Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Freezing Carrot Juice, Bananas and Making Vegetable Flours



If you remember my post of two days ago, (click here for that) I talked about my blessings from the food bank in getting two cases of carrots. I want to share several other ways we use the carrots that may not be as common as the roast and soup uses I posted about this week. One great use is to juice them. Carrot juice is one of the best things you can take to keep away illness. If you throw an apple in the juice as well, it is at the top of the list. I don't always have a large amount of fresh carrots to juice so one way I have found to keep fresh carrot juice available is to freeze it.


I take the carrots and wash them well or if in doubt, I peel them. If I want to use the carrot pulp from the juicer, then I peel them. As I did want to use the pulp to make carrot flour, I peeled them. As I peel them, they get brown if they sit for long so I keep them in a bowl of cold water after peeling and washing them until I get to using them.

Next, I use the juicer and juice the carrots. Sometimes, I will run the pulp through the juicer again making even more juice if I am going to dry the pulp as it helps it dry more quickly as well.



I then take the juice and pour it into ice cube trays or put the juice into the mini Tupperware containers which would be a single use. After the ice cubes freeze in the trays, I pop them out and put them into a Ziploc bag to keep them fresher longer. Notice the beautiful vibrant color of the carrot ice cubes in the top photo. I feel healthier just looking at them. Here is a video of that but it will take you from this page so click AFTER reading the post.



I let a cube thaw in my cup with a bit of water and drink the juice as I enjoy the flavor. My girls, however, don't like the flavor of carrot juice so in order for them to get the benefits of the juice, I make a fruit smoothie most nights for dinner. It curbs their need for "dessert" and it is helping me clean out the freezer of some of the fruit I have frozen that are on the older end of their freezer life. It also adds fiber to their diet. As you can see by my posts, I do lots with fruit in the fall so I have a freezer FULL of fruits. We don't like canned fruit so we either dry it or freeze it. I do much of both. The girls can't tell that there is any carrot in the juice and they always finish their glass.

The second thing I do, is to use the pulp. Once the carrot juice is taken care of and in the freezer, I then take the clean pulp out of the juicer container and do one of three things. The first thing I do with the pulp is to freeze the pulp to use in the girls smoothies. I drink the carrot juice ice cubes but they can get the benefit of the carrot and fiber from the carrot through the pulp. In the smoothie with the other fruit, they can't tell it is even in there. If I threw a whole carrot in there, the pieces would make it chunky and they wouldn't like it. But, because the carrots have been through the juicer, the pulp is so small, it is smaller than orange juice pulp.

The next thing I do is to dehydrate the pulp for use in my rice cooker to add texture, color and flavor to my rice. To do that, I take the clean pulp, since it was peeled and washed before juicing, and made little wafers out of them and dehydrate them. Once they are dry, I put them in a Tupperware. When I want to add it to my rice, I just grab a cake and crush. It gives little carrot orange flecks to the rice. These will also work in soup to add texture and thicken a soup making it more like a stew. Because they were dried soon after peeling and going through the juicer, the color is vibrant and adds a nice color to whatever you use it in. The picture shows the dried carrot patties and some other mixed veggie patties. I like the mixed vegetables patties in the rice for flavor.

The last use is to dehydrate it so I can make carrot flour. I take the little carrot patties and put them in my Vita mix or into my coffee grinder. I turn it on until I have a nice smooth flour. This can be added to pancakes with pumpkin flour to make them more orange and give it a bit of sweetness as carrots are quite sweet. Pumpkin flour is more of an off white in color so carrot flour can enhance the color. It is also great for use in a cream based soup similar to the carrot/squash soup I made for the wedding. (Click here to view that post) It would save lots of time boiling the carrots down. If you pour it in and stir, it thickens like a flour would. There are no lumps and really saves on cooking time. You can just use it in any soup to thicken or add color. I use it to thicken soups or sauces. I posted pictures of some mushroom flour and some greens as flour. Here I am showing that process in a video. This will take you from this page so watch it AFTER you finish reading.


The food bank also had a case of bananas that someone had placed in the large fridge. If you have ever done that, you know that bananas turn black in the fridge. The peel does anyway. The inside is just fine but try to get anyone to eat a banana with a black peel. It doesn't work very well.


When that has happened, I have just peeled the bananas and frozen them. If you want to use the bananas for deserts like chocolate dipping them on a stick frozen, you can just lay them side by side in a Ziploc bag and freeze or you can lay them side by side on a cookie sheet until they are frozen and then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag. If they are mushy or old banana's, I crush them with a fork and put them in a glass jar, or a Tupperware container. I can add banana's as they come at any point. The top bananas may turn black and you think perhaps they have gone bad, but, just scrape the top layer off and the banana's under that black layer are just fine. It is like when you cut a banana in half and leave it on the counter. The top goes black, you cut it off and the rest of the banana is fine.


video


I add one of these bananas to our fruit smoothie nightly. I NEVER use ice in our smoothies. I use frozen grapes, blueberries, bananas and peaches. I then almost always add a fresh apple or orange. I usually use the oldest one's that the girls may not pick. If an orange has been in the bottom of the fruit basket and is getting a bit old, or the same with an apple, I just cut it up and put it in. This way the ripest fruit is always available for eating and the old fruit gets rotated out but used.


If you like a "smooth" dairy flavor like taste, add yogurt. I get yogurt sometimes when the food bank has an overage. They don't want to throw it out or have it go to the pigs so I take and freeze it. This is why I don't use ice. I use the frozen yogurts and fruit which is the ice. I do have to add a bit of water to get it to blend sometimes but the girls enjoy it. I try to use the Greek yogurt that is high in protein and plain flavor which has less sugar as the fruit has plenty of that. Here is a video of the way I freeze bananas.

I hope you are able to try some of these things. If you "Put it out there" that you want more of something, have faith it will come. I wanted more carrots as my freezer was almost out, and I got two cases. This happens daily in my life. Trust in your Father in Heaven to give you your WANTS as well as your NEEDS and he will come through for you.

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