Earl Carter
Carrot and green-vegetable juices, sweetened with fruit or beet juice, make delicious morning beverages. Add an inch-long piece of fresh ginger to give them a healthy kick first thing in the morning.

Fresh juices prepared from seasonal fruits and vegetables make wonderful, energizing morning beverages. All you need are a few tools and a selection of produce from the farmers market or your garden, and you can start the day in a flavorful, healthy way.

I've always loved fresh juices, but it wasn't until last summer that I discovered an efficient, well-designed new juicer that extracts all the liquid from fruits and vegetables and can be cleaned quickly and easily. Now, every morning I drink about 8 ounces of juice right after my workout. I use just-picked green vegetables, adding sweetness in the form of pears, apples, beets or carrots, and for a bit of bite, an inch-long piece of ginger. I always make enough for my trainer, who loves the pungent, not-too-sweet drink bursting with goodness.

When I have bushels of ripe apples and pears and root vegetables on hand, I serve friends carrot-beet, apple-carrot or celery-pear juices. Throughout the fall and winter, I often make pomegranate-citrus juice — the tasty red fruit bolsters the immune system.

My yoga teacher suggested kefir as a breakfast drink— it's a fermented-milk beverage considered by many to be a "wonder food" full of friendly microorganisms that aid digestion. Many of my friends find plain kefir a bit sour, so I blend it with fresh berries to create a delicious, nutritious concoction. An alternative would be buttermilk or plain yogurt — low-fat or nonfat, of course — pureed with fresh berries or other soft fruits. If the mixture is too thick, citrus juice or skim milk thins it perfectly.

For many years, I never drank coffee, preferring tea with lemon as my caffeinated beverage. I have not given up tea, but after a visit to Italy and a sampling of the great coffees there, I vowed to learn how to make similar beverages at home.

I tried all sorts of machines — all-in-ones, stove-top espresso makers, frothers, drippers — but I could not duplicate the perfect cappuccinos or wholesome lattes I had imbibed. Eventually I bribed the barista at New York City's Via Quadronno with a segment on my television show so he would teach me how to make the delectable cappuccino he serves in the restaurant. Then I invested in a professional-grade La San Marco machine that makes true espresso (I use Antica Tostatura Triestina coffee beans) and steams milk to a rich, creamy texture.

Making delicious coffee — and juice or smoothies — has become part of my morning ritual. What a refreshing way to prepare for the day ahead.

For more nutritious beverage ideas visit www.marthastewart.com/healthful-drinks.

JUICED GARDEN GREENS

For 2 servings: Juice 1 unpeeled cucumber, 2 ounces green Swiss chard or spinach, 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 Granny Smith apple, 3/4 cup cubed honeydew melon, 1 celery stalk, 1/4 fennel bulb and a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger in an electric juicer. Divide between 2 glasses.

CARROT-BEET JUICE

For 2 servings: Juice 6 large carrots, 1 medium Chioggia or golden beet, a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger and 1/2 celery stalk in an electric juicer. Divide between 2 glasses.

KEFIR WITH BERRIES

For 2 servings: Puree 2 cups nonfat kefir (or yogurt or buttermilk), 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups berries, and, if desired, 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup in a blender. Divide between 2 glasses.

FRUIT-AND-YOGURT SMOOTHIE

For 2 servings: Puree 1 1/2 cups plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt, 1/2 medium chopped peeled pear, 1 small sliced banana, 2 tablespoons protein powder and 3/4 cup crushed ice (crush ice in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) in a blender. Divide between 2 glasses.

POMEGRANATE-CITRUS JUICE

For 3 servings: Use a citrus press or a juicer to juice 2 small grapefruits, 2 juice oranges, 2 tangerines or mineola tangelos, and 1/2 lime. Juice 2 pomegranates ( 2/3 cup juice) into a separate bowl. Divide citrus juice among 3 glasses. Top with pomegranate juice, which will settle to the bottom.


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