It's February, and it's cold. It's been cold for months. It's also dark.
I love winter, I really do. In August, when it's 95 and humid, I dream of hibernating in a hoodie, under a blanket with a book and a hot toddy, during a snow storm. Bourbon and hoodies make for a dreamboat of an evening.
However, by February, getting through the long northern Vermont winters can be hard, even with all the hot toddies in the world. Cabin fever sets in and I feel itchy for movement, bike rides, and swimming. I find that Vitamin D supplements help. Sunshine in a capsule. Getting outside on a sunny afternoon also helps, no matter how cold it is. Get me in the woods and breathe in some cold woodsy air. All my grumbling disappears. I just need to be smacked in the face with how beautiful my home is.
And juice. Because juice is really what I think has been keeping me a (mostly) happy camper this winter. Everyone, their best friend, and their mother, is juice happy lately. And for good reason! The world is just shades of grey and beige... the sky, the ground, and my food. And not those shades of grey, ahem. All I want is fresh berries and giant salads full of color and crispness. Roasted root vegetables be damned. However, have I mentioned that I live in Vermont? And that the ground is frozen? Right now, berries and red peppers taste mostly like water and are crazy expensive. Enter, juicing. Juice is full of raw fruits and vegetables. And it's full of color. Hello, summertime in a glass!
When I first started making juices last winter I followed strict recipes. It helped me figure out what produce and proportions combine well. Now, I just throw whatever I have languishing from my CSA in a juicer and cross my fingers. If you want a great book of juice recipes, get your hands on the Blueprint Cleanse. Ignore the subtitle, it's annoying. The cleanse itself is great, if you're into that kind of thing. I've done it a couple of times, and I love it. It's not for everyone, though. But, throwing a random juice into your week is for everyone (for realz), so let's drink some carrots!
My favorite juice lately has been Carrot Orange Ginger. It's spicy. It's bright orange. It feels like I'm drinking straight health. I can imagine the flu just running away from my body. Also, it's delicious. You'll need two to three carrots, half a lemon, one orange, and about an inch of ginger. Don't peel the carrots - there's good stuff for you in that skin! Do make sure to peel the citrus of the skin and pith. Leaving those on would make your juice bitter. No one wants that. I find all juices improve with a bit of lemon or lime. They help balance out the sweetness of something like a carrot and the greenness of something like parsley or kale. The ginger provides a little kick. Bam!
Chop up all your ingredients so they'll fit into your juicer. Juice 'em up. If you have a super cheap juicer like me, you'll have to run it through at least twice. Serve it up. Drink it down. Pat yourself on the back for eating your vegetables like your mother told you to. You're doing good things for yourself by drinking something this orange. In fact, it totally cancels out that cold piece of leftover pizza you just ate while making the juice. Oops. Now, get outside and play in the snow.
Carrot Orange Ginger Juice
makes about 8oz
1 juice orange, peeled1/2 lemon, peeled
1 inch ginger
Chop it all up to fit in your juicer. Run it through your juicer one or two times until the pulp feels dry to the touch. Serve immediately.
...cards against humanity and cocktails with friends from out of town also help de-funkify a deep winter funk, because drinking carrots is not what saturday nights are made for.