When making fresh carrot juice at home, one of the first steps is washing and peeling the carrots. But is peeling absolutely necessary? What are the pros and cons of juicing carrots with or without the skin?
Why Peel Carrots for Juice?
There are a few reasons why peeling carrots is recommended for juicing:
- Aesthetics – The peel can give the juice an unappetizing brownish appearance.
- Taste – The skin can impart a bitter, earthy flavor.
- Texture – Tiny fragments of peel in the juice can give it a gritty, grainy consistency.
- Pesticides – Peeling removes surface pesticide residues if non-organic carrots are used.
- Digestibility – Some people find carrot peels hard to digest and may experience gas or bloating.
So for a more visually appealing, sweeter-tasting, smooth carrot juice, peeling is advised. However, there are also reasons one may choose not to peel carrots before juicing.
Why Not to Peel Carrots for Juice
Here are some benefits of juicing carrots unpeeled:
- Nutrition – Much of a carrot’s fiber and nutrients are concentrated in or near the skin. Peeling strips away vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Efficiency – Skipping peeling saves prep time.
- Waste Reduction – Not peeling reduces food waste since you use the whole vegetable.
- Cost Savings – Leaving the peel on means you get more juice per pound of carrots. Juice made from unpeeled carrots also requires fewer carrots for the same volume of juice.
Carrot skins provide significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and protective plant compounds. However, the peel does contain higher concentrations of pesticide residues.
Best Practices for Juicing Carrots
Here are some tips for getting the best results when juicing carrots:
- Use organic carrots when possible to avoid pesticides in the peel.
- Scrub carrots well before juicing to remove dirt and surface microbes.
- Peel carrots if the skins are cracked or damaged.
- For sweeter juice with less pulp, peel outer layer but leave thin layer of tender inner skin.
- Use a slow juicer rather than a centrifugal model to get more juice from carrot skins.
- Drink juice right after making it to preserve nutrients.
Potential Downsides of Juicing with Peels
Though nutritious, some downsides of including carrot peels in juice include:
- Gritty texture
- Bitter, earthy taste
- Can potentially cause gas or bloating if skins are hard to digest
- Higher pesticide residues if non-organic
- Unappetizing brown hue
Using a high-quality juicer can help minimize texture issues. But for some, peels may still cause digestive upset. Those with sensitive stomachs may fare better peeling carrots before juicing. Try both peeled and unpeeled to see what works best for you.
Carrot Peel Nutrition Facts
Here is how the nutrition content of carrot skins compares to the flesh:
|10.8 mg (18% DV)
|4.7 mg (8% DV)
|16.3 mcg (20% DV)
|10.3 mcg (13% DV)
|340 mg (9% DV)
|220 mg (6% DV)
*DV = Daily Value
Carrot peels provide substantially more vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and protective plant pigments like beta-carotene. The majority of a carrot’s nutrients are found within the skin and the layer just below it.
Making Carrot Juice With or Without Peels
When making fresh carrot juice at home, it’s a personal choice whether to peel the carrots or not. Here is a breakdown comparing the two methods:
Juicing Peeled Carrots
- Appealing bright orange color
- Mild, sweet flavor
- Smooth texture with no fiber pieces
- Lower nutrient content
- More prep work peeling
- Greater food waste from peels
Juicing Unpeeled Carrots
- Greater preservation of nutrients
- Saves prep time not peeling
- Reduces food waste
- Lower cost per volume of juice
- Grainier texture with fiber specks
- Duller orange hue
- Stronger earthy, bitter flavor
- Potential for digestive issues
Which method you choose depends on your priorities – prep time, food waste, nutrition content, taste preferences, and digestive tolerance should all be considered when deciding to peel carrots or not for juicing.
Tips for Improving Carrot Juice from Unpeeled Carrots
If you want to maximize nutrition by juicing unpeeled carrots but find the texture unpleasant or flavor too strong, here are some tips:
- Use organic carrots – Avoid pesticide residue in the peel
- Scrub well before juicing – Removes dirt and microbes
- Mix with sweeter juices – Apple, orange, pineapple dilute bitterness
- Add lemon, ginger or mint – Masks earthy taste
- Strain after juicing – Separates out fiber pieces
- Drink immediately – Prevents oxidation and color changes
Combining unpeeled carrot juice with other produce is an easy way make it more palatable. You can also peel just the outer layer and leave some skin for partial nutrient preservation.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to juicing carrots, to peel or not to peel comes down to a cost-benefit analysis:
Peeling pros: better taste and appearance, smoother texture, possible better digestion
Peeling cons: lower nutrition, more prep work, greater food waste
Not peeling pros: greater nutrient retention, less prep, reduced waste
Not peeling cons: gritty texture, bitter taste, potential digestive issues
Ideally, use organic carrots and scrub them well before juicing. If texture and taste are barriers, try mixing unpeeled carrot juice with sweeter juices or straining out pulp. While peeling does sacrifice some nutrition, the most important thing is enjoying this healthy homemade juice!