Produce Pick of the Week: Crunchy carrots!

One of my favorites, crunchy and colorful, carrots! Carrots are part of the Umbelliferae, think umbrella looking, family including parsley, fennel, parsnips, and dill. They are extremely diverse in size and have over 100 different varieties, ranging from 2 inches to 3 feet long and from white to purple (originally) in color. They are sweet, crunchy, and minty tasting while their greens are incredibly fresh and a bit bitter. 

 

Of all the most commonly consumed vegetables, carrots contain the highest amounts of vitamin A carotenes with two medium carrots providing more than 4 times the recommended daily value of vitamin A (holy cow!). They are also an amazing source of vitamin K, biotin, B6, potassium, and my favorite, fiber. Due to their high phytochemical properties, carrots are also an excellent source of antioxidant properties to help with heart health and cancer prevention. But what about vision? It is true carrots can help promote night vision especially due to their beta-carotene content which can protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.  

 

I am almost 99% positive you have ate a carrot before, but what about buying them and new ways to prepare it? If your carrots are orange, look to make sure they are deep orange and they are hard, crisp, and smooth. Carrots are extremely versatile and can be cut in whatever way you please and then added to fruit salads, baked goods, and soups or eaten alone steamed or on your favorite salad. I love shredding mine up and adding them to my cortido kraut or a favorite slaw recipe. And by the way, cooked carrots are actually HIGHER in beta-cartons bioavaibility than raw carrots, so a little reminder that raw is not always necessarily best! Tell me all about your love for carrots! Or have you fallen out of love due to elementary school baby slimy baby carrot nightmares and need a little friendly reintroduction? These beauties were picked during my time at the American Botanical Council, tasted so good fresh out of the ground.