The humble carrot plays a role in many dishes, present in nearly every sauce, used almost as often as parsley.
Carrots are root vegetables with attractive bright orange engorged roots and pretty green leaves, similar to ferns. They are supposed to be good for your eyes. Carrots are considered to be "rabbit food" probably because of one famous bunny but the label has stuck. Many humans like carrots too and they are good for more than just the eyes. Carrots can be bought all year around. If you get them from the farmer's market, they will probably be bunched together by the green tops like they were just pulled out of the ground.
Did you know that carrots were not always orange? Yeah, it's like finding out that the sky was originally another color. Anyway, they used to be white, purple, and yellow. About 500 years ago, the orange carrot came along. There are white or beige carrots still growing wild in Europe.
Greeks and Romans listed carrots as medicinal plants, but they do not seem to have used them as food. There is evidence of carrots used as food only by the end of the Middle Ages.Carrots were used by early settlers in the Colonies as a remedy for stomach ailments. Ladies in Charles I court liked to wear carrot leaves as ornament..
Choose carrots that are firm and feel heavy for their size. Avoid carrots that are flexible and bendy but don't snap when broken.
Some carrots are already cleaned and chopped and put into plastic bags for purchase in the store. These are okay if you plan on eating them fairly soon. The packages usually have an expiration date on them. Carrots are like other veggies and fruits that shouldn't be cleaned until ready to eat them.
- Fridge – Carrots are best stored in the refrigerator. They keep for quite a while before succumbing to wilting and browning.
Preparation and use
Carrots are mostly eaten raw. Grab a carrot, wash it off, clip the top and tip and munch to your heart's content. Raw carrot has a crunchy texture and a slightly swee flavor, grate them into salads or slice them vertically, like thick sticks, and they make excellent crudités served with a dip.
Carrots can also be cooked. They hold up well on the stove and for baking. They are present in soups and stews in slices or diced cubes. Carrots are one of those vegetables that take longer to soften so they, along with potatoes are added to soups early to give them time to tenderize. Simmer them to tender simplicity in a carrot and potato soup - children love this - or the delicious elegance of a Crécy soup.
They are now a common vegetable served boiled or steammed on the side of the main course. As a side dish carrots are another orange fixture, rivaling the yam and the sweet potato. They can be eaten as is with a sprig of oregano or other herb or candied with honey or brown sugar.