The orange carrot we know and love today came originally from Holland, but up until the Middle Ages, all carrots were purple. Gardeners often delight in such oddities, but you will be very lucky to find any purple specimens available in stores or supermarkets.
Carrots contain large amounts of carotene and vitamin A, along with useful amounts of vitamins B3, C and E. When eaten raw, they also provide potassium, calcium, iron and zinc, but these are partly destroyed with cooking.
Almost all vegetables have a better flavor if they are grown organically, but this is particularly true of carrots. If possible, buy organic ones, or look for the young, pencil-thin carrots that still have their feathery tops attached. These young carrots can be eaten raw, or steamed for a few minutes. Older carrots should be unblemished and feel firm. Carrots should not be stored for too long, but they will keep for several days in a cool airy place or in the salad drawer of the refrigerator.
The age of carrots is a guide to how they should be prepared. The valuable nutrients lies either in or just beneath the skin, so if the carrots are young, simply scrub them. Medium-size carrots may need to be scraped with a knife before cooking them and large carrots will need to be scraped or peeled. Carrots can be cooked or eaten raw. To eat raw, they can be cut into julienne strips and tossed with a dressing, or grated into salads and coleslaw. They can bee cooked in almost any way you choose. As an accompaniment, cut them into julienne strips and braise in butter and cider. Roasted carrots are delicious, with a melt-in-the-mouth sweetness. Par-boil large ones first, but younger carrots can be quickly blanched or added direct to the pan with a joint of meat.
“Work With What You Got!”
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