The $2.59 Ingredient That Will Transform Your Cooking
Frozen juices from concentrate aren't just for drinks—they can also enliven appetizers, give slow-cooker dishes a flavor boost and even make it easy to whip up a zingy cake.
A Sweet Complement to Chicken Wings' Spice
Apple-juice and lemonade concentrates can add a fruity, slightly tangy element to this happy-hour favorite. Cook about 12 wings as you normally would (we like to put them under the broiler with olive oil, salt and pepper, but you can also grill them). Then, whisk one-half can of each concentrate with one-quarter cup of honey, a few shakes of hot sauce and salt to taste; bring to a simmer until reduced by half. Transfer the wings to a mixing bowl and toss with the glaze until coated. Serve warm.
The Glue That Holds Granola's Oats, Nuts and Fruits Together
When you simmer one-third cup of cranberry-juice concentrate over low heat with an equal amount of brown sugar and two tablespoons of canola oil, it creates a sticky glaze that's perfect for binding all the crumbly elements of granola, from nuts and seeds to oats and dried fruits. Pour the mixture over your dry ingredients (there should be about 3 cups total), stir well, sprinkle in some spices (cinnamon goes nicely with cranberry juice) and spread onto a baking sheet. Place in a 325-degree oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
The Secret Weapon in a Supereasy Slow-Cooker Meal
Author and blogger Stephanie O'Dea
, whose new book is 365 Slow Cooker Suppers
, always keeps a can or two of orange-juice or lemonade concentrate in her freezer, and not just for when she unexpectedly ends up with a crowd at her house. She finds these handy ingredients are great for slow-cooker meals: Since meat and vegetables give off so much juice as they cook, O'Dea doesn't like to add too much liquid to the dish—and the concentrates deliver a punch of flavor without extra liquid. Her Orange Chicken is a great example; the sauce is tangy, not at all soupy and delicious over brown rice.
Get the recipe: Orange Chicken
A Pop of Flavor in a Bright and Sunny Cake
This lemony sheet cake is sweet, tart and supereasy, since you make it in an unfussy 9-by-13-inch pan, and there's no layering involved: just spread frosting on top (also: no need to juice mounds of lemons, thanks to the big flavor you get from the concentrate). Bree Hester, who blogs at BakedBree.com
, initially made this Lemonade Cake in the summer (after spotting it in Better Homes and Gardens
), but now she makes it year-round—whenever she needs a little taste of sunshine.
The Trick to Turning Carrots into Your Favorite Vegetable
Carrots sweeten as you cook them; add some orange juice and you've got a dish that'll appeal to even the pickiest eater. Just stir a few thawed spoonfuls of concentrate into sliced, steamed or sautéed carrots and garnish with chopped, fresh dill or grated ginger. It's the perfect go-to side for grilled or roasted chicken, beef, pork or fish.
Next: 8 pricey foods to stop buying (and what to buy instead)