One of the healthiest juices you can make at home is carrot juice. Carrots are plentiful in most areas, packed with nutrition, and taste amazing alone or mixed with other vegetables or fruits. But even though carrot juice is easy to make, a lot of people make mistakes that lower the nutritional value and enjoyment. If you’ve ever wondered how to make carrot juice, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, I’ll cover some of the best methods to get the most out of every carrot to maximize your health and enjoyment of this tasty veggie. I have a lot of great info here, but you can skip right to the methods if you like. But to really benefit, I encourage you to read the whole article to keep yourself well informed.
Start with the best carrots
One kitchen rule of thumb to follow is that your final product is only as good as your worst ingredient. That means you can make carrot juice with one awesome, fresh, organic carrot, but the second you add an old, wilted, chemical-laden carrot you might as well be drinking sludge.
Only use the freshest, chemical-free carrots for your juice. Since it’s not being cooked or pasteurized, you don’t want to risk consuming anything harmful. The longer a carrot is out of the ground, the more people will have handled it, and the more chance it has to pick up some unwanted passengers like germs, bacteria, and parasites.
How to choose the best carrots for juicing
I can tell you all day to pick the freshest carrots, but unless you’ve actually seen a fresh carrot, you may not know what I mean. Never fear! I can help.
A fresh carrot will be firm and solid. They’re not rock hard, but they are sturdy and nearly impossible to bend. If the carrots bend, they’re old and wilted—they will have lost a lot of their moisture at that point and won’t have much to juice anyway.
Fresh carrots are heavy. Their high water content adds considerable weight to these yummy root vegetables.
A fresh carrot will still have bright green tops. If the tops are wilted, saggy, discolored, or completely missing, skip that carrot. Grocers remove the carrot greens from older carrots to hide the fact they’re not fresh. Carrot tops also continue to suck moisture from the root even after it’s been pulled, so bright greens are a great indicator of freshness.
Choose fat carrots over skinny ones. Not that skinny carrots aren’t good for you, but they won’t have as much moisture to juice out. Fatter carrots had more room to grow in the ground and more access to nutrients than the skinny ones. Those are nutrients that you’ll be consuming in a few hours!
Choose dirty carrots. I know this sounds counterintuitive but hear me out. Dirty carrots are more likely to be freshly picked and minimally handled. They didn’t even get washed, so they’re likely still quite fresh. Also, when farmers or grocers wash carrots, they often use recycled water that’s been used over and over. Can you imagine what kind of bacteria has built up in those tanks?
Avoid super mud-caked carrots. I know I just said to pick dirty carrots, but there’s a difference between good dirt and scary, disease-laden mud. Carrots grow in the ground, usually in with manure and compost. While this is all-natural stuff, you still don’t want to eat it. Besides, carrots don’t really like horribly soggy ground. If a carrot is thick-coated with mud, it may have been grown in poor conditions. Do you really want to consume an undernourished carrot?
Does the color matter?
Yes and no! Carrots haven’t always been orange. In fact, they used to come in a wide range of colors. You can still find these “rainbow” carrots in some places. They often come with higher price tags, as if they’re new and improved or special in some way. The reality is that those heirloom colors of yellow, red, and even purple, are a more natural way for your carrots to be. They’re not new at all!
So, no, the color doesn’t matter too much. It’s the depth of color that you need to be aware of. A deep orange carrot is healthier than a pale orange one, assuming the strain of carrot is supposed to be orange. If it’s supposed to be yellow, look for a deep yellow color. If it’s a purple carrot, look for a deep, dark color.
The denser the color, the more nutrients that carrot has absorbed and the more nutritious your carrot juice will be.
Wash your carrots before juicing
Picking dirty, fat, healthy carrots is only the first step. You need to wash that dirt off before you begin juicing. Sure, a little dirt in your diet won’t hurt you—in fact, it’s good for your immune system—but it’s not tasty in carrot juice.
Don’t use soap or vegetable cleansers. I know it can be tempting to scrub the heck out of your fruits and veggies with some kind of cleanser, but it’s not worth the risk. As long as your carrots are organic and you trust the source, there’s no need to add chemicals or “natural” cleaners to your cleaning routine. Plain, clear, clean water and a little scrub with a plain veggie brush are all you need.
Leave the skins on
I know a lot of people who peel their carrots. It always makes me shake my head. The only reason to peel a carrot is to make it look “perfect”, but who decided that’s how carrots look best anyway?
I like the knobbly, crooked, dull look of a whole carrot. I can see how it was grown and what kind of care the farmers took just by looking at the skin. If the skin is pitted and unusually stained, I know that carrot didn’t have a great start and I probably don’t want to eat it.
Besides, when you peel off the skin, you’re peeling off some of the nutrients.
Start with cold carrots
If you like your juice cold, you should start with cold ingredients. Chill the carrots and other veggies or fruits for a couple of hours before you begin. Carrot juice can begin losing its color within minutes so it’s best not to store it in the fridge too long.
Leave the greens or save them for later
Did you know that you can eat or juice carrot greens? It’s true! They are delicious and packed with more nutrients than you might think.
