If you’ve ever had carrot juice, you know what a treat it can be—bright orange, sweet, and bursting with carrot flavor. But can you make carrot juice with a Vitamix? Traditional juicers remove most of the fiber, whereas blenders leave it in. If you blend a super-juicy fruit like grapes or watermelon, you will get a liquid; but if you just blend carrots, you will get a thick purée—similar in consistency to applesauce—not a juice.
You can make a purée drinkable by adding liquid and/or various juicy fruits, which is what I do with my usual smoothies. Vitamix and Blendtec both have recipes for a “whole-food” or “total” carrot juice that add water, ice, and lemon juice to carrots (Blendtec also adds a bit of ginger). I’ve tried those recipes and they’re perfectly enjoyable, but they’re just not the same as a pure traditional carrot juice. They end up a bit watery (which is what the addition of lemon tries to compensate for).
I decided to try making an undiluted carrot juice using a filtration/“nut-milk” bag, and it worked surprisingly well. I used the Vitamix-brand bag, but there are an abundance of cheaper options on Amazon.
I have made this twice so far. The first time I just scrubbed the carrots, but the juice came out a bit bitter, so the second time I peeled them. Peeling made a big difference: sweeter, less bitter, purer flavor. I don’t peel when I toss a carrot into a smoothie, but it’s worthwhile to peel the carrots for a juice like this.I used 1 pound of carrots in a narrow Vitamix container. If you are using the Next Generation wide container I would recommend a bit more, maybe 1.5 lbs. No water needed!
Use the tamper and blend on high until the carrots just start to circulate. (The sound of the machine will lower in pitch as it’s circulating because the blades face more resistance.) You’ll have to tamp aggressively, and focus on pushing the corners down. It took around 45 seconds. Put a filtration bag into a medium-size bowl and scrape carrot purée into filtration bag. A long narrow spatula is helpful here. Gently squeeze the bag and the juice will flow out. Once the flow slows, you can shift the pulp around inside the bag and squeeze some more. I was surprised with how quickly and easily the juice flowed out of the bag. I would say most of the juice was out in about a minute, and then it turned to diminishing returns.
I poured from the bowl into a wide measuring cup to make it easier to pour into glasses. I was also curious about the yield. I looked up how much juice to expect from a pound of carrots; Wikipedia says 8 oz, consistent with most other sources, while one source says 6–8 oz. My pound of carrots yielded ~11 oz!1 What the heck?! The Vitamix out-juiced the juicers! Was this a particularly juicy batch of carrots? Possibly, but I suspect that by squeezing the filtration bag you can get out more juice than a typical juicer can.
The consistency and flavor were perfect: no detectable fiber, perfectly juicy, and pleasantly sweet.
The Vitamix does warm the carrots a bit during blending. The first time I didn’t pay attention to temperature until right after blending, when the maximum temperature was 88 °F (ambient temperature was ~75 °F). I have no idea if that temperature is enough to affect the carrots. However, as a test, the second time I started with chilled carrots. After washing and peeling them I let them sit in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes, and I made sure to not blend for longer than necessary. That time the maximum temperature of the blend was 65 °F.
We enjoyed the juice straight, but on a hot day I could see serving it over ice cubes.
The filtration bag is quite easy to clean—I just flipped it inside out, scraped off the carrot pulp, rinsed, scrubbed by hand with some dish soap, and then rinsed with more water. The carrot juice will dye the bag (maybe not if you use a nylon bag?). The Vitamix instructions that come with the bag suggest that you can remove stains by soaking in dilute hydrogen peroxide for 5 minutes. I tried it out of curiosity—it worked a little, but most of the color remained. Ultimately I don’t see anything wrong with having an orange bag.
I’m not sure if I’ll make anything with the leftover pulp. I’ll post an update if I do.
Making this Vitamix carrot juice was much easier than I thought it would be. It seems like it may well be less work than using a juicer that has many parts that you have to wash and dry. A juicer would probably have the upper hand for making extremely large quantities of juice, but, for things like this, the Vitamix works great.
In terms of blending vs. juicing, I obviously usually come down on the side of blending. I generally think that the fiber is worth keeping, from a nutrition, economic, and convenience standpoint. But for when you want a traditional juice, the Vitamix can still deliver.
1. I put 1 lb of trimmed carrots into the Vitamix. I did not weigh the trimmings, but I’m guessing that they were well under 5% of the total. For the second run, when I also peeled the carrots, again I put 1 lb of peeled and trimmed carrots into the Vitamix. That time I weighed the peelings and trimmings, since it was a significant pile. To make 1 lb of peeled carrots I had ~0.25 lbs of peelings and trimmings, which means that peeling reduced the weight by ~20%. Both times yielded ~11 oz of juice. I’m not sure if the juicing sources I found were talking about 1 lb before or after peeling/trimming—one source suggested not peeling carrots, but most did not say. Either way, even if you reduce my 11 oz juice by 20%, that comes to ~9 oz—as much or more than traditional juicers. ↑