as a juice, especially with all that ginger. I’m going to be testing a mean green smoothie recipe and I will let you know how that turns out. :)

  • Sommer August 4, 2013, 9:11 pm

    Where did you get your jelly bag? I am wanting to start juicing but I dont want to shell out big bucks for a juicer until I know I will stick with it. Also, do you have any tips for a beginner?

    • jackiegrandy August 5, 2013, 1:23 pm

      Hi Sommer. I picked up my jelly bags at my local hardware store. You can get them on-line as well. They cost $4.99 for a 2 bag set. I didn’t want to pay for a big old juicer, and honestly, I prefer to drink smoothies most of the time, so my vitamix paired with this jelly strainer bag is perfect for when I want a juice. Most of my friends that have juicers say the clean up on them is a pain and some of them use this method because it’s easier. I was a beginner to juicing as well when I wrote this post, so I gave step-by-step instructions as well as any tips I learned in the above post. If you read through it and have any questions, please let me know and I will be happy to answer something specific. Good luck Sommer :) xoxo, Jackie

  • Joe Boylan August 5, 2013, 5:08 am

    Been searching the web for the “Mean Green” juice I’ve heard so much about, and found this site. Another site recommended using a paint strainer bag available at Lowe’s and Home Depot for around $2. The bags look just about the same, but the other site cautioned about squeezing the paint bag too hard – understandable. Hope this helps; no way we’re buying a juicer. I’ll fire up the Ninja and let’s everyone know if I have any problems.

    • jackiegrandy August 5, 2013, 1:30 pm

      Hi Joe. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your tips :) It’s super helpful to have other peoples insights. :) xoxo, Jackie

  • elizabeth coop August 12, 2013, 8:25 pm

    I am new to the site. This is awesome! WE made some in the Vitamix this morning, didn’t strain it -just added more water. My husband and I debate on what is a serving of Juice? 8 oz, 16 oz, etc…. what is the serving size.

    • jackiegrandy August 14, 2013, 1:48 am

      Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for your sweet comment:) So good to hear that you liked it without having to strain it. The juice makes 22 ounces and that is strained, so I’m guessing you probably had a bit more because you didn’t strain it. I hope I’m answering your question correctly. :) xoxo, Jackie

  • erin September 16, 2013, 1:50 pm

    I have a juicer and I am contemplating selling it and just using this method! It actually seems like you would get more juice out and it would take less time. With this method, clean up is a breeze, whereas my juicer is definitely a pain to clean.

  • Jorge November 3, 2013, 4:02 am

    You don´t lose a lot of juice with the jelly bag?

    • jackiegrandy November 3, 2013, 4:12 pm

      Hi Jorge! No, you don’t if you make sure to squeeze it all out of the bag. It take a bit of squeezing, but after you’re just left with a bag full of pulp. I’m sure a juicer does a better job and can squeeze out more juice, but I don’t have one, so this works for me! :)

  • Jone November 10, 2013, 6:26 pm

    Thanks so much for this tip! I love green juice and was thinking that I would have to either save up for a really expensive masticating juicer(because apparently the normal juicers don’t juice leafy greens very well…) or keep buying them from a juice shop. I tried blending cucumber, parsley and spinach this morning and I strained it through a normal flour sieve, which worked quite well, but I think the fact that you can wring out that jelly bag probably gets you a whole lot more juice!

    • jackiegrandy November 11, 2013, 3:15 pm

      Hi Jone! I’m so happy that you found this tip and that you don’t have to go out and buy and expensive juicer. Now you can spend that money on something fun! I don’t juice too often, so I know a juicer would just be another big appliance in my house that rarely got used. This method works perfectly for me, and yes, you tend to get a lot of juice from squeezing and twisting the bag. :) xoxo, Jackie

  • Lisa January 15, 2014, 5:50 am

    HI – does anyone have any suggestions for ingredient instead of kale. We don’t have it – needing to make a green juice for jelly base for my daughter with lots of food intolerances

    Appreciate any suggestions.


    • jackiegrandy January 15, 2014, 6:33 am

      Hi Lisa! Here’s some substions you can try, arugula, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, green cabbage, mustard/collard/beet/turnip greens. I would suggest trying spinach first as kids tend to go for that in juices, at least my kids do. :) I hope that helps! xoxo, Jackie

      • Anonymous January 15, 2014, 7:36 am

        Thanks :)

  • Ronnie January 31, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Hi Jackie!

    Thanks for this great post. I was wondering if you know the difference in the nutritional value in juice that is the product of straining a blended, pulpy concoction in comparison to juice produced by a juicer. I’d really appreciate any insight you have! Thanks.


