Carrot is a hardy, cool-season biennial that is grown for the thickened root it produces in its first growing season. Although carrots can endure summer heat in many areas, they grow best when planted in early spring. Midsummer plantings, that mature
quickly in cool fall weather, produce tender, sweet "baby" carrots that are much prized. Carrots are eaten both raw and cooked and they can be stored for winter use. They are rich in carotene (the source of vitamin A) and high in fiber and sugar content.
Nutritional and health benefits: As the name implies, carrots are brimming with beta carotene. Beta carotene is a substance that is converted to Vitamin A in the human body.
A 1/2 cup serving of cooked carrots contains four times the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A in the form of protective beta carotene.
Beta carotene is also a powerful antioxidant effective in fighting against some forms of cancer, especially lung cancer. Current research suggests that it may also protect against stroke, and heart disease. Research also shows that the beta carotene in vegetables supplies this protection, not vitamin supplements. So eat your carrots.
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked)
Protein .86 grams
Carbohydrates 8.19 grams
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Calcium 24.18 mg
Iron .47 mg
Vitamin A 19,152 IU
Vitamin C 1.79
Preparation and serving: Use a vegetable brush to remove every speck of soil from carrots. Peel if desired. Raw carrots are naturally sweet, but lightly cooked carrots are even sweeter. Carrots are one of those vegetables that loses very little nutritional value during cooking. In fact, some nutrients in slightly cooked carrots are more available to the body than raw carrots. Cooking actually breaks down the tough cellular wall of carrots making some nutrients more useable to the body.
Carrots can be shredded, chopped, juiced or cooked whole. They are delicious roasted, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, grilled, and they team up beautifully with almost any vegetable companion. Carrots boost the nutritional value of soups, stews, salads and are indispensable in the stockpot.
Canned carrots must be processed in a pressure canner. Do not can in a water bath canner. To can carrots safely follow these simple instructions;
- Select small carrots, preferably 1 to 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Large carrots are often too fibrous. Wash, peel and rewash carrots. Slice or dice.
- Hot Pack -- Cover carrots with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Pack into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints; 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired.
- Fill jars to 1 inch from top with boiling water.
- Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust two piece lids and process.
- Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 10 pounds pressure: pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes.
To Freeze Carrots they must be blanched. Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. Blanching slows or stops enzyme action which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture.
- Select young, tender, medium length carrots. Remove tops, wash and peel.
- Leave small carrots whole. Cut others into thin slices, 1/4-inch cubes or lengthwise strips.
- Water blanch small whole carrots for 5 minutes, diced or sliced 2 minutes and lengthwise strips 2 minutes.
- Cool promptly in ice water for 5 minutes, drain and package leaving 1/2- inch head space. Seal in zip closure freezer bags and freeze. For detailed instructions on blanching see Beans.
The flavor of cooked carrots is enhanced by herbs. Use spearmint, marjoram, a small bay leaf, thyme, grated ginger root, chopped chives, dill or parsley. To sweeten carrots, use honey, maple syrup or a sprinkle of sugar.
Braised Carrots with Fresh Herbs
For this recipe, cut carrots into logs 2 to 3 inches in length. Use small tapering carrots, cut the tapering end off then cut the upper portion in half or quarters so that all of the pieces are about the same size in diameter. If using store-bought carrots, buy carrots with bright green tops; this is an indication of freshness.
- 1 pound small carrots or carrot logs
- 1 cup canned or fresh beef broth
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or use one tablespoon dried)
- Wash, scrub and peel carrots. Leave whole or cut into logs.
- In a medium saucepan, bring beef broth to a boil, add carrots, honey, butter and parsley. Cover and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove carrots to a warm plate and reduce liquid to a light glaze by continuing to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Return carrots to pan and toss in the thickened liquid. Serves 4.
This dish can be used as a garnish, a salad or snack.
- 1 pound carrots
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or other grainy mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1green onions, chopped (include green top)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Scrub and peel carrots. Julienne, log or slice.
- Blanch carrots in 1quart boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until barely tender. Drain.
- In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and mustard.
- Using a fork or small whisk, beat in olive oil a little at a time. Add onions, parsley and garlic.
- Pour over warm carrots. Taste, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Makes 3 cups.