Leading up to next week’s Juice It Potluck and Giveaway, I thought I would explore the concept of using fresh juice as more than a “health drink.” Yes, of course, most of the time that you make a fresh juice, you want to sip it while it’s super fresh, to get all those fleeting vitamins and antioxidants. And yes, most of the time we are making our juice for a healthy infusion of nutrients, an energizer, or even a curative drink.
Just don’t relegate your juicer to only one job. It’s a powerful tool.
Last week, I posted a recipe using the pulp for a tasty bar. But think about your juice, and all the intense flavor in that glass. It is a serious ingredient, bound only by your imagination. Anywhere that you use liquids, you can dream up a juice that could add levels of flavor and color that would just not happen with water, boxed stocks, or milk.
This is also a good way to use up some juice that you didn’t get to in the first day. Adding some vegetable juice to the water you use to cook grains adds a bunch of vegetable-y savor. Cooking up some soup? Add some of your veggie juice to amp up the broth. The recipe below is one I adapted from a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe, in which the sweet earthiness of carrot juice blends with tangy lemongrass and lime for an intense flavor on a par with the most exciting Thai soups I have had.
Juices can be a magic ingredient in sweets, whether it’s re-hydrating dried fruit, or as the liquid in baked goods. Just remember that the juice will be more acidic than water or milk, so you may need to adjust the recipe. That level of acid might discourage yeast and kill the rise of your bread, but a jolt of sweet apple or other fruit juice can give it a nice fruitiness.
Dressings for all kinds of salads get a boost- and depending on the juice, it can be sweet or tart. Carrot, apple, and other sweet juices can balance the sour of lemon or vinegar. Tart citrus or spicy vegetable juices can step in for the vinegar, and when emulsified with oil and herbs, take on a new dimension.
Looking for a new sauce? Creative pan sauces can be constructed from a quick reduction of a juice. Your favorite sesame sauce gets more interesting with a blend of veg and fruit juice whisked in. If you were going to add wine, why not juice?
Give that juicer a workout, and use it for more than your healthy beverage needs. You’ll be glad you did!
Peppers and Cabbage in Lemongrass and Carrot Broth
Makes about 7 cups
4 cups vegetable stock
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
2 cups fresh carrot juice
1 large red jalapeno, chopped
1/2 pound chinese cabbage, shredded
2 large red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, approximately
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce or fish sauce
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Bring stock, lemongrass and carrot juice to a simmer, then cover tightly. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, then turn off for 10 minutes to steep.
2. Remove the lemongrass and discard. Bring the broth to a simmer, and add the jalapeno, cabbage and peppers. Add half of the lime juice, soy sauce or fish sauce, and sugar. Season to taste with more lime as needed. Add cilantro just before serving.