Do You Need to Peel Carrots Before Juicing? (Complete Guide)
Should you peel carrots before juicing? It’s entirely a personal preference. There are no nutritional or practical considerations to worry about. Juicing peeled carrots will produce a different taste than unpeeled carrots, but both have their place, depending on what you’re going for. In this short guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the pros and cons of peeling your carrots before juicing.
Many people like to peel their vegetables due to concerns over residual pesticides lingering on their food. If you generally buy organic vegetables, this isn’t a concern, but even non-organic carrots don’t have to be peeled to be safe to eat.
Carrots are root vegetables, and therefore unpeeled carrots will have an earthier, bitter taste to them compared to peeled carrots. Washing your carrots is essential before you juice them, even if you’re going to peel them eventually. Use a vegetable brush to vigorously scrub them under running water to remove any dirt left on the skin.
What about nutrition?
Some vegetables – most notably potatoes – have most of their nutritional value concentrated in the peel. Peeling potatoes removes many of the vitamins, leaving you with a less healthy version. Carrots have their vitamins spread evenly throughout the entire vegetable, so peeling them doesn’t significantly change their nutritional content.
Unpeeled carrots are more bitter than peeled carrots and have a hint of dirt taste to them. Despite how that might sound, unpeeled carrots can be used in juice without ruining the flavor. Some recipes that have many ingredients taste almost identical whether you use peeled or unpeeled carrots.
Peeled carrots are not bitter and make much sweeter juice than unpeeled ones. We prefer to use peeled carrots in our juices, but we also tend to prefer recipes that use only a small number of ingredients.
Texture also plays an important role in how something tastes. Carrot juice changes texture drastically when you peel the carrots before juicing. Peeled carrots produce a smoother, more homogenous juice, whereas unpeeled carrots make a juice with a rougher, grittier mouthfeel.
If the presentation is important to you, you might consider only using peeled carrots since unpeeled carrots will give your juice a brownish hue that some might find unappealing. Peeled carrot juice is bright orange by contrast and looks vibrant and welcoming in a glass.
Preparing carrots for juicing
Whether you peel your carrots or not, there are a few steps you should take before you fire up the juicer. Washing your carrots thoroughly with a hard brush is always the first step to preparing them for juicing. A helpful tip is to soak your carrots for about 10 minutes before you scrub them. This softens them up and helps dislodge any dirt that might be stuck to the peel.
You should also cut off both ends of the carrot since these parts can be hard and don’t juice well. Depending on what size and strength juicer you have, you might have to chop the carrots into smaller pieces to make it easier for your juicer to handle. We recommend testing chopped and unchopped carrots in your juicer to find what works best.
The primary reason people ask if they have to peel carrots before juicing is that peeling carrots is a pain – literally if you aren’t careful. We often opt for unpeeled carrots out of pure laziness, but the good news is, with practice, you can perfect your technique and greatly increase your peeling speed.
If you’ve ever seen a professional chef peel carrot on a cooking show, you’ve probably watched with awe – and jealousy – as they effortlessly peeled at lightning speed. The secret is in the technique.
Start by holding your carrot at the wide end with the tip touching a cutting board. Now tilt the carrot at a 45º angle. The trick is to use both a downward and upward stroke to peel the carrot, rotating it as you go and effectively doubling your peeling speed. Start at the top and peel downward towards the cutting board. When you get to the bottom, turn the carrot slightly and peel upward towards your hand. Be careful going in this direction not to peel your finger accidentally – we may or may not be speaking from experience.
Whether or not you peel carrots before you juice them is entirely up to you. Try it both ways and see which you like better. Peeled and unpeeled characters are equally safe and nutritious but taste very different. Our recommendation is to use peeled carrots in simple juices with few ingredients and unpeeled carrots in complex juices with many intermingling flavors.
Featured Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay