In most homes, OJ sees the light of day just once every 24 hours. That’s a shame, because 100% orange juice dishes out worthwhile vitamins and minerals (and also contains zero saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium or added sugar). Some nutritional highlights: Orange juice is crammed with vitamin C, an important antioxidant that helps support a healthy immune system, along with potassium, which plays an important role in muscle function and may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The juice also delivers folate, essential for healthy red blood cells, and vitamin B6, which helps the body process energy from food.
Here are 10 fun ways to wake up your juice routine, and not just at sunrise.
1. Marinades: Instead of traditional wine- or vinegar-based marinades, try OJ; the acid tenderizes meat, fish, poultry and pork. Mix the juice with different seasonings, such as garlic, oregano, thyme, basil and pepper. For an Asian-style marinade, mix the juice with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and cilantro.
2. Salad Dressings and Vinaigrettes: Replace all but 1 tablespoon of oil with orange juice in your favorite dressing and vinaigrette recipes (and don’t forget to add grated orange peel, too).
3. Ice Pops: Make frozen treats sans added sugar and preservatives; simply pour the juice into your favorite freezer-pop molds. For a creamy version, combine equal parts orange juice and vanilla yogurt. (For a very berry top, add berries to the bottom of the molds before adding juice.)
4. Smoothies: Create dairy-free smoothies by combining fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) with orange juice instead of milk or yogurt.
5. Ice Cubes: Make flavorful ice by filling ice cube trays with orange juice instead of water. Add the cubes to sangria, fruit punch or hot or cold tea. Bonus: You can use the cubes in your favorite fruit smoothies without diluting the puree.
6. Sauces: Use orange juice to deglaze pans that you’ve used to pan-sear chicken, pork, seafood, shellfish and steak. The juice picks up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and creates a fabulous braising liquid.
7. Fruit toppping: Combine sliced strawberries and orange juice and let sit for 30 minutes (or overnight in the fridge). Spoon berries and juice over sliced angel food cake, frozen yogurt, pancakes and waffles.
8. Cakes and Quick Breads: Use orange juice in place of water and/or milk in your favorite cake and quick bread recipes.
9. Citrus Glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar and orange juice (instead of milk or water) and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over your favorite quick breads, muffins, angel food cake and challah bread.
10. Not-Beer-Can Chicken: Instead of using a can of beer, insert a can of OJ into the cavity of the chicken before cooking on the grill. The orange juice flavors the entire chicken because, as the juice heats up, it creates a citrus steam that permeates the chicken from the inside out.
Robin Miller is host of Quick Fix Meals, a nutritionist and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families.” She is the busy mom of two active boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinmillercooks.com.