Carrots: Carrot, Apple, & Ginger Juice; Carrot Almond Salad; and Pickled Carrots & Radishes

The carrot: full of vitamins, delightfully crunchy and, when picked at its best, oh so sweet. It can also be incredibly boring. Those pre-peeled and perfectly shaped “baby” carrots we find in the grocery store, for example, make for a miserable snack. Volumes could be written about this ubiquitous veggie, but we’ll cut to the chase here with our take on a root that seems to have limitless culinary applications.

Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, and several other vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. However, our bodies have a tough time getting at those vitamins when we eat a raw carrot in its unprocessed form. The vitamins and minerals are locked up in tough, fibrous mass. We can get at more of those vitamins by breaking the carrots down through shredding, grinding or juicing. And cooking carrot makes the beta-carotene more readily available to our bodies.

We now find carrots of many colors on the stands of our local farmers markets – orange, red, white and purple. While generally a cool weather veggie, their year-round availability makes it easy to cook them at peak freshness throughout the year. And the greens? They’re edible! Sure, they’re a little bitter, but they offer a nice foil to the root’s sweetness when added to a dish or salad in small amounts. The greens make a great substitute for parsley in a pinch.

An essential member of the mirepoix trinity (with onion and celery), carrot is used as a sweet/savory flavoring agent in countless recipes for soups, sauces, stocks, sweets, pastries, and more. They’re delicious on their own, glazed in stock, butter and sugar. As a substitute for mashed potatoes, they can’t be beat. They make a comforting blended soup when accented with curry spices. And what self-respecting pot roast would be caught without an accompanying roasted carrot smothered in all those pan juices? And when the meal is complete, there’s always carrot cake for dessert.

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Carrot, Apple, and Ginger Juice

Makes 2-3 servings

2-3 medium to large organic carrots, scrubbed well and tops removed
2-4 medium to large organic apples
1/2  – 1 inch fresh ginger peeled (Hawaiian ginger, preferably)

To clean the carrots and apples: In a large bowl filled with fresh cool water add the carrots and apples with a couple tablespoons of white distilled vinegar. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then scrub the carrots and apples.

Cut the apples and carrots to fit the feed shoot of your high powered juicer. Juice all of the carrots first and set the carrot pulp aside. Add the ginger, and then add the apples. Drink Immediately.

Carrot Almond Salad

2-3 medium to large organic carrots, scrubbed well and tops removed
Alternately, use the carrot pulp from the carrot, apple and ginger juice from the recipe above
2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons almond oil
1/4  cup raw almonds, chopped
salt and pepper

Grate the carrots using a food processor or a box grater, or use the carrot pulp from the juice recipe. Add the carrots to a large mixing bowl. If using the grated carrots, add 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar, olive and almond oils to the carrots (use 4 tablespoons of the rice vinegar and olive oil if using the carrot pulp). Add the chopped raw almonds, and salt and pepper to taste. Add more rice vinegar and olive oil if needed.

Pickled Carrots and Radishes

Adapted from Kelly Geary’s Tart and Sweet

Original recipe can be found at Whole Living

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/4 teaspoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
3 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper, such as habanero
1 small cinnamon stick
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tablespoon fenugreek seed
1 tablespoon brown mustard seed
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound thin organic carrots, tops removed and scrubbed well
1/2 pound whole radishes, scrubbed well


Bring the vinegar, 3/4 cup water, salt, and coconut sugar or brown sugar to a boil in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Stir, dissolving the salt and sugar.

Heat a 1-quart jar: Fill it with hot water and let it sit a couple minutes before pouring out. (The heat will prevent shattering when you pour in the boiling brine.) Add garlic, hot pepper, and spices.

Pack the jars tightly with carrots and radishes. Pour in hot brine. Cover and let cool overnight before eating. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Hitting the Reset Button

Citrus pineapple juice--more nutritious and tastier than the carton.

Last summer we were inspired by the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  The film tells the story of Joe Cross and his now-famous trek across the U.S. in a quest to loose weight and get healthy by drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Along his journey, Joe met a few people who joined him on his fasting crusade, and as the story goes, changed their lives for the better.

While the film, in the beginning, seemed destined to be more like an infomercial for Breville Juicers than a documentary, the message of change was more powerful, emotional, and humane than watching any episode of The Biggest Loser.

If you want true inspiration to change your eating habits and lose excess weight, or just want to be healthier, then you should watch Joe’s film. Then you should go out and get yourself a juicer. You’ll be glad you did it.

Our first fast only lasted three days. We did it a week before we were to run the first half of the SF Marathon, and even though we could have continued on a diet of juice and fresh fruits and vegetables after three days, we thought it best to break the fast and go back to our regular food choices – albeit with the addition of juicing. We needed calories from grains to keep us going as we trained and that meant eating solid foods.

Those three days really changed our lives. The first day was the hardest, as Joe describes in the film. Jason suffered from a horrible migraine headache that included vomiting (we know, not a pleasant topic for a food blog). He spent the first evening in bed. The next morning, however, after a refreshing fruit juice and some green tea, everything changed. Energy levels increased for both of us and by the end of the second day we saw noticeable changes in our skin tone. The puffiness around our eyes was gone, wrinkles seemed to be fading away, and a glow came into our complexions. This was only after day two. By the afternoon of our third day we felt incredible, and each of us had dropped three pounds. A pound of weight per day! We know. This sounds like an infomercial. But this was our experience and we’re serious about it.

We were also preparing for our trip to Spain and our interest in traveling Spain’s countryside eating and drinking just fruit and vegetable juices started to wear on our food traveling souls. After our trip, the holidays came at us with a vengeance. We held many of our temptations at bay this year and for the first holiday season in the history of our lives together, we finally came to understand what moderation really means.

Now, after all the candy and treats, booze and cocktails, processed food and many, many bags of potato chips, were tackling the New Year. We’ve hit the reset button on our diets—even though it is with a gentle hand and a few weeks late. We are eliminating alcohol from our lives for the next few months. We’re also taking a clue from former President Bill Clinton and fellow foodie Mark Bittman by working on becoming vegans – even if it’s just part time. And of course, there will be more juicing. We’re not setting goals or keeping a dietary journal of everything we consume. Our plan is to just be more conscience of what we put into our bodies and to pay attention to the effects it has on our lives. In a few months you’ll probably read about an incredible elk roast that we prepared from a long lost recipe, but that is all part of the balance of our lives. If you’re life is off balance watch Joe’s documentary. We hope it will inspire you just as it did us. The goal is to find your balance in life.

Pineapple Citrus Juice

Yield 5+ cups

½ pineapple – peeled
2 grapefruits –peeled
2 oranges – peeled
1 lemon – peeled
2 limes – unpeeled and organic

Put the items in your juicer as suggested by the manufacturer. The juice will keep in your fridge for up to 24 hours without loosing many nutrients. However, with all fresh juice, it is suggested that you consume right away to maintain maximum flavor and nutrition.

Note about organic: Whenever possible use local, organic fruits and vegetables for juicing, especially if the skin or the peel is part of the juice. If organic produce is not available in your area, remove the skin before juicing.

Another note about organic: We know that many people are skeptical about the merits of organic produce. In our opinion, even if there isn’t a significant difference between commercial produce and organic for our own consumption, there are problems with pesticide run-off affecting water quality.  Even more, farm workers are exposed to extremely unsafe levels of chemicals known to be carcinogenic and we eat cheap food at their expense. In other words, if you’re not going to think about your own quality of life, at least think about the choices you may have on the quality of the lives of others.