Cooking with Carrots

Cooking with Carrots

These orange roots are a workhorse in the kitchen. They bring a rich, sweet flavor to soups, stews and sauces. They also shine when cooked as a vegetable in their own right. Though available year-round, carrots have different characteristics in each season. In spring, you'll find tiny, tender baby carrots with mild flavor. Summer carrots have a slightly stronger flavor. The very sweetest carrots are found in the fall and early winter, when the starches convert to sugar in the cold weather.

The Basic

  • To choose - Look for carrots with a firm texture and smooth skin. Carrots sold with their green tops intact are likely to be fresher than topless ones sold in plastic bags.

  • To store - Keep carrots in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use within a week or two.

  • To slice - Cut a thin slice off the length of the carrot to give it a flat, stable base. Then lay the carrot flat on your work surface for easy slicing.

  • To prepare old carrots - Remove the woody cores and use only the outer flesh.

Healthy Hints

  • To benefit from a carrot's nutrition - Much of the nutrition is right under the skin, so rinse and scrub carrots well, but don't peel them. Raw carrots make a healthy snack, but for maximum nutrition benefits, cook carrots for at least 3 to 5 minutes. Cooking helps free beta-carotene from the carrot's fiber cells, making it easier for your body to absorb.

  • To use carrot juice - Carrot juice is a delicious way to get beta-carotene into your diet. Make a blend of carrot and orange juice to start your day. Or use carrot juice in salad dressings to replace part of the oil. You can also cook couscous in a mixture of carrot juice and water. And you can steam fish using carrot juice for the liquid, seasoning the liquid and thickening with cornstarch.

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