Everything you'll ever need to know about juicing carrots, from the different varities to tips to the best juicers to use.
Carrots are probably the most popular vegetable to juice, and for good reason. They are very healthy, the juice is naturally sweet, and you can get a lot of juice from the right carrots. But which carrots should you choose? What are some ways to maximize yield? And which juicer type is the most effective? We'll take a look at that in this article.
How to choose the best carrots
Carrots actually come in a variety of colors beyond the standard orange. Some of the colors can be hard to find, but it's worth seeking them out. Here's a quick rundown of the various colors:
- White carrots: Probably the least nutrient dense carrot, white carrots still have valuable phytochemnicals. They have a very mild, some say boring, taste.
- Golden carrots: These contain lutein, which is sort of a sunblock for the eyes. They have a sweet mellow flavor, with a hint of earthiness.
- Orange carrots: Rich in beta carotene which converts to Vitamin A in the body. Very sweet and juicy, with a higher sugar content.
- Purple carrots: Along with beta carotene, these are high in the antioxidant anthocyanin. They have a very earthy and sometimes slightly spicy flavor.
The best carrots are the ones you grow yourself, but not everyone has the time or space to grow them. Plus it would take a lot of space to grow enough carrots for regular juicing. Otherwise, try for organic carrots if possible. This way you can be assured that they are pesticide-free which gives you the option to juice the nutrient-rich greens as well.
In non-organic stores, avoid carrots with the greens still on. They may look attractive, but they aren't optimal for juicing because the capillary action of the carrot continues transferring water from the root to the leaves even after it has been picked, resulting in a softer and less juicy carrot. They are also expensive for what you get, and tend to be slimmer.
Look for the firmest possible carrots possible. Check the top of the carrot, and look for a green top instead of brown or black. If possible, flex the lower portion of the carrot. The firmer, the better. Thicker carrots are preferred, even if it means more preparation, because the juice of the carrot is concentrated in the core. A thicker carrot will have a higher ratio of juice to pulp, with a higher juice yield per kilogram. The juice will aslo be sweeter, as the natural sugars are more concentrated in the core.
How to prepare carrots for the best juicing results
To peel, or not to peel? This is the biggest question when juicing carrots. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Because the peel of the carrot contains a proportionally higher concentration of nutrients, unpeeled carrots will produce a healthier juice. Also, by not peeling, there is more carrot and thus more juice per carrot. On the other hand, most carrots have been treated with pesticides. While these are concentrated in the leaves, some will seep through the ground to the skin of the carrot, especially near the carrot top (except with organic carrots). These carrots must be thoroughly scrubbed, and the tops removed, to ensure no contact with pesticide residues. You can use a scrubby sponge dedicated for that purpose (don't use the same sponge as the one for washing dishes!) You can also buy a specialized vegetable brush like this, or even gloves designed for that purpose. Another thing to keep in mind is that the carrot skin is a bit bitter. Peeled carrots will produce a sweeter juice.
Carrots can stay fresh for several months if properly stored. If your carrots still have the tops, make sure to remove them as they will suck the moisture out of the carrot. The best way to keep carrots fresh is to store them in a shallow container of water in a fridge. Just change the water every few days. If you don't have the space or desire to do than, keeping them in the vegetable crisper drawer of the fridge in a open plastic bag will allow them to stay fresh for several weeks.
While rubbery carrots cannot be juiced, if your carrots are a bit soft they can be revitalized a little by soaking them in a water bath for at least an hour before juicing. Cut off the top of the carrot before putting them in the water to help them absorb it better.
Different juicer types with carrots
There are four major types of juicers on the market. We've tested carrots with each type, and list the pros of cons of each.
Centrifugal juicers are the most common juicers out there, and can be purchased anywhere from electronic stores to grocery stores. They are the cheapest juicer type, and operate by shredding produce at high speeds like a blender and spinning them to extract the juice. Unfortunately, the high speed shredding does tend to heat and oxidize juice, so it should be consumed as quickly as possible. Carrots work surprisingly well in a centrifugal juicer, producing a good yield. However, the juice tends to be more watery and can separate into two layers - a clear layer below and a concentrated pulpy orange layer on the top. The juice must be consumed right away before browning oxidation can occur, unlike the other juicer types which process produce at slow speeds. If you don't mind the taste, adding half a lemon or lime will significantly reduce the oxidation.
Cheapest juicer type by far
Watery and pulpy juice
More difficult to clean, due to the large juicing screen
Oxidation will occur if the juice isn't consumed right away
Loud machine, similar to a blender
We recommend the Vidia CJ-001, which is built in South Korea (home of the highest-quality juicers) instead of China.
Single auger vertical
Single auger juicers are juicing specialists, compared to the jack-of-all-trades horizontal juicer. As a result, they make good quality juice from carrots with an impressively high yield. When prepared properly, carrots are self feeding in this type of juicer as it slices of bits of the carrot automatically and feeds it into the juicing chamber. However, verticals tend to jam easily on hard produce like carrots or beets, so make sure to cut your carrots into smaller pieces and feed them slowly. It's best to hold longer carrots and let the juicer take small bites out of them. Cleaning a vertical is relatively fast - about 3 minutes after juicing carrots depending on the juicer.
High yield of juice
Good juice quality
Relatively easy to clean
Self-feeding - no pusher requried
The auger will jam if carrots fed too fast
Carrots need to be cut into smaller slices
Single auger horizontal
Single auger juicers are the most versatile juicer type, with the ability to do more than just make juice. But how do they perform on carrots? For the most part, these are good machines for carrots. The biggest downside is that the yield tends to be lower with a horizontoal single auger juicer. From a kilogram of carrots, we you can expect to get approximately 450 ml of juice, depending on the quality (freshness and thickness) of the carrot. Compare this to around 500 ml for a vertical single auger and centrifugal, and up to 700 ml for a twin gear. On the other hand, a quality horizontal juicer doesn't require the carrots to be cut or fed slowly as is needed in verticals. They are tough and durable machines which will handle the bigget carrots without jamming. Juicing is fast, and the juice quality is excellent. In addition, horizontal juicers are the easiest to to clean. The Sana 707 pictured can be cleaned in about 2 minutes.
Easy to use
Can take large carrots without cutting
The easiest juicer type to clean
Great quality juice from carrots
Lower yield than other types of juicers
Twin gear juicers
Twin gear juicers will give the absolute highest yield of carrot juice - as much as 50% more than other juicer types. This is because the fine tolerances between the counter-rotating gears crush carrots more effectively and squeeze out the maximum juice possible. So what's not to like? Actually there are a few drawbacks. First of all, twin gear juicers are very expensive compared to other juicer types, as much as three times the price. If you make a lot of juice you can eventually recoup the extra cost due to the higher yield and subsequent cost savings when buying carrots. But it will take a long time since carrots are relatively inexpensive. Also, a lot of physical effort is required when using a twin gear, as the gears don't take big bites out of the carrot as with a single auger juicer.
Highest juice yield by far
Excellent juice quality
Long-term cost savings due to less produce required
Most expensive type of juicer
High effort to use
Relatively long time to clean
The Angel 5500 is Angel's lowest priced juicer, and may be the best juicer on the market in terms of yield.