Carrots are a root vegetable. They offer a sweet, mildly aromatic flavor that makes them suitable for many cooking preparations, including raw snacking.
Carrots, which are actually a member of the parsley family, are recognized for their long, slender shape, and bright orange color. However, these characteristics vary among types of carrots; keep your eyes out for purple, yellow or white colored carrots at your farmers’ market. You may also find ‘baby carrots’ at the grocery store, but these are in fact cut from older carrots and not indicative of age or variety.
Carrots’ natural season is late summer and fall but you can usually find them year-round at the grocery store.
Common carrots look a bit like bright orange sticks. The bottom end of the carrot tapers into a root. At the market, the top end of the carrot may still have its green, leafy tops intact, or the tops may already be removed. Young, fresh carrots are usually bunched together with tops attached. Older carrots may be found in bulk or in bags, with tops removed.
When purchasing carrots, you may also come across parsnips. These may look like white carrots but there is a difference: parsnips have a stronger, more bitter flavor and are noticeably less sweet than carrots. Parsnips tend to be bigger than carrots.
Ever been told to “eat your carrots so you won’t go blind”? This comes from the fact that carrots are chock full of beta carotene, which helps promote good eyesight. In fact, beta carotene was named after carrots. In the body, beta carotene converts into vitamin A. Just a couple carrots will you give you more than a day’s worth of vitamin A.
Young, fresh carrots will have the brightest, sweetest flavor, and the best texture. Older, larger carrots can taste a bit ‘woody’, so buy smaller, younger carrots if you can. These are usually grouped together in bunches with the leaves still attached. Look for a bright color in both the leaves and the carrot itself.
Hold the carrot in your hand and bend it slightly (be gentle—don’t break it). If it feels rubbery, loose or limp, that means it is old and dehydrated. If it feels firm and crisp, like it might snap, you probably have a good carrot on your hands.
If your carrots still have the tops attached, cut them off before storing them. The tops will drain moisture from the carrots and cause them to dry out and become rubbery.
Keep your carrots in a loose / open plastic bag in your vegetable crisper.
Carrots can last for about a week in your fridge. If they are young, tender carrots, enjoy them sooner rather than later to enjoy their best texture and flavor. Older carrots which have already been stored may last longer.
To prepare carrots, give them a quick wash and then peel them with a vegetable peeler. This will remove the outer layer which may be bitter. If your carrots are especially young and fresh you may skip this step—just wash them well before eating.
For a simple snack, simply cut the carrot into bite-size sticks and enjoy with your favorite dip.
Carrots can be cooked in a multitude of ways. Cooking time will vary by technique, and will depend on your preference. Longer cooking time will bring out the sweetness and soften the carrot’s texture, while a shorter cooking time will preserve crunch.
Tip: For a great side dish, try roasting carrots. Cut them into large chunks (about 1” lengths), drizzle with olive oil, and roast on a baking sheet in an oven at 425ºF for about 15-20 minutes (flipping once). Roasting brings out the carrots’ natural sweetness.
This carrot cake is moist and delicious. It's great for any occasion and will leave you wanting more.
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 60 minutes Yield: 8-10 pieces
Directions for the cake:
Begin by washing, peeling, and dicing the carrots. Next, put all ingredients (with the exception of the flour) into your food processor or high power blender and blend until smooth. Pour contents of food processor into a large mixing bowl and add flour. Stir until well combined.
Pour batter into 8″ springform pan greased with coconut oil. Bake at 350ºF for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 to 20 minutes before opening the springform pan. Cool in fridge for 60 minutes before icing.
Directions for the icing:
Measure out the 2 cups of pitted dates in a 4 cup capacity pyrex measuring cup. Boil some water and pour the water over the dates until they are almost covered (about 1 cup water). Let the dates sit in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
Next place all ingredients into a food processor or high power blender (including water + date mixture) and blend until smooth (about 2 minutes). Spread evenly over top and sides of cooled cake. Cool in fridge for 60 minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in the fridge.
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Carrots are a common root vegetable. They are incredibly versatile and often used as a base flavor for soups and stews, or eaten on their own as a side dish. They can be roasted, boiled, steamed, sauteed… you name it. Plus, their texture and sweetness make carrots a tasty and healthy snack. Packed with beta carotene, carrots are known for supporting healthy vision.