For most of us, orange juice is seen as a breakfast beverage and occasionally a mixer for cocktails. Sadly, outside of these two functions, OJ doesn’t generally come out of the fridge. It’s such a shame that this vitamin-C laden juice isn’t incorporated more readily into your day-to-day cooking; it’s just so good for you! Plus, OJ seems like a logical addition to your repertoire, because if you think about it, how often do you use citrus in your cooking in other ways? Probably pretty often. Making the switch to this pressed form of citrus doesn’t have to be overwhelming though. All you really need are a few good tips to get you started, and these six ways are the perfect place to begin. They’re easy, and you’ll immediately notice a difference in your cooking.
For all these tips, it is recommended that you use fresh-squeezed orange juice rather than store-bought or canned concentrate. The orange taste will be so much tangier and more nuanced if you do.
Instead of traditional wine- or vinegar-based marinades, try OJ. The natural acidity of oranges tenderizes meat, fish, poultry, and pork. Don’t just pour the juice over your meat and expect it to work, though. Mix your OJ with different seasonings, such as garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, and/or pepper. You can even get creative and make an excellent Asian marinade, like Damn Delicious’s orange chicken, if you throw in some soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and mirin.
One of the most straightforward ways to use orange juice other than just drinking it is to turn it into popsicles. All you need to do is pour the juice into your favorite freezer-pop molds. You can also make a creamy version by mixing in some vanilla yogurt before you pour the liquid into individual molds. If you really want to get fancy, throw some berries at the bottom before you pour in the liquid to give a new flavor dimension. Another good trick is to melt some chocolate, fill in the bottom of the popsicle mold, freeze it, and then when it’s frozen, pour a layer of creamy orange juice over. The result will look as stunning as it’ll taste.
You’d imagine that when you put orange juice in a vinaigrette, you would replace the vinegar. However, try your standard vinaigrette, only replace all but one tablespoon of oil with orange juice. The result is a light and fresh vinaigrette that will really inject some life into your salads and give you an infusion of vitamin C. Otherwise, to keep things simple, try this tip from Brit + Co’s food editor: Toss lettuce in olive oil, orange juice, and flaky sea salt. Top it with leftover shredded chicken or canned tuna.
Cakes and Quick Breads
For a bold flavor in your baked goods, substitute orange juice in place of water and/or milk in your favorite cake and quick bread recipes. You’ll instantly add a bright taste to your treats that will be surprisingly refreshing.
Quick Frosting Or Citrus Glaze
For an easy glaze that can go on almost any baked good, like this orange scone glaze from My Baking Addition, combine powdered sugar with orange juice until the consistency is thin enough to whisk the lumps out but thick enough to drizzle without being runny. You can even grate in some orange peel for an extra powerful flavor boost.
You knew oranges were acidic, but did you know that they had enough acid to actually pickle vegetables just like vinegar does? One of the best ways to work it in is with onions. Next time you make onions into quick pickles, replace your vinegar with OJ for a citrusy take that is fabulous on tacos, gyros, and salad.
Do you have any other kitchen hacks that use orange juice? Tell us about them @BritandCo.