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Carrots: How to Prepare and Cook

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

Carrots are a vegetable related to parsnips, fennel, parsley, and dill. They range in lengths from two inches to three feet, and diameters of 1/2 inch to over two inches. The root is crunchy and sweet while the greens are slightly bitter. While they are obviously orange, carrots can also be white, yellow, red, or purple. They are freshly available in the winter season.


HOW TO SELECT AND STORE


Carrots should be firm, smooth, mostly straight, and bright in color. Avoid those that are cracked or excessively forked, as well as those that are limp or rubbery. If the greens are attached, they should be bright green and feathery; but if not attached, be sure the stem end is not darkened. The sweetness of carrots comes from their outer layer, so the thinner its core, the sweeter it will be.


If storing carrots for a greater amount of time, try to minimize their moisture loss. They can be stored in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel and placed in your fridge. Where they will last for a few months, stack them surrounded by straw, sawdust, or sand. Try to store carrots away from apples, pears, potatoes, or other fruits and veggies that release ethylene gas as this will make carrots bitter and age faster. If the carrots have their greens attached, cut the tops off before refrigerating or the carrot may dry out and rot faster. Refrigerate the greens separately, wrapped in a damp paper towel.


HOW TO PREPARE AND COOK


Before using, wash carrots thoroughly, scrub them with a vegetable brush, and peel them. They can then be left whole or sliced and cut however works best for you. Carrots can be blanched and frozen or pressure cooked to have that freshness year-round. They are delicious and sweet eaten raw, however, they can also be cooked by microwaving, steaming, roasting, or blanching. They are great additions (for flavor and some beautiful bright color) to roasts, casseroles, soup, and stir-fries.


A LITTLE HERE, A LITTLE THERE

  • Chop and add to rice pilaf just before the rice is done cooking

  • Large dice and toss with other root vegetables, a little oil, and some seasonings to roast.

  • Cut into stalks and enjoy with hummus

  • Juice with a combo of pineapple, oranges, spinach, or apples for a healthy juice

  • And of course...shred them for carrot cake.

WHAT DO YOU GET FROM THEM?


Carrots are most known for Vitamin A and help with eyesight. They also have other antioxidant benefits, promote cardiovascular health, and have various cancer-fighting properties.


DID YOU KNOW?


Baby carrots come from a large carrot that has been cut, rolled over blades, and shaved to produce a short, round-ended carrot.


TRY IT!


Honey Glazed Carrots

  • 1# carrots, cut into thick coins or short sticks

  • 2 tsp butter

  • 2 tsp honey

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender, 5-6 minutes. Drain carrots and add them back to the pan with butter, honey, and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coat and carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

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