“Juice” has adopted somewhat of a flexible definition by grocery store standards.
A lot of the bottled stuff you find in stores that’s marketed as healthy, really isn’t that far off from sugary sodas– nutritionally speaking. Even when they do contain real fruit juice, the methods used to keep it shelf stable can negate the beneficial properties of the fruit that smiles at you from the label.
Fresh juice on the other hand–from fruits and vegetables that were visible to you in their whole form just moments before you took that first sip–are great for detoxing and delivering a day’s worth of vitamins and minerals in a few refreshing gulps.
I stumbled across a decent quality juicer at a yard sale a while back and quickly picked up the practice of produce alchemy. It’s sort of amazing to hold a cucumber in your hand, and exactly 6 seconds later be drinking it through a straw. Kitchen technology at its finest.
But one thing I hated was throwing out all that pulp as soon as I satisfied my greedy juice slurping desires. I mean, I composted it so I didn’t feel too guilty, but I felt like pulp deserved better than that–to be tossed aside while juice got all of the attention.
So I started saving the fibrous remnants of my juicing adventures, and since I didn’t exactly have a plan in place for them, they went to live in the dark recesses of my freezer. Until one day, the container threatened to burst at the seams, and I decided I would turn the forgotten plant remains into some serious high-fiber crackers.
And since juice pulp crackers apparently weren’t healthy enough as an “original recipe” flavor, I punched up their health-giving power with a spoonful of turmeric, aka the miracle in your spice cabinet.
Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compound found in turmeric is most effectively used by the body when it’s paired with black pepper. One study showed that the alkaloid in the pepper boosted the availability of curcumin in turmeric by 2,000 percent. (source) So, naturally, a few healthy grinds of the pepper mill got added in as well.
You’ll want to send your juice pulp through the food processor to really break up all those fibers. Next, you’ll need something pasty to keep everyone together in a cohesive cracker unit, I chose tahini (sesame seed paste) but feel free to drop in a dollop of your preferred nut/seed butter.
Depending on how efficient your juicer is, you’ll need to add anywhere from a tablespoon or 1/4 cup of water. Start low and see how much you need. I also threw in some hemp seeds for an extra crunch, and some minced garlic + chili powder because, yum. If you juice mainly veggies, a little bit of honey helps sweeten the dough up a bit.
Your dough should be malleable, but still able to hold its form. You’ll drop it into the middle of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then start flattening it into a thin layer. Channel your formative play-dough sculpting days for this one.
A good cheat is to cover the flattened dough with another sheet of parchment paper, and then press down using a slightly smaller baking sheet. That helps to get a uniform thickness. If anything, you’ll want the inside crackers to be slightly thinner than the outside, since they’ll bake up slower inside the oven.
Next, score the sheet of dough using a cutting tool like a knife (adequate) or pizza cutter (more fun). Pop the sheet into a 350 degree oven for about half an hour. After that, you can sort of shimmy the sheet of crackers off the baking pan by holding both sides of the parchment paper, and let them go for another 10-15 minutes directly on the oven rack–ensuring that they get cooked on the underside as well.
Then, voila! Juice pulp crackers!
I served my last batch up with a dip that was sort of an afterthought for this recipe, but ended up being an integral part of the photos. (Juice pulp crackers may not take the prize for most beautiful food photography subject matter.)
Regardless, ’twas a tasty combination. Beets and sunchokes get roasted, and then blended together with creamy coconut milk and a few spices. It’s sweet and earthy, and it certainly requires a vehicle for scooping.
And it really helped to round out my no-juice pulp left behind initiative.
- 1.5 cups juice pulp
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- cracked black pepper
- 2.5 tbs tahini (or other nut butter)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbs hemp seeds, or other seed
- drizzle of olive oil
- 1 tbs grated parmesean (optional)
- 1 cup roasted beets
- 1 cup roasted sunchokes
- coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- salt, pepper
- Roast beets and sunchokes with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove, and reduce oven to 350.
- For the crackers: While vegetables roast, add all cracker ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth, adding water as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. You should have a "dough" that you can form into a ball.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread pulp mixture evenly, forming a rectangle. I like to spread it out with my hands, then cover with another sheet of parchment paper, and press down on the top with a smaller baking sheet to get an even distribution. You want the cracker to be quite thin. Make scores in cracker dough with a pizza cutter or knife.
- Add crackers to oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the baking sheet, take the parchment paper by both ends and transfer directly to the oven rack. This allows crackers to crisp up on the bottom. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes.
- While crackers bake, add roasted beets, sunchokes, and seasonings to a food processor. Add coconut milk and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Remove crackers from oven when they begin to brown and feel cooked through. Break or cut into individual crackers and serve with dip.
The crackers are best eaten straight away, while they are still crunchy. If you have leftover crackers that have lost their crunch, warm them up under your oven's low broiler for a few minutes.
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.