South Carolina-grown carrots are available in the spring and fall.
Carrots are Good for You
- an excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A.
- a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C.
How to Buy Carrots
Some carrots are sold with the tops attached. Fresh-looking tops mean the carrots have been recently harvested. Carrots should have a deep orange color. Do not buy carrots that are split or odd shaped, have a lot of little roots, are oversized, or are very dark at the top end. Baby carrots are especially sweet and tender, but they may be more expensive.
One pound of carrots equals:
- 3 to 3½ cups peeled and sliced, chopped or grated raw.
How to Store Carrots
If tops are still attached, twist or cut them off. Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, where they will keep up to two weeks.
How to Use Carrots
Scrub carrots under running water with a vegetable brush. Peel, if desired, and rinse again. Trim top end of carrot, cutting off any green part.
Carrots taste sweet if eaten raw or cooked tender-crisp. Overcooked carrots lose their sweet taste and some of their nutrients.
Instead of ordinary carrot sticks, try serving raw carrots in a variety of shapes: angle-cut; coins; match sticks; or shredded. Or, marinate carrot sticks overnight in the refrigerator in leftover pickle juice.
Grated raw carrot can be added to:
- slaw or salads.
- muffin, cake, soft cookie or sweet bread batters.
- meat loaf, meatballs or spaghetti sauce.
- peanut butter, to be served as a sandwich filling.
After cooking carrots, try seasoning them with:
- a little margarine and ginger, cinnamon or curry powder.
- a drizzle of honey or orange juice concentrate.
- a splash of lemon juice.
- Add carrot chunks to stews, soups or pot roasts.
- For color, steam match stick-cut carrots along with green beans. Or, add them to a stir-fry dish.
2 cups shredded raw carrots
½ cup raisins
½ cup lite Ranch-style salad dressing (or combination of lite mayonnaise and plain low-fat yogurt)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Directions: Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Chill and serve. Serves 4.
Variation: Add chopped pineapple, apples, oranges, peanuts, or shredded coconut.
Calories: 112 per serving
Fat: 3 grams per serving
Monster Carrot Cookies:
½ cup margarine
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup honey* (or 1½ cups sugar plus ¼ cup water)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup raisins
2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup whole grain cereal
Vegetable spray or oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl, cream margarine until it is soft. Mix in carrots, honey, eggs and raisins.
In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Combine with wet mixture and mix well.
Drop from a spoon onto lightly oiled or sprayed baking sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly with a spoon. Bake about 10 minutes, until lightly brown. Yield: 36 large cookies.
Calories: 115 per large cookie
Fat: 3 grams per large cookie
*Note: Honey should not be fed to infants less than 12 months of age.
Carrot Lentil Soup:
2 cups (1 pound bag) uncooked lentils
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cloves minced garlic (or ½ tsp. powdered garlic)
8 cups water (or broth or 6 cups water and 2 cups tomato juice)
Pepper to taste
1 bay leaf (optional)
Directions: Rinse lentils and put in a large pot. Combine all ingredients in pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve, or refrigerate for next day. The flavor improves the second day. Serves 8.
Variation: Serve with grated cheese sprinkled on top.
Calories: 116 per serving
Fat: 0 grams per serving