One cup of frozen orange juice concentrate helps provide the tang for Sticky Orange-Glazed Chicken Thighs. (Anna Williams)
Known best as a handy, inexpensive alternative to fresh-squeezed juice, frozen orange juice concentrate is a deliciously versatile ingredient in its own right.
Made by removing some of the water from orange juice, frozen concentrate has been a freezer aisle staple for decades. This potent, tangy flavor booster makes a great glaze for meat and fish, a fast marinade or dressing, a refreshing frozen dessert — if you’re brave enough this time of year — and much more.
For the best flavor, look for a brand with a “100% juice” label, which means it has no extra sugar or additives.
Stock a few canisters so you can get orange flavor and vitamin C in minutes — no squeezing required. Scoop out just what you need to thaw, then tightly cover the remaining juice and freeze for up to 6 months.
5 fast uses for orange juice concentrate
■Mix with tahini and toasted sesame oil for a tasty salad dressing.
■Stir into sliced carrots sautéed with grated ginger.
■Whisk with soy sauce to make a marinade for pork or other meat.
■Blend with strawberries and yogurt for a smoothie.
■Stir into whipped cream and serve over pound cake.
Sticky Orange-Glazed Chicken Thighs
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
4 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with rack in upper third. Season chicken with salt and pepper and arrange, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes to 50 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine 1 teaspoon salt, juice concentrate, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture has thickened, about 18 minutes to 20 minutes.
Heat broiler. Transfer chicken to a large bowl, add glaze and toss to coat. Drain off fat from sheet. Return chicken to sheet and broil until sauce is bubbling and chicken is dark brown in spots, about 1 minute to 2 minutes. Serves 4.
Per serving: 253 calories; 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 36 percent calories from fat); 25 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 0 g fiber.
Braised Fish with Orange and Soy
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 skinless fish fillets, such as halibut, cod or salmon (6 to 8 ounces each)
Cooked rice, for serving
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add garlic, ginger and scallions; cook until scallions begin to soften, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, combine juice concentrate, soy sauce and ¼ cup water. Add mixture to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add fish, cover and cook until opaque throughout, about 6 minutes to 8 minutes. Serve with rice. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving (without rice): 305 calories; 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 27 percent calories from fat); 8 g carbohydrates; 47 g protein; 1 g fiber.
Creamy Orange Pops
You can also make these pops in small, disposable paper cups — simply peel away the paper to unmold.
1 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 cups full-fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine juice concentrate and sugar over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Transfer to a large liquid-measuring cup, pour into 10 3-ounce ice-pop molds and insert ice-pop sticks. Freeze until pops are solid, about 6 hours (or up to 1 week). Briefly run molds under hot water to release pops. Makes 10.
Per serving: 103 calories; 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 17 percent calories from fat); 20 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 0 g fiber.