Juices: Mexico's Best-Kept Secret

Juices prepared with fresh fruits, popular in Mexico.

Juices prepared with fresh fruits, popular in Mexico.

The jugo energetico is exactly that: pip, verve buzz, a jolt of pure energy. After I run I swing by the market and pick one up, and Angelita of Jugos Angelita chats with me about the weather and the latest fiestas in Oaxaca.

She does this while expertly breaking off fresh spinach leaves, sprinkling them with pecans, dousing them in honey and topping the mixture off with raisins and a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice. She never measures anything, but the consistency and balance of flavors come out just right each time: sweet, sour, rich, nutty, and hearty.

The energetico is just one of many jugos I’ve come to love in Oaxaca. My other current favorite is a mangoneada, a smoothie-esque combination of whole milk, mangos, strawberries, bananas, vanilla and cinnamon. It’s half jugo, half licuado (the latter is a Mexican milkshake whose staple ingredients are milk, vanilla and cinnamon).

Super Jugos Angelita

Super Jugos Angelita

Any combination of fruits and vegetables is possible here. One of the classic faves is a jugo verde, which is made by whipping together orange juice, parsley, celery, cactus leaf and a touch of aloe. It sounds medicinal but tastes almost creamy and succulent.

Most people do not equate juice with Mexico, thinking instead of elaborate and decadent dishes like molé or street classics like tacos and burritos. But juice is as much a part of life here as the morning crowd at the taco stand. People like their juices thick and packed with ingredients: beet and carrot, papaya and mandarin orange. The idea is to get the right blend of healthy (read: herbs, nuts and vegetables) and sweet (fruit, milk and vanilla, honey).

The following are some Mexican juices to try out at home with a blender or juicer.

Jugo Verde

2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 stalks of celery (with leaves)
1 sprig of parsley
1/2 fresh nopal (cactus leaf, if you can find it)
1 inch-long piece of aloe

Blend until well mixed.

Jugo Energetico

2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 handful fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoon raisins
2 tablespoon pecans
1 tablespoon honey or to taste

Blend until well mixed.

Mangoneada

3 cups milk (I’d recommend whole for true indulgence, but you can use whatever suits your fancy)
Flesh of 1 mango
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 banana
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend until well mixed.

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