By: Natalie Coppola, KSC Dietetic Intern
Carrots, after potatoes, are the most common root vegetables that Americans eat. We typically see orange carrots, these came from the wild carrot, but carrots come in a variety of colors such shades of yellow that can be as light as white; reds, and purples that can be as dark as an eggplant. Beta-carotene a plant pigment and antioxidant found in carrots gives them their vibrant color!
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A supports immune function and eye health. Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage; eating carrots, and increasing your antioxidant consumption can reduce the promotion of certain types of cancer.1 Along with vitamin A, carrots are also rich in fiber, and vitamin C.
Along with a variety of colors, there are a variety of ways to eat them! The peak season for carrots in the Monadnock region is June into November, so keep your eyes peeled for them at your local farmer’s market; they are also sold refrigerated in stores all year long. Ideal storage in your home for carrots is in a high-humidity drawer in your fridge in a breathable bag or submerged in water on a shelf in the fridge. Cut the leafy greens off the tops of the carrots as they may draw moisture from the orange root. Feel free to store the greens in a breathable drawer for consumption as well.
Carrots should be consumed within two weeks of purchasing. If you fear you will not eat the carrots fast enough, they can also be frozen. Remove the leafy greens and store in an airtight container for the freezer. Try shredding raw or pureeing cooked carrots before freezing to make it easier when needed for baking.2
Carrots can be cooked in almost any way imagined. They do not need to be peeled, just thoroughly washed before eating. Peeling can, however, remove some bitterness, which you may prefer. Carrots can be steamed, roasted, stir-fried, and deep-fried. Aside from cooking, they can be eaten raw, put into smoothies, added to soups/stews or baked into bakery products like quick breads. Raw and steamed carrots will provide the most nutritional value, the more you cook them, the more nutrients they lose. nutrient content.
Carrots should be awarded the most versatile vegetable between the color, nutritional value, and ways to cook them! Try out this recipe, a perfect side dish!
Savory Roasted Carrots
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel all the carrots and cut off the tops. Cut carrots in 1-inch pieces. Try to cut around the same size to ensure even roasting.
- In a large bowl toss to coat all the carrots in olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
- Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention. Federal Occupational Health. https://foh.psc.gov/NYCU/antioxidents.asp. Accessed December 14, 2019.
- Storage. Save The Food. https://savethefood.com/storage?gclid=Cj0KCQjw0IDtBRC6ARIsAIA5gWvkz7jAK7YnQ53iSq68u_xV5ecX2EM5NStPdrIM8tUBvj17rvmT5GwaApr6EALw_wcB. Accessed December 14, 2019.