    • jackiegrandy February 3, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Hi Ronnie! Sorry to get back to you so late on this, but I was out of town this past weekend. I’m not sure on the difference in nutritional value? I know there are cold pressed juicers which are better than your average juicer as they don’t heat up the juice, but I’m not sure if there is a difference in the nutritional value of a standard juicer and straining the juice via the blender. I do know that you need to drink it up within a few hours though. Sorry, I wish I could be of more help here. I don’t juice too often as I’m more of a smoothie girl, as it’s just easier and more filling. xoxo, Jackie :)

  • jean March 3, 2014, 4:33 am

    Hi! Do you get the same benefits when juicing in a blender?

    • jackiegrandy March 6, 2014, 12:51 am

      Hi Jean. I think you do if you drink the juice right away!

  • Ed M March 15, 2014, 12:54 pm

    What did we do before the internet? When I Googled, “How to juice without a juicer” your site came up.

    My vegan son is visiting from New York so I took him to West Hollywood ( We live in Pasadena) to a vegan/vegetarian Mexican restaurant, Gracias Madre. Everything was WONDERFUL, but the kale, ginger, apple drink I ordered was out of this world. I want to redo it and I’m going to get some of these bags and start with your recipe.

    I used to own a juicer and they were a PAIN to clean. Never again!

    One of the best parts about finding your blog is that I grew up in Fairfax, so its like having a letter from home.

    And you DON’T have ugly hands. STOP thinking like that!

    • jackiegrandy March 18, 2014, 7:54 pm

      Hi Ed! I know, what did we do before Google, Youtube and the internet? I simply can’t remember :) My girlfriend actually just gave me a top quality juicer, but I havent used it yet, as it looks so confusing and as you said, a pain to clean. Thanks for your sweet comment regarding my hands! I will be more postive in the future :) Have a great day Ed! xoxo, Jackie

      • Ed M April 25, 2014, 6:35 pm

        Received the jelly bags I ordered from Amazon yesterday. (@$7.00 so not bad. Easier that way since I couldn’t figure out what store might carry them or where they’d be!) So today will buy what I need for the kale/ginger drink. Cheers!

        • jackiegrandy April 26, 2014, 7:47 pm

          Awesome Ed. I’m glad you got the bags and at a nice price to boot! I hope you enjoy the juice! xoxo, Jackie

  • Kristen Fuller March 26, 2014, 7:19 pm

    Just finished making this juice in my Vitamix and it has a little too much ginger for my taste but its good! It’s so funny that you mentioned ginger reminding you of early pregnancy days. My son is 4 now and I still haven’t gotten over the ginger teas and ginger chews (YUCK!). But this isn’t bad. I’ll just use less ginger next time. :)

    • jackiegrandy March 27, 2014, 2:00 am

      Yes, ginger can be a bit too much at times and the only way I can really tolerate it in a juice. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had an adversion to ginger during her pregnancy :)

  • Sylvia March 31, 2014, 2:03 pm

    OMG i can’t believe that firs link I go to gave me what I was looking for. I’m doing cleanse by Walter lost and I really need to drink good juice. The real one. Thank you so so much!!!! I’m going to buy those bags today sense from tomorrow is my 4th day of cleanse and I already feel so good. . After 8 days of this cleansing therapy I should get be free from gallstones and mucus from my body! We have like from 15 lbs to 30lbs off this stones on ours body – the reason for all health problems. Thank you a lot!!!!!! PS I’ll also try those juices!!

    • jackiegrandy April 2, 2014, 5:02 pm

      Wow Sylvia! I’m so happy that you found this post and so proud of you for doing a 8 day cleanse. You go girl! I hope this method works great for you and that you love the juices. I also hope that you start feeling on top of the world soon as far as your health goes. I can tell by your comment that you already have an amazing positive spirit! xoxo, Jackie

  • Dahlia April 19, 2014, 9:00 pm


    I am a huge fan of all your recipes and have been craving juices for god knows how long but I don’t have a blender as good as yours. My blender would NEVER be able to chop up what yours does. SO my question is…What kind of a blender do you have??!?!!
    Thanks :)

    • jackiegrandy April 22, 2014, 7:11 pm

      Hi Dahlia! Awww.. You’re super sweet and I’m glad to hear you’re a fan of my blog! :) I have a Vitamix blender. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but I seriously use it at least once a day. I puree soups in it, make peanut butter, smoothies and juices. It’s the best and has already paid for itself! xoxo, Jackie

  • Madeline May 10, 2014, 5:00 pm

    Just made this–awesome!! We’ll definitely be making it again and again. Thank you!


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