Fresh carrot juice is made from freshly squeezed (juiced) carrots. You can mix it with other juices, drink it pure, or use it in place of water in many recipes. The color of carrot juice comes from the beta-carotene, which is found in particularly high concentrations in carrots.
Freshly squeezed carrot juice tastes good pure or in combination with other vegetable and fruit juices. You can add it to smoothies or use it to make delicious shakes. It can also be used in place of water in recipes that would benefit from carrot juice’s color and flavor. You can add carrot juice to soups, risottos, bread doughs, aspics, and other dishes.
Since vegetables have a firmer structure and lower water content than fruits, it works best to use a juicer to make vegetable juice. Before juicing, wash the vegetables well and cut into medium-size pieces. Juice all of the vegetables, catching the juice in a container under the juicer. Since the nutrients are sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen upon contact with air, the juice should either be drunk immediately or frozen.2
Making vegetable juice at home is an alternative to buying commercial juices, and may augment diets low in vegetables and fruits. The juicer separates juice from pulp fibers. Masticating juicers employ a slow-geared grinding mechanism. A cheaper and faster alternative uses centrifugal force to achieve separation. The slower speed of the masticating process is held to protect the vegetables from oxidation and heat (from friction), reducing nutrient breakdown. Advocates of masticating juicers often cite the preservation of enzymes, though these are rarely specified and the claims are unsubstantiated by a body of academic support. Juicing the fine leaves of wheatgrass usually requires a masticating process.1
Carrots are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6, but are most well known for the amount of carotene they contain (primarily α-carotene and β-carotene (provitamin A). In fact, of all the vegetables the highest amounts of carotene are found in carrots. Depending on the variety and cultivation conditions, 100 g of fresh carrots contain between 5 and 30 mg of carotene. Carrots owe their delicious flavor to the sugar, essential oils, and fruit acids they contain. Concerning the latter, carrots contain primarily malic acid, folllowed by citric acid, quinic acid, succinic acid, and fumaric acid.2
A large portion of the dietary fiber is removed when vegetables are juiced, and this means that large amounts of vitamins can be absorbed relatively quickly (e.g., β-carotene in the case of carrot juice). It would take much longer to consume the same amount of vegetables in their unjuiced state. Consuming excessive amounts of β-carotene can lead to a reversible yellow coloring of the skin that does not require treatment (carotenemia, carotenoderma); however, this symptom can also occur if you eat large amounts of unjuiced fruits and vegetables. There is no danger of a (considerably more dangerous) vitamin A overdose.2 Vitamin A synthesis always depends on need, which means that a very high carotenoid intake (e.g., from carrot juice) cannot lead to vitamin A intoxication.3
Incidentally, α- and β-carotene are among the most important carotenoids, and they have been shown to have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. Approximately 10 % of the carotenoids have provitamin A characteristics, whereby β-carotene possesses the highest level of vitamin A activity. Carotenoid resorption is between 2 and 50 %. However, the bioavailability of carotenoids in coarsely chopped carrots is very low. It increases significantly when carrots are mashed and chewed well. Gentle heating and adding fat can further increase bioavailability.3
Vegetable juice is a juice drink made primarily of blended vegetables and also available in the form of powders. Vegetable juice is often mixed with fruits such as apples or grapes to improve flavor. It is often touted as a low-sugar alternative to fruit juice, although some commercial brands of vegetable juices use fruit juices as sweeteners, and may contain large amounts of sodium.1
Commercially available vegetable juice is usually prepared as follows. The vegetables are chopped, pressed, centrifuged, and filtered. The juice is then preserved by means of pasteurization or sterilization or a combination of the two. Vegetable juices contain additional additives such as bentonite (as a fining agent), amylases and pectinases (to break down the cell walls during the pressing process), edible gelatine (to adjust the viscosity), calcium carbonate, citric acid (up to a weight per mille), and vitamin C (to stabilise and preserve).2 Processing aids (such as bentonite or gelatine for fining) can be added without declaration, but citric acid and ascorbic acid that serve as preservatives or thickeners do have to be declared.)
Just like with fruit juice, vegetable juice and vegetable pulp concentrate can be produced by thickening the juice. This saves on storage and transport costs. To make the juice, the amount of water originally extracted is then added again. It is important that the water used is of good quality. If necessary, the aroma of the vegetable juice is restored with the aid of the volatile flavoring substances that were collected when the vegetable juice was thickened. If a juice was concentrated during the production process, this must be included on the label (e.g., from ... concentrate.)2