By Pat Crocker

Cooking with fresh homemade juice is a flavorful way to reduce calories and fat in recipes and add sweet or tart tones to vegetables, beans, meat, and fish dishes. Cooking with juice isn’t better than drinking fresh, raw juice (or eating fresh, raw fruits or vegetables).

Some of the B vitamins and vitamin C will be lost during cooking, but many of the other antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients will survive the heat, just as they do when you cook fruits or vegetables. And using juice in place of butter or olive oil as a marinade, sauce, poaching liquid, or glaze certainly scores higher for nutrients.

So, plan to make more pure juice than you need and freeze it to use in soups or stews or as a cooking liquid for vegetables, fish, or chicken. It’s delicious and fits nicely into your healthy way of eating.

Sauces and glazes

Use citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, or a mixture of these) or pomegranate juice as a tart glaze in a stir-fry. Add the juice to the wok and boil it down over high heat until it’s slightly thick and syrupy. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently for 5 to 10 minutes or until a knife pierces them easily.

Apple or orange juice makes a sweet, moist poaching liquid for cooking pork, fish, or chicken. In a skillet or saucepan, bring about 1 cup (enough to come halfway up the meat) of apple or another fruit juice to a simmer. Add the chops, fish, or chicken; cover; reduce the heat; and gently simmer, turning occasionally until the pork is tender and a meat thermometer reads 176 degrees or until the chicken or fish is opaque and the juices run clear.

To make a marinade with juice, chop three green onions and combine with 1 cup of orange juice (or a mixture of orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit juice) with 3 tablespoons soy sauce. Marinate chicken or fish in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight. Turn the meat occasionally. The amount of marinade may be doubled (or tripled) depending on the amount of meat.

You can make a tangy vinaigrette by combining 1/2 cup of orange, kiwi, or pomegranate juice with 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar and 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil. Mix well and toss with cooked whole grains or raw greens.

Pasta and rice

Make a tangy pasta or rice dressing by combining 1/3 cup fresh orange (or citrus) juice, pomegranate juice, or kiwi juice with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger. Toss with 10 ounces cooked soba noodles, spaghetti, or macaroni, or 2 cups cooked rice.

Soup and stew

Use fresh juice as the stock for soups and stews by mixing one-half juice with one-half vegetable or chicken broth. Any vegetable juice works, but carrot, beet, or a mixture of zucchini, squash, carrot, celery, and even onion will add rich flavor.

Baked goods

Try using fresh juice as the liquid in quick breads, cakes, brownies, cookies, and muffins. Prepare the batter as the recipe directs, but substitute juice for half of the water, milk, or other liquid called for in the recipe. Use apple, carrot, melon, pomegranate, or another fruit juice.