You can either leave the greens on your carrots to add to your juice or you can trim them off and make a batch of carrot top juice on its own. Adding the green tops will change the color of your carrot juice though, so if that’s off-putting to your senses, just make a separate batch of carrot top juice.
How many carrots for carrot juice?
That’s going to depend on the size, weight, and type of carrots you use. It also depends on how much juice you want to make.
Instead of the number of carrots, go by weight. On average, two pounds of carrots is usually plenty. You can reduce this if you’ll be adding other ingredients.
Making carrot juice: Step by step guide
Now that you know all the secrets of great carrot juice, you can get to work making a fresh batch. Here are two ways to create the most vibrant, healthy carrot juice ever.
How to make carrot juice with a juicer
The simplest way to get fresh carrot juice is by using a juicer. It’s a mostly automated process, so there’s not much for you to do.
- Wash your carrots in cool, clear water. Scrub the skins well using a veggie brush.
- Cut carrots into appropriate size chunks, according to your juicer’s instructions. Some juicers can handle a whole carrot, others need small pieces.
- Remove the greens or include them in the juice, the choice is yours.
- Don’t forget to place your glass, pitcher, or juice receptacle under the spout.
- Run the carrots through the juicer.
- You can add other veggies and fruits at this stage or just drink the juice straight.
How to make carrot juice with a blender
Not everyone has or wants a juicer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make delicious juices at home. Blenders are a great alternative to a dedicated juicer, but they do require some extra steps.
- Wash your carrots in cool, clear water. Scrub the skins well using a veggie brush.
- Cut the carrots into manageable pieces. For top-end blenders, you won’t need to make them very small.
- Place the carrot chunks into the blender jar.
- Add ½ to 1 cup of water. This helps the blender move the carrots pieces and blend thoroughly.
- Don’t forget the blender cover!
- Blitz the carrots once or twice with the pulse setting. This gives you a chance to see how well the blender will handle the carrot pieces. If they don’t move much, turn off the blender, remove the lid and use a spoon to adjust the pieces on top of the blades. Pulse again.
- After the pieces are much smaller, you can turn the blender on for up to 20 seconds at a time. Stop between pulses to test the consistency. If it’s too thick or seems dry, add water ¼ cup at a time.
- Top-end blenders will have a juice or smoothie setting. Use this and leave it alone. If it’s not blended enough for your liking, you can always add more pulses.
If you like thick juice or a texture more like a smoothie, you can add ice at any stage to help thicken things up. For thinner juice, add more water or even some orange juice.
Some blenders can completely juice fresh fruits and veggies without a hitch. I love the Vitamix brand for this reason. They can even be quieter than you might think!
Other blenders need some help. If your blender isn’t quite strong enough to liquify your carrots, no matter how long you blend, you can strain the thick, pulpy juice through a fine mesh strainer or through some cheesecloth.
How to make carrot juice with a food processor
This method surprises a lot of people. Yes, you can use a food processor to make carrot juice! The steps are very much like the steps with a blender, so I won’t repeat them here—who has time to read the same instructions twice? However, you do need to add a little more work to the end.
After step 7 above, you’ll have a bowl of finely chopped carrots. It’s not quite juice at this stage; it’s more like a carrot slurry, which is tastier than it sounds.
Set the chopped carrots aside. Boil about 2 cups of water. Let the water cool slightly—you don’t want to cook the carrots! Pour the boiled water into the carrot slurry and let it steep for 5 – 10 minutes. It’s a bit like tea at this point.
Place a tea towel or cheesecloth into a mesh strainer and over a glass or pitcher. Pour the carrot tea into the towel or cheesecloth and let it drain naturally. Once it stops dripping, use the bottom of a clean glass or bowl to press the carrot mash down to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the carrots.
Serve your carrot juice over ice, unless you like mildly warm carrot juice.
What are the benefits of carrot juice?
The method of making carrot juice can have a small impact on the benefits you’ll receive, but it’s negligible. For the most part, all fresh carrot juice imparts about the same benefits.
One of the coolest things about carrot juice is its ability to boost your metabolism in a simple way. It doesn’t require more than sipping this delicious juice each morning to jumpstart your metabolism.
It’s a filling, nutritious, and low-calorie option for hectic mornings. Make your juice the night before and grab it from the fridge before you head off for work. It’ll keep you full for longer than other juices without added sugars or massive calories.
Carrot juice increases your metabolism by increasing bile secretion. I know that sounds gross, but bodies do some weird stuff. In this case, increased bile secretions help your body break down fats.
My 4th-grade science teacher swore up and down that eating carrots improved your vision. I always thought she was nuts. It turns out that excitable woman was actually correct.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene. That’s a fancy type of vitamin A, and vitamin A is a well-known boost for eye health. This neat vitamin protects the surface of the eye, which encourages stronger and clearer vision.
Lots of vitamin A also helps prevent cataracts. It may have a positive effect on macular degeneration and help prevent blindness, too. That’s pretty great because with healthy eyes you can truly appreciate a colorful glass of carrot juice for more than just its taste and health properties.
