Here are Carrot Basic Essentials: How to pick, store, and cook healthy, oil-free vegan recipes. When to choose organic. Plus, nutrition information on this delicious root vegetable.
- Carrots are traditionally harvested in the fall, like most root vegetables. However, you can find carrots year-round almost anywhere.
- Bright, Firm: Bright, firm carrots means they've been picked recently and stored correctly. Avoid limp, shriveled looking carrots, as this is a sign they're old or getting moldy
- Size Matters: Smaller "baby" carrots tend to be sweeter, with a higher concentration of natural sugar
- Organics Matter: Since carrots are a root vegetable, they soak up whatever pesticides or chemicals might be in the soil. Organic carrots tend to taste better as well, likely because they grow in more nutrient-rich soil and sold soon after harvest. With just a small price difference (but a HUGE taste difference), this is one vegetable I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you buy organic
- Taste the Rainbow: Carrots come in all sorts of colors - orange, red, purple, and white. These colors are due to the different antioxidants in the skin. The more colors means more antioxidants and more nutrition.
- Remove Green Tops: The green tops will draw moisture from the carrots so remove these promptly
- Cold and Dry: Keep carrots in a refrigerator or root cellar. Moisture can cause carrots to shrivel. You can keep them in a perforated plastic bag, or, if you notice moisture, simply line your vegetable bin with a couple of paper towels.
How to Clean and Cook:
- How to Clean: Rinse carrots under running water to remove dirt. Wash only just before using or eating
- How to Peel: Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer skin. This skin is bitter. Leaving it on can leave an off-putting bitter flavor.
- Carrot tops, peels, and ends: You can save for vegetable stock, but you'll want to be sure they're thoroughly clean
- Raw: Thinly slice, shave, or grate to enjoy as Carrot "chips", toss into salad, or make a carrot slaw
- How to Cook: Roast, steam, boil, braise, or stir-fry asparagus. Carrots cook quickly -- just 15 minutes to roast carrot wedges and only 5 minutes for an oil-free saute.
Nutrition (help from WorldsHealthiestFoods)
- Low Calorie, Fat Free, Cholesterol Free, Low Sodium
- Excellent Source of: Vitamin A
- Very Good Source of: Biotin, Vitamin K, Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C
- Good Source of: Maganese, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B1, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Folate, Copper, Vitamin E, Vitamin B2
- Antioxidants: Beta Carotene (which the body converts into Vitamin A), Carotenoids (helps with vision) Hydroxycinnamic, Anthocyanindins
- Shown to protect against Macular Degeneration, improve Cardiovascular function, protect vision
- Cooked are Healthier: Cooking carrots actually makes their beta carotene more bio-available, debunking the "raw is healthier" myth (source: BerkeleyWellness)