Using the Whole Carrot

Last summer I bought a juicer, with the intent of juicing our backyard harvest of grapes that are too small and full of seeds to eat whole, as well as the fruit from our two apple trees. Alas, the apple trees suffered from a fungus that rendered most of the apples inedible. We did, however have a bountiful supply of grapes, thanks to the unusually warm spring and early summer. I have a  feeling the 2016 harvest won't be as plentiful. The grape vines do look healthy, though.  

 The grape vines are growing well.

The grape vines are growing well.

Once the grape season was over, I needed to justify the space the juicer was taking up in my kitchen, so I started buying 10-pound bags of carrots to juice. Carrot juice is really delicious. But I noticed that the juicer produced a large quantity of pulp. At first I discarded the pulp in the compost bin, but then I thought, I bet I can find a use for it.

I went to my cookbook shelf and found a relic of the 1990s, a low fat desserts cookbook. I don’t really use it, since for the most part it glorifies low fat, high sugar desserts as healthier than the traditional versions they are replacing. But there was a recipe for carrot cake. I made some significant changes.

First of all, if I was to use the carrot pulp, I needed to replace the liquid that would have been contained in the shredded carrots the recipe called for. I measured the volume of carrot juice and the volume of pulp my juicer had produced and calculated how much pulp to use in the cake and how much liquid to add. I replaced the egg whites in the recipe with whole eggs – they are much more nutritious, and don’t contribute to raising cholesterol, which was something people were worried about years ago. I also added lemon juice. Here’s the resulting recipe:

Carrot Bundt Cake

  • 2-1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/3 cups carrot pulp
  • 1 8-ounce can unsweetened crush pineapple, undrained
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  1. Stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  2. Combine the eggs, canola oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract and blend using an electric mixer.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, lemon juice, and water, and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are mixed well, one to two minutes. Add the carrot pulp and pineapple and mix for another 30 seconds or so. Stir in the almonds.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pan. 
 Cake made from carrot pulp.

Cake made from carrot pulp.

The cake is good, but I don’t always want to be making dessert. What I do more often is make carrot patties from the pulp. I suppose they could be called veggie burgers. I don’t follow a recipe, so they are different every time. The basic concept is to combine the carrot pulp with egg (about one egg per cup of pulp), bread crumbs (about 1/3 cup per cup of pulp), and seasonings until the texture looks right. Then form into patties and cook on a hot, oiled griddle for several minutes per side. I like to combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt for a delicious savory patty that pairs perfectly with guacamole, but the possibilities for seasoning are endless.

 Cooking up the carrot patties.

Cooking up the carrot patties.

So from a batch of carrots I can enjoy juice, veggie patties, and cake. But juicing carrots is a very inefficient process.  Fifteen carrots makes about 16 ounces of juice and over a quart of pulp, and the process takes about half an hour. The most efficient use of the whole carrot is to just scrub it and eat it raw.