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Healing Kitchen

10 Great Uses For: Carrot Juice
This is the first in an occasional series of articles that investigates unexpected ways to add healthful ingredients to your cooking.

We're guessing most people think of carrot juice as a health-food store or juice-bar item. But fact of the matter is, it's been available on supermarket shelves for years. You will find cans of carrot juice where other canned fruit and vegetable juices are. And although a freshly "squeezed" glass of carrot juice made in a juicer may seem like it's better for you, the canned juice has no preservatives, no added ingredients and every bit as much beta-carotene as the fresh stuff.

So, we decided to adopt canned carrot juice as a pantry staple and see if we could come up with some inventive ways to use this new/old "secret ingredient."

#1 In Breads & Muffins:
Substitute carrot juice for some or all of the liquid in a bread recipe. It works for yeast breads as well as for quickbreads and muffins. The carrot juice gives the bread an incredibly rich, golden color and a hint of sweetness. For a good example of this, try our California Pizza, which has a homemade pizza crust made with all carrot juice and no water.

#2 In Risottos & Pilafs:
Instead of cooking rice or barley or couscous in water or broth (canned broth, after all, doesn't add much to food except salt), try simmering or steeping it in carrot juice. You'll wind up with golden grains that look like they've been cooked with saffron (at a tiny, tiny fraction of the price, and a huge health benefit that saffron does not have). Try our Golden Vegetable Risotto.

#3 In Soups & Stews:
Don't even think about making soup with water when you can use carrot juice instead. Savory soups and stews--minestrone, chili, tomato, cream of carrot (natch), winter squash, split pea, you name it--benefit from the added richness. And if you're a fan of fruit soups, you can sneak some carrot juice in there, too.

#4 In Sauces:
Another place this "liquid gold" fits in: sauces. Carrot juice can be incorporated into pasta (tomato) sauce, meat or poultry gravies, and savory cream sauces, and to thin vegetable purees to pouring consistency.

#5 In Mashed Potatoes:
Add carrot juice to mashed white potatoes or sweet potatoes. If you use Yukon Golds or another yellow-fleshed potato, the mash will look like it's dripping with butter whether you add any or not. And that goes for other mashable vegetables like turnips, parsnips or celery root.

#6 In Cakes & Cookies:
If you're baking a cake, try subbing carrot juice for half the milk in the recipe to enrich the golden-ness of a gold cake or a fruit or nut cake. Carrot juice makes a wonderful underscore to chocolate cakes and brownies, too.

#7 As a Poultry Glaze:
In our Broiled Carrot-Glazed Chicken, we brushed a sweet-tart glaze (made of carrot juice, honey, and vinegar) over chicken breasts and then broiled them. Some of the same mixture was used as a sauce. You could use carrot juice as the foundation for other glazes too: for chicken, meat, or fish.

#8 In Homemade Pasta:
If you go to the trouble of making pasta from scratch, you might as well use carrot juice instead water and enjoy some jazzy orange pasta. The flavor will be subtle, so don't worry about coming up with a "taste-matching" sauce. But the color suggests some complementary ingredients: slivers of smoked salmon, winter-squash puree, a curried-chicken topping, for instance.

#9 In Ice Creams & Puddings:
Use carrot juice in place of about one-third to one-half of the milk in puddings, custards, or ice creams. It works well with chocolate (the sweetness of the carrot juice complements and heightens the chocolate flavors). Or try our Carrot Hazelnut Ice Cream made with toasted hazelnuts and warmly spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and white pepper.

#10 In Drinks:
Last but not least. Add carrot juice to orange juice, tomato juice, pineapple juice, apricot nectar, beet juice...it's not just the flavors that will surprise you, but the vivid colors you can mix up. Or make a smoothie: Consider a blend of peaches, vanilla yogurt, carrot juice, a pinch of nutmeg and a splash of almond extract. Or orange juice, carrot juice, banana yogurt, and a few drops of vanilla...you get the idea. (Feeling wicked? Add a splash of vodka, a squirt of grenadine and a dash of lime juice to your cupful of carrot juice and top with a mint sprig.)
Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 03/04/2000
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