Carrots get taken for granted a lot, and it’s been a bad rap for them ever since they have been “carved down into little shapes,” and treated with chemicals which diminished their flavor and nourishment.
Carrots are a neat, hand-held food, require no cooking and pack along well when a good-for-you, walking snack is in order. In the U.S., most adults average eating about 12 pounds of carrots each year, mostly raw, some canned or frozen. Yes, carrots belong to the aromatics mirepoix family along with onion and celery.
For the most part, we eat the slender root, though the seldom-eaten green tops are edible, just not popular. Carrots are relatated to parsnips, dill (greens resemble), fennel and parsley. While we tend to think carrots, other than orange ones, are a new strain, the truth is most of the white, yellow, purple and red ones we see again were grown back as early as the 15th century.
The earliest carrots were grown for their greens and seeds and not their roots. Carrot roots were first mentioned 1100 years ago in Afghanistan, and their popularity traveled into Europe spread by the Spanish and North Africans.
Today, China, Russia and the U.S. raise the most carrots. California, Texas and Michigan are the largest North American production centers.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A, B6, C and beta carotene. It is believed more carotene is released into the body if carrots are cooked and mixed with a little olive oil or butter.
Try to choose carrots which are firm, unwrapped, not cracked, bright and with their greens, if possible. Old carrots in plastic bags for a long period can become slimy and undesirable. Immediately remove the greens from the roots, and do not wash carrots until preparing. Peel them only if their skin is discolored. Thicker carrots while somewhat tougher, will tend to be sweeter.
When storing the roots, keep them moist with a wet paper towel inside a fresh plastic bag.
- Baby food
- Carrot cakes
- Jams and jellies
- Mash them with potatoes or turnips or both
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Pet food
- Salads, vegetable or fruit combinations
- Shred, slice into rounds or cut into julienne sticks.
- Soups and stews
- Spiced carrots
- Steam, boil or fry carrot until still crunchy, not mushy
- Subtle sweetness for savory dishes
Below are foodsites with carrot recipes.