Why is it that in every morning meal scenario in the history of all movies and television, someone has taken the time to squeeze fresh orange juice and put it in a clear carafe?
Okay, I’m exaggerating. I don’t know for sure that the juice is always hand-pressed. For all I know, it may have come directly out of a carton. But that’s not the point.
I’m always left wondering, after already prepping pancakes and slinging coffee for your crazy family, who takes the time to put the juice in a carafe?
Though it may sound like I’m opposed to this bougie brunch concept, I’m actually intrigued.
I think this is a method we should all adopt, to make our initial meal of the day that much more special. But if I’m going to put forth the effort of transferring freshly liquified fruit into something fancy, I’m going to first fancify my juice.
Although regular OJ is absolutely a classic I can get down with any day of the week, let’s be honest: It’s a little one-note.
Speaking of shaking things up, enter: a short, Midwestern-inspired anecdote.
I lived in a small town in Illinois for a year. Though the most memorable parts of residing in a suburb just outside of Chicago for me were the local accents, jalapeno poppers, and deep-dish pizza, there was something else Naperville happened to be known for.
Nearly every breakfast restaurant had its own version of strawberry orange juice. Some places pulsed and pureed it until smooth, while others left it pulpy and erupting with bits of fresh fruit.
I had always been a sucker previously for combining tart grapefruit juice with OJ, but once I was turned onto this strawberry-centric concoction, it was a game-changer.
I’m a no-pulp kind of girl, so when I’m squeezing or pressing juice of any kind in my own kitchen, I’m all about that blend-and-strain life. But this is a personal preference. You do you.
When it comes to citrus varieties, here are my thoughts:
Navels do the trick just fine. But in my opinion, the more flavor the better, so I try to get my hands on oranges with a little extra pizazz whenever possible.
My first choice is a Cara Cara, a hybrid red navel orange. It has vibrant flesh and a hint of cranberry-like tartness. Cara Caras also contain a higher amount of vitamin A than your typical oranges.
Go ahead, cara caras. Take a bow.
And while Valencias grow in the same region as navels, their slightly bitter tang provides some added depth. Especially if I’m blending oranges with super sweet, in-season strawberries, I find that using the ones with a touch more personality makes this drink that much more delicious.
If throwing herbs into the mix sounds weird, trust me on this one, and do it anyway.
Not only does floral mint provide a grassy, verdant aroma, it adds a distinctive, almost spicy character you can’t replicate otherwise.
Any solid bits are also strained out before serving, so if you’re picturing everyone seated around the breakfast table trying to chew their drinks, you’ve got the wrong idea.
To stick with tradition, simply reach for fresh filtered H2O to help move everything along in the blender. I often sub in coconut water – pineapple-infused if I can find it – for a boost of electrolytes and tropical flavor. Yum.
And not only does this beverage make a delicious and thirst-quenching accompaniment to breakfast, it’s delightful to enjoy poolside, or as an addition to an afternoon or evening spread as well.
BRB. I’m going to rummage around for more pitchers.Print
This recipe gives freshly squeezed orange juice a run for its money with the addition of juicy strawberries and herbaceous mint.
- 2 cups water (or coconut water)
- 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2 cups orange segments (about 3–4 medium Cara Cara, Valencia, or Navels)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
- In a high-powered blender, add the water, mint, oranges, and strawberries. Raising the speed from low to high to allow the ingredients to blend evenly, puree until smooth.
- Run the mixture through a strainer or fine mesh sieve, and then pour into glasses over ice. Garnish with sprigs of mint and serve.
- Category: Juice
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Family-Friendly Beverages
Keywords: juice, orange, strawberry, mint
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep the Fruit
Wash all of your produce well.
Peel the oranges and slice them into segments, or preferably, supremes with all of the pith removed.
Hull the strawberries. You can use a paring knife to easily remove the stems from the berries. And you can also substitute frozen strawberries if you can’t find fresh ones out of season.
Step 2 – Add the Ingredients to the Blender
Add the water, mint, oranges, and strawberries to a high-speed blender.
If you’re using frozen strawberries, make sure they are furthest from the blender blade when you add them. Liquid and lighter or less firm ingredients will break down easier, while the heavier frozen ones push everything towards the blade.
Raising the speed from low to high to allow the ingredients to evenly blend, puree until smooth.
Step 3 – Strain and Serve over Ice
Run the mixture through a strainer or fine mesh sieve, using a spoon or spatula to push as much liquid out of the solids as possible. You can skip this step if you prefer pulp in your juice.
Pour into glasses filled about halfway with ice. Garnish with mint sprigs, and sliced extra strawberries if you like. Serve immediately.
Leftover juice can be stored in the fridge for two to three days.
Easy-Peasy Orange Juice Squeezy
Orange you glad I didn’t make too many citrus puns in this article?
Seriously, though. Let’s talk about all of the other things you can do with this strawberry and mint OJ, besides simply slurping it down.
Use it to marinate a fresh summer fruit salad with pineapple and mango, or simmer until syrupy and whisk in some butter for an epic sauce to drape over grilled fish or chicken.
Carry it over to cocktail time by shaking it with a splash of bitters and spilling in some gin. Top with sparkling water for the happiest hour you’ll ever encounter.
Fresh juice is good for the body and soul, and these other sippable recipes are sure to satisfy both if you’re thirsty for more:
Mint is the obvious choice to pair with fruit, but don’t shy away from earthy basil for a pungent punch.
Which herb will you reach for? Share your bright ideas in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on August 20, 2016. Last updated on July 16, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”