The Other Orange Juice: Carrot Juice

Go garden to goblet with this healthy and refreshing drink.
Carrot juice is tasty drink that packs a healthy punch.

Carrot juice is tasty drink that packs a healthy punch.

Carrot juice is a tasty drink that packs a healthy punch.

As any cartoon rabbit will tell you, carrots are a spectacular garden treat. Vibrant in color, flavorful and positively loaded with health benefits, carrots are considered by many to be one of the coveted "superfoods," where nutritional value outweighs its calorie count. Although the natural sugar content in carrots keep it off the must-have list for carb counters, the health benefits and great taste make them a favorite among gardeners and foodies alike.

In salads, as a side dish, baked into cakes or muffins or peeled and packed into a school lunch to later be traded for something much worse for your kids, carrots are incredibly versatile. If you’re looking to maximize nutritional intake in the most delicious of ways, though, carrot juice is lightening in a bottle.

Often referred to as "miracle juice," carrot juice is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, E, calcium, iron and potassium. Health benefits include strengthening bones, cleansing the liver, improving eyesight, promoting a healthy complexion and due to its concentration of high levels of beta carotene, carrot juice is considered to be a powerful cancer fighter.

Sweet, tasty and with a color that is a feast for the eyes, carrot juice is great all by itself, but it also pairs well with just about anything else one might be inclined to jam into a countertop juicer. Apples, spinach, celery or strawberries -- the combinations are endless. If you’re a health enthusiast, looking to make use of a bumper crop or just in the market for an out of the ordinary refreshment, it’s time to unpack the juicer you got as a wedding present or picked up that summer you were going to "get healthy."

For those new to juicing or not quite ready to commit to shelling out the money for a single-use appliance, this sweet elixir is not out of reach. Juicing machines require little more effort than dropping clean produce into the machine and remembering to turn it off before the glass overflows, but the same results can be had with a food processor and a square of cheesecloth. Process carrots into a slurry, pour it through the cheesecloth into a bowl and draw up the corners to filter out the pulp.

Whether using a juicer or food processor, the inclination might be to throw that pulp into the compost pile once you’ve finished your drink. Not so fast. The pulp left behind still has plenty of flavor, nutritional value and is a great source of beneficial fiber. Consider using it in muffins, bread or to add texture to soups. I guess that juicer has more than one use after all.

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