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10 ways with Carrots

Carrots are cheap, nutritious, and in my view delicious. They are also far more versatile than most people think.

Carrots contain a large quantity of a compound called Beta-Carotene, which is an anti-oxidant (think anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-chronic inflammation) that your body converts to vitamin A. It is this that gives rise to the "carrots help you see in the dark" saying - as vitamin A is necessary for good eyesight and healthy eyes. As well as this carrots contain useful amounts of vitamin K (helps with good blood clotting), potassium and several B vitamins, and are rich in soluble fibre.

A Simple Carrots:

  • Raw crunchy carrot sticks: Can be eaten alone or dipped in hummous, flavoured or plain mayonnaise, cream cheese, pate or even soft boiled egg.

  • Raw and grated: They can be added to salads or stirred with some finely shredded cabbage and a combination of mayonnaise and yogurt for a traditional coleslaw. (Side Fact - Coleslaw apparently originated in New Zealand, and according to the Kiwis should never have onion in it .. .but I will leave that to your taste buds. The yogurt is used either with mayonnaise or alone, to give a quick and minor fermentation reaction, softening the vegetables and increasing their available nutrition by breaking down their cell walls)

  • Steamed or boiled: have fun cutting into all different shapes - circles, sticks, small cubes, long slanting chunks - and depending on the size of your pieces cook for 5-10 minutes

  • Roasted: cut into approx 5cm long 2-3cm wide chunks and toss with a little olive oil or melted butter. Add either some ground black pepper or some ground coriander +/- dried coriander leaf. Stick in a hot over for 20-40 mins depending on your oven and your desired finish.

  • Mashed/pureed: cut into chunks and boil in only a small amount of water until soft (10+ mins). Use a masher or stick blender to mash to a pulp. Add a bit of salt, pepper and butter. Can be also combined with other root veg.

  •  Pickled: Grate or thinly slice carrots and press into a sterilised and still warm glass jar. Add bay leaves and juniper berries (do not use juniper berries if pregnant) if you wish. Bring some pickling vinegar up to the boil and whilst still bubbling pour into the warm glass jar, until carrots are covered. Seal with lid and leave to cool. Can be eaten as soon as cold or left for a few days to mature. - keeps in the fridge about 4 weeks. Eat like all other pickles.

B Carrot Recipes:

  • Halva: A sweet Indian desert, sort of similar to rice pudding really. There are loads of recipes out there, but the basics are as follows - Grate carrots, and put in heavy bottomed pan with some milk, a cinnamon stick (or tsp ground cinnamon), some cardamom, and optionally a bit of turmeric (gives a more earthy flavour) and/or some cloves (add a slight spiciness). Put a lid on and simmer slowly until complete mush. Turn off heat, stir in sugar or honey to taste (I only use about 1 tbs, but most recipes say a lot more than that) and some double cream. Serve warm.

  • Carrot Cake: I'm sure you can find many recipes. This was originally a recipe from the wartime Ministry of Food, but it was clearly one of the better ones and has stuck around, albeit with added sugar (which is actually not needed at all to make the cake), butter and cream cheese!

  • Carrot pancake: make pureed carrot from above. Break eggs into a bowl, add a little flour to pull it into a dollop-like batter, then add the carrot puree. If needed add a little extra milk or water to create a pancake batter consistency, then cook as usual for pancakes. Best served filled with curried potatoes and chickpeas, but also remarkably good with stewed apple and a little maple syrup.

  • Carrot infused quiche: Similar to the pancakes, simply add carrot puree into the beaten eggs, with some salt and pepper. Part fill a pastry case with other quiche fillings (ham, cheese, roasted mediterranean veg etc - avoid fish, it doesn't work at all with the carrot flavour-wise) then pour the egg and carrot mixture over and bake for 40 mins like a normal quiche

I hope you enjoy some new ideas here, and as I am always saying with food - muck about with it and try your own ideas

My original blog posts on specific food ingredients were requested by and therefore are broader in terms of the dietary suggestions given as the RFC is careful not to align with any particular diet setting.

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