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Carrots

Harvest from Home: Carrots

Carrots

Summer is the perfect season to celebrate sweet and crunchy carrots. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy them more often.


More than a side dish

An excellent source of vitamin A and dietary fibre, delicious carrots are primarily known as a side dish – but they have so much more to give. Quite simply, they make every meal better. With carrots, you can have your veggies for breakfast…and lunch and dinner too!

For breakfast at the cottage

Whip up some spice and nut-filled carrot muffins or carrot cake pancakes

For a light lunch

Shave carrots into a crunchy slaw or make crispy carrot chips and sprinkle them on a mixed green salad

For a weekday dinner

Enrich your tomato sauce with carrots, celery and onion and whip up your very own Spaghetti Bolognese


Getting to know carrots

The carrot originated in Central Asia, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. The ancestor of today’s carrot was not orange, but mauve – almost black! After cross-breeding, the yellow variety was produced but it was very tough and sinewy. Its texture improved over time and eventually, the orange version we now enjoy appeared. Purple, red, white and yellow carrots are also produced, and these are lovely additions to salads or combined and roasted.

Carrots are available all year round at Metro. In Ontario, these sweet-tasting root vegetables are mainly grown in the Bradford area north of Toronto. In 2011, farmers produced more than 482 pounds of carrots – that’s more than the weight of the concrete in the CN Tower!


Carrots and Nutrition

Not just for rabbits, carrots contain vitamin A, which helps us see better at night. To preserve the nutrients that are located just below the carrot’s surface, try rinsing and scrubbing carrots with a vegetable brush rather than peeling the skin.

Carrots are also a source of potassium, vitamins C and K, and fibre. They’re also low in calories, so they’re the perfect nutritious snack.


Selecting and storing carrots

  • Select carrots that are firm and bright.
  • Avoid peeling carrots too far in advance of using them as their vitamins diminish when exposed to air.
  • Carrots can be refrigerated for two to three weeks and are best stored in a perforated plastic bag. As long as they are kept cold, carrots will retain their flavour.

Expert Tip

If you notice that the top part of a carrot (close to the leaves) is green, remove this section of the vegetable when prepping. The top of the carrot turns green from exposure to light, which can make it bitter.

 

Raw carrots are refreshing and crunchy

Raw carrots are the perfect summertime food. High in water content, they’re very refreshing, and their sweet taste and satisfying crunch make them ideal for summer slaws and salads.

As a snack

Carrots can be cut into sticks and served with cooling dips

In a smoothie

Blend fresh carrot juice with almond milk, baby spinach, apples and maple syrup.


In a salad

For a light, mayo-free summertime carrot salad, shred carrots and toss them with chopped mint, cilantro, green onions and a squeeze of fresh lime – delicious!

In popsicles

Carrots in icy treats? Why not! These stunning popsicles feature homemade carrot juice as the star ingredient.

See the recipe for Carrot Cake Ice-Pops

Carrot Cake Ice-Pops

In a hearty slaw

Combine shredded carrots and Chinese cabbage with diced chicken, julienned apples, fresh herbs, white wine vinegar and seasonings for a fantastic light lunch

In your spring rolls

The crunch of carrots makes them suitable for texture-focused recipes. Instead of frying your spring rolls, try this lighter version as a perfect patio snack.

See the recipe for Feta Spring Rolls with Salsa

Feta Spring Rolls with Salsa

Cooked carrots are sweet and tender

In baking

Bake a batch of carrot muffins or add mashed carrots to oatmeal cookies

In soup

Purée carrots, onions and stock to create a nourishing soup – you can even serve it cold!

In pasta

Enrich your tomato sauce with diced carrots, celery and onions

On the grill

Yes, you can grill carrots and they are absolutely delicious!

1Preheat the grill to medium and then wash, peel and chop carrots into 1-inch pieces.

2Place the carrots in a grill basket and set on the grill.

3Next, brush the carrots a mix of melted butter (don’t use too much or you’ll get flare-ups), balsamic vinegar and chopped rosemary. Give the basket a shake to distribute the glaze.

4The carrots will take about 20 minutes to cook. Shake or turn the basket (depending on the type you use) once or twice during cooking and brush on more of the butter mixture as needed.


 

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