A lot of people don’t think much about their skin beyond slapping on some sunblock. But did you know that drinking fresh carrot juice can keep your skin healthy? It’s especially good for helping with skin issues such as psoriasis and chronic rashes.
Vitamin C is vital to skin health. As the largest organ of your body and the first line of defense against bacteria, infections, and injuries, you want to keep your skin supple and strong. Vitamin C helps your skin stay healthy by aiding in recovery from burns, abrasions, and other injuries.
The beta-carotene I mentioned before? It’s also great for your skin, not just your eyes! That magical vitamin can help reduce inflammation of the skin. That can drastically improve healing times after injuries or trauma.
Immune System Health
Oh, carrots. Is there anything you can’t do? Another amazing property of fresh carrot juice is the major immune system boost it provides. With more and more people running themselves ragged by busy lifestyles and unhealthy environments, we can use all the help we can get. It’s pretty cool that a simple glass of carrot juice can help prevent a host of issues from colds to the flu to fending off free radicals, cell damage, and a variety of inflammation problems.
Reduction in Cancer Risk
Cancer can kill you; that shouldn’t be a shocking revelation. Isn’t it nice to know that carrot juice can help reduce your chances of this devastating disease?
Antioxidants work to stop cell damage caused by cancer. Since carrots are loaded with antioxidants, it stands to reason that carrots and carrot juice would be a good addition to your cancer-fighting diet. Check out this study about carrots fighting leukemia.
One awful thing about modern life is the drastic increase in high cholesterol and the huge list of problems it can cause. When we go back to nature and keep things simple, cholesterol melts away. Carrot juice can help this process along in a tasty and cheerfully-colored way. With so much potassium, carrot juice can help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in your body.
Obviously, this won’t apply to our male readers personally, but if your partner is pregnant it’s good for you to know this fact, too. Carrot juice has been linked to a healthier, stronger pregnancy. That little bundle depends on Mom to provide everything he or she needs to grow strong and healthy. But it’s not just the baby who needs some help. Mom’s body is going through a lot of changes, and making an entire human being is hard work!
Give Mom and Baby a boost with fresh, organic carrot juice. The calcium will be a great help for developing baby bones and keeping Mom in good shape. Folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A are all building blocks of healthy humans. These nutrients help prevent birth defects, too.
Einstein would approve of a stronger brain and better cognitive function, so I think it’s safe to assume he’d approve of carrot juice. This stuff might as well be called brain juice for all the good it does for your gray matter.
Once again, it’s beta-carotene to the rescue. As if eye and skin health wasn’t enough, and its awesome baby-boosting properties during pregnancy, beta-carotene is also a badass warrior fighting age-related cognitive problems. That means dementia, folks.
I found this cool scientific entry about the positive effects of beta-carotene on workers exposed to lead. When given a 12-week treatment of 10 milligrams of beta-carotene, the workers showed less oxidative stress, which means less cognitive impairment and other health issues.
Does carrot juice have any side effects?
I’ve spent a great deal of time talking about the benefits of carrot juice and telling you how to make it, but I can’t ignore the potential side effects. As with all things, if you overdo the carrot juice, you could be setting yourself up for some problems.
We know that carrot juice is good for the skin, so it’s no surprise that an overabundance of carrot juice has a negative effect on the skin, too. Drink too much and you could be sporting a flashy new orange tone. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look like I fell into a bag of Cheetos.
There’s also the fiber issue. We all know that juicing removes the healthy fiber from fruits and veggies. Without adequate fiber, you won’t be able to poop. Yeah, I said it. If bathroom troubles are already a problem for you, you need to be careful about removing too much fiber from your diet. To remedy this and still get to drink your carrot juice, use the blender method above with a top-end blender that can liquefy everything. The fiber will still be in your juice!
A word on purple carrots
Before I disappear into a pitcher of carrot juice, I want to tell you a secret about purple carrots. I mentioned earlier that carrots weren’t naturally all orange and they came in a rainbow of colors. But did you know that purple carrots are special even amongst their rainbow brethren?
Like most purple veggies, purple carrots pack a huge punch of an antioxidant called anthocyanins. These brave fighters can protect your body from free radicals and oxidative stress. An increase in oxidative stress has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and mental decline.
I won’t get into all the details in this article, but suffice it to say, you should try a big glass of purple carrot juice. Not only will it look cool, but it’s going to give you even more protection from cancer and other scary issues than the bright orange variety. Plus, switching to purple carrot juice once or twice a month may help prevent that weird skin coloring issue I mentioned above.
Can you juice carrots without a juicer? Yes! You can use a blender, food processor, or hand grater to make carrot juice.
Can you juice carrot greens? Yes! Carrot greens are nutritious and can be easily juiced.
No matter what kind of equipment you have at home, you can make carrot juice. Heck, you can even use a hand grater and use the steeping method if you don’t have a juicer, blender, or food processor. Don’t let that stop you from trying this powerhouse of a juice!