Root for the Carrot

Carrots are popular for good reason, as they have numerous health benefits. Carrots may be white, red, yellow, orange or purple. Each type of carrot contains slightly varying amounts of antioxidants; however, they all contain many beneficial nutrients. This root vegetable is most well known for being a great source of the antioxidant beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body, making carrots a great source of this vitamin. Vitamin A is known for its benefits to your skin, eyes and immune system. Other than Vitamin A, carrots are also sources of Vitamin K and C. They contain insoluble fibre which aids in digestion. There are approximately 50 calories in one cup of cooked carrot.

Carrots can be served in their raw form or cooked. Cooking emphasizes the natural sugars in carrots creating a caramelized exterior. Carrots are an excellent source of carotene which gives carrots their bright orange color. When carrots are boiled for a long time the nutrients in the carrot can migrate towards the water. Nearly every food preparation process that involves high levels of heat, light and oxygen reduces the amount of nutrients in foods. Carrots should only be cooked until they are tender crisp to ensure maximum flavour and nutritional value.

Here are some recipes to try:

SIMPLE HONEY-GLAZED BABY CARROTS

1 1/2 to 2 pounds baby carrots
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper or chopped parsley, for garnish

Rinse carrots under cold water and put in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add honey and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice and gently stir in carrots, coating well. Continue heating, gently stirring, until carrots are hot and glazed. Serve immediately garnished with freshly ground pepper or chopped parsley, if desired.

CARROT LOAF WITH WALNUTS

1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together the white and brown sugar, shredded carrots, vegetable oil, egg and yoghurt. Combine the two mixtures, then add the chopped nuts and raisins.

Spoon the mixture into a greased and floured loaf pan (about 8x4x2 inches). Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container overnight.

Note: I sprinkled mine with icing sugar – you could also make a simple icing with icing sugar and water, or go full-tilt and slather the thing in cream cheese.

Updated from posts originally published in 2010 and 2012

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