Food trends come and go, but one food trend is here to stay, making juice out of fruits and vegetables. Who would have thought banana and kale tastes great together in a drink? They do, and it is a very popular combination in a variety of smoothies and juices. I do not usually juice my vegetables, but now and then I enjoy a juice made with bright vegetables or fruits for an invigorating snack.
Surprisingly, one juice I really enjoy is made with an unusual ingredient, parsley. Parsley is such an under-rated herb because it is over used as a garnish. As a result, parsley is often overlooked as a valuable and fresh tasting herb. I believe parsley has a bright taste that perks up rich foods, like stews. Also, it is the perfect foundation for many fresh herb blends. Despite the unassuming appearance, parsley also has some important nutritional benefits.
This recipe is from Seamus Mullen’s cookbook Hero Food. In his cookbook Seamus talks about growing up in Vermont, becoming a chef and being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. His recipes focus on different foods he calls “hero foods” for their nutritional benefits and how they changed his life. Seamus discovered the most effective means for combating his illness and living without pain is through exercise and diet. Parsley is one of his hero foods and has a whole chapter all to itself.
According to Seamus, and additional studies, eating parsley can reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis (see link below about parsley). He knows firsthand the nutritional and health benefits of parsley, and drinks smoothies and juices made with parsley whenever he is not feeling well. There are studies showing eating parsley benefits people with rheumatoid arthritis, but there is some debate if it’s helpful for osteoarthritis.
I do not have rheumatoid arthritis, so I cannot speak about his claims, but I do believe one’s diet has an impact on how we feel. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”. This juice drink is just one part of a larger group of foods with nutritional and healing benefits. It is not a cure-all, though I can honestly say I feel peppy after I drink it.
Parsley, an apple and fresh ginger blend into a drink providing lots of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and easy on the digestion. The apple makes this a thick juice with some texture, but it still goes down smooth. My version has less honey than the original, and I also like to add some mint. The apple and ginger soften the parsley making a well-balanced and delicious juice. Drink this juice snack when you are craving something fresh and light.
Sugar snap peas with shiitake mushrooms has lots of ginger in this vegetable side dish. Add some extra parsley for some extra fresh flavor.
Health Benefits for Parsley Juice
Parsley Juice with Ginger and Apple
- 2 oz / 59 g fresh Italian parsley stems and all
- 1 medium green apple 7 oz / 95 g
- 1 TB honey
- 1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
- A few mint leaves optional
Wash the parsley very carefully to make sure there is no sand and dirt clinging to the leaves. Set aside on a clean kitchen towel, (there is no need to spin it to dry). Core the apple and cut into wedges. (If you are using an immersion blender grate the apples, skin and all, and chop the parsley.)
Add all the ingredients into a blender or the bowl of a food processor with 1/4 cup of cold water and 2 ice cubes, (smash the ice cubes if you are using an immersion blender.) Process all the ingredients until it becomes a liquid and you reach your desired consistency. Because of the apple this juice will seem thick and pulpy. You can add a little more water if you want to thin it out but careful not to make it too runny. Drink immediately or keep chilled in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
The blender is the best tool for making vegetable juices. I have good results using a food processor and an immersion blender. It takes a little longer, but you still get good results. If you use an immersion blender, blend all the ingredients in the container the immersion blender comes with or a quart size soup take out container. It is helpful to grate the apple and chop the parsley before mixing in a food processor or an immersion blender.
© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.
After you make Triple C Cranberry Sauce, you will have extra cranberry juice that needs a purpose. You could drink it plain for breakfast. Crantini’s are nice cocktails. Or, infuse the juice with herbs and spices for a festive signature cocktail. The latter is my choice, especially since I love martinis made with fruit juice muddled with fresh herbs and spices. Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail takes its inspiration from the classic Cosmo Cocktail and is perfect for entertaining.
There are many fun cocktails for the holidays, but my inspiration came for the need to use up some leftover juice, and a request from Joe, “If you’re going to make a cocktail, make a vodka cocktail.” How could I refuse? Vodka has a clean alcohol flavor which mixes well with many fruit juices. I am not a fan of flavored vodkas, they just taste artificial to me. It is also less expensive to flavor the vodka myself then buy 3 different types of flavored vodka. All you need to get the flavors of herbs and spices in your drink, is to add a small herb sprig or fruit, and muddle it to release its oils. Then add the remaining ingredients and shake away.
The scents and flavors of my cranberry sauce got me thinking about new ideas for a vodka cocktail. Many herbs pair nicely with cranberry and I started dreaming about adding rosemary, ginger and orange bitters to cranberry juice. I tried steeping rosemary, ginger, lemon peel and allspice into the cranberry juice. Unfortunately, after 36 hours the juice tasted no different. I am going to work on this some more, but until then a cocktail shaker and a muddle gets the job done.
When we drink cocktails, vodka is our preferred libation. Though I am not remiss for trying other beverages like tequila for a Classic Margarita, and stout in a Guinness Stout Float. Even cooking with spirits is fun like, Chocolate Stout Cake.
I am particular about my drinks, because I prefer them on the dry side. Many cocktails are too sweet for my tastes. Yet, I recognize some drinks need a touch of sugar for the flavors to balance out. There is a fine line of how much simple syrup to add before it gets too much, but it does make a difference. Spiced cranberry vodka cocktail needs just a pinch of sugar to offset the harsh vodka and tart cranberry juice. It is amazing how even a small amount can change a drink from good to wow.
Granulated sugar does not dissolve in cold beverages, but simple syrup does. Imagine that layer of sugar at the bottom of a glass of iced tea and you’ll get the picture. No one wants that slurry in a cocktail. That is why simple syrup is used. Depending on how sweet your juice is, you may or may not need the simple syrup. The first time you make it, taste as you go to figure out how much simple syrup you need to reach your desired balance of flavor. Simple syrup is a good option to have at your disposal, whether you want a cocktail or a non-alcoholic beverage.
Spiced cranberry vodka cocktail is a remake of two classic drinks, Crantini and a Cosmo. The fresh herbs and spice from the ginger make this cocktail a festive and refreshing beverage. It would also taste great in a non-alcoholic beverage using the herb infused cranberry juice with seltzer or ginger ale.
Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail
Spiced Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup 125 ml water
- 1/2 cup 125 ml sugar
- 1 1/2- inch 4 cm slice fresh ginger, sliced thin
- 1/6 tsp pinch ground allspice, or 3 allspice berries
Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail
- 1 inch 2.5 cm piece of a rosemary sprig
- 1 thin slice of fresh ginger
- 2 oz 60 ml vodka
- 2 oz 60 ml cranberry juice
- 2-3 dashes of orange bitters
- Juice of half a lemon
- Less than 1/2 tsp of spiced simple syrup
Spiced Simple Syrup
Add all the ingredients for the simple syrup into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. When the sugar is dissolved, turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for two minutes. Stir the whole time you are cooking the simple syrup, and gently pound the ginger with a wooden spoon to release its flavor.
Turn off the heat and cool for twenty minutes.
Pour the simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer resting over a glass container. Store in a glass container with a lid in the refrigerator. Simple syrup will keep for two weeks, stored in the refrigerator.
Spiced Cranberry Vodka Cocktail
Add the rosemary, sliced ginger, into a cocktail shaker and muddle the herbs to release their flavors.
Fill the shaker with ice, then pour the vodka, cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup if needed, and 2-3 dashes of orange bitters. Cover and give it a good shake.
Pour into martini glasses and serve.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.