We Create our Own Cold Pressed Juice at a Juice Jamming Session at Babylonstoren

Words: Julie Velosa

Every time I visit Babylonstoren I am more and more enamoured by it. There have been a number of visits over the years – to see their olive oil production in action, the launch of the new tasting room and MCC and to stay in the gorgeous farm accommodation. This most recent visit was up there in the favourites, not only because I got to don wellies and splash around in puddles like a kid but also because it was a true exploration of the colour and vibrancy at the heart of this beautiful estate. I visited to experience Babylonstoren’s Juice Jamming session and to learn more about one of their latest additions to the farm – cold press juicing.

From Garden to Bottle

One of the defining factors about Babylonstoren is their commitment to doing things right and this is carried through in their juices, which are an expression of their garden to table ethos. Much of the produce for the juices is sourced from the farm, garden, and surrounding areas, which means the juices remain seasonal and super fresh.

The Juicery

Above the The Scented Room at Babylonstoren, you’ll find a viewing deck that looks into The Juicery processing room and from here you can see exactly how the freshly pressed juices are made.

The space is laboratory-like in its set up; temperature-controlled (a chilly 10 ºC) and as clean and neat as a pin. The equipment is of the highest quality and each station is set out and marked, giving visitors insight into exactly how the juice is made.

A high-tech belt press is used to slowly cold press the fruits and veggies before being combined in specific quantities to create specific flavours, a bit like blending a fine wine.

High-Pressure Processing

The fresh fruit and vegetable juices are cold-pressed and then cold preserved by means of high-pressure processing (HPP). No heat is used, which means that the fresh taste and vitamins are preserved and the product has a shelf life in the fridge of three weeks or more.

This technology reduces the microbial count and enables Babylonstoren to process tree-ripened fruit and freshly harvested vegetables into flavour-bursting, nutrient-packed juice.

Under Pressure

Once the sealed, filled (recycled plastic) bottles are placed into the state-of-the-art high-pressure machine, a metal chamber is filled with water and the bottles of juice are pressurised to 6000 bar. This is a huge amount of pressure considering that the average car tyre has a pressure of only 2 bar.

Imagine 12 elephants standing on a single strawberry. That is the kind of pressure that this high-pressure machine, one of the few in South Africa, is placing on a single bottle.

Beginning our Juice Jamming Session

This was the first of the juice jamming sessions offered at Babylonstoren; the day started with divine cappuccinos and homemade rusks at the farm shop, followed by a quick intro session, where we got to know the group.

Thereafter, we grabbed umbrellas and ventured out into the gardens, led by  head gardener, Liesl van der Walt, to pick fresh fruit from the trees and dig up beetroots and other veggies.

Anyone who gardens will understand the satisfaction gained from digging your hands into the soil and seeing what nature has produced. It almost feels even more natural and gratifying when the soil is wet and smells rain-fresh.

Once we had gathered baskets full of fresh produce, we headed off to a juice tasting, before creating our own juices.

The juice tasting is led by Food Scientist, Debora van der Merwe, who heads up The Juicery at Babylonstoren. She took us through a really interesting tasting of three freshly pressed juices, allowing us to identify flavours in each juice.

Next, we headed down to a specially set up juicing room, where we got to choose from what had been harvested to create our own signature juice. Babylonstoren team members are there to guide and assist and the whole process is super fun.

The Colour Question

There was an amazing amount of produce to choose from, making the choice of where to go with your flavour profile quite a tricky one. You could go purples with beets, purple carrots, red cabbage and red apples, or greens with kale, green apple, spekboom and limes.

In contrast to the moody weather, I opted for sunshiney orange hues and blended baby carrots, blood oranges, clementines, limes and a whole whack of freshly pressed ginger. The result was a bottle of beautifully coral-coloured goodness, with a kick of ginger that would ward off any cold within a 10-mile radius!

Lunch at The Greenhouse at Babylonstoren

Our Juice Jamming Session was rounded off with a 3-course lunch at the always-sublime Greenhouse. Started with a stunning salad of fruits and veggies from the garden, followed by lamb pies and finished with an utterly heavenly warm chocolate torte with ice cream.

As a day out, Juice Jamming at Babylonstoren should definitely be top of your list of Winelands things to do. You’ll get to explore the famed gardens of Babylonstoren and see first hand how glorious nature is, plus of course, learning about juicing and making your very own signature blend.

Juice Jamming is another knockout hit for the farm that already offers one of the best Winelands experiences to be had. Sign up to the Babylonstoren newsletter or follow them on their social media platforms to be the first to hear of the upcoming sessions.

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