Carrot Tips and Recipes
Scrub rather than peel carrots; the outer layer of any plant is the first line of defense against UV rays, mold, insects, fungus and disease; this is why so much that is good for us, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, are to be found on the skin, and tissue just below the surface. The more phytonutreints occurring in the outer layers, the better the plant or vegetable can defend itself from an often hostile environment. Consuming them, perhaps the plant's worst nightmare, will give us the same defense mechanisms the plant has evolved to protect itself.
Cook carrots whole if possible, don't slice or chop until after they are cooked. Steam or saute, rather than boiling them. When you boil vegetables many water soluble nutrients, remembering that many are on the outside, are leached into the water. If you must boil them at least do it with whole carrots; and as Adele Davis advised decades ago, save the liquid in a dedicated ice cube tray to be used in soups and gravies, etc.. Lyn and I have been doing this for many years. Serve carrots, or cook them, with some oil or fat, which can give you eight times more beta-carotene than eating raw "baby" carrots from the grocery store. Those supposed "baby" carrots are actually carved from larger carrots, meaning that they lose all of the outer surface where so many nutrients are found, and their integrity has been compromised making them less nutritious. We often simply saute our carrots in some butter, on a very low flame, until they are firm/soft, which may take 20 minutes.
Freezing carrots is ill-advised, as the process, including peeling and processing, will destroy half their antioxidant value. Cooked carrots may reduce your risk of cancer as they contain a cancer fighting compound called falcarinol. Studies have shown whole-cooked carrots have 25% more of this substance than ones cut prior to cooking; also, in a blind taste comparison volunteers found the flavor to be superior, which is due to the fact that the sugars are retained more fully in a whole-cooked carrot. Raw vs. cooked: It has been shown that those who consumed carrots cooked, as above, absorbed three times as much beta-carotene than those who ate raw carrots. The cooking process breaks down the very tough cell walls in carrots, releasing the nutrients, making them available. The only exception I feel I should add is that one of those super-blenders or juicers may make the nutrients available from a raw carrot. Storing carrots: The very slow respiration rate of carrots makes them good keepers, as long as they are refrigerated. While Twin Springs' never have the greens left on, the best advice is similar to our celery advice; cut off greens if you purchase bunches that retain them; as with the celery they will rapidly go limp if the foliage is there to breathe out the moisture. It is best to keep the stored carrots away from ethylene gas, a lesson we have had to pay great attention to, as some of ours were inadvertently exposed to the gas given off by apples stored next door. Seal the carrots in a plastic bag, without ventilation, if planning to keep them for more than a week or so in a refrigerator which has any ethylene producing fruits or veggies. Apples, onions, potatoes and many others give off this natural gas, the same which is used to ripen green bananas and tomatoes. You won't find Twin Springs doing anything of the sort! Below is a list of which is which; some overlap, being both producers as well as being sensitive to this natural hormone. For instance, potatoes should not be stored with onions, though both do well in dark, cool, ventilated storage. Potatoes give off as well as become adversely affected by ethylene, as they will soften and start to sprout when exposed. Ethylene producing foods: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas (ripe), blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, figs, green onions, guavas, grapes, honeydew, kiwifruit, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, prunes and tomatoes
Ethylene sensitive foods: Asparagus, bananas (unripe), blackberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kalettes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, kale, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, watercress and watermelon
Apple Cider Glazed Carrots
Ingredients 2 pounds medium TSFF carrots 1 cup TSFF pure apple cider
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, or to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Instructions Cut out a round of wax paper to fit just inside a 12" heavy skillet, then butter one side of the paper.
Add the scrubbed whole carrots to the pan along with the cider, water, butter bits, 1/4 tsp. black pepper and 3/4 tsp. salt.
Cover with the wax paper round, buttered side down.
Simmer, rolling carrots occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and carrots are tender and glazed, about 50 minutes.
Carrot - Ginger Soup
Ingredients 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter
1 & 1/2 cups coarsely chopped TSFF onion
1 Tbs. finely chopped or coarsely grated peeled ginger
1 & 1/2 tsp. minced or pressed TSFF garlic
1 & 1/4 lbs. TSFF carrots, not peeled, only scrubbed and chopped (about 3 cups)
2 TSFF tomatoes, skin on, chopped, but not seeded.
1 & 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 cups, or more, chicken or veggie stock, or canned low salt broth
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
4 Tbs. sour cream
1 small carrot, scrubbed and grated for garnish
Melt butter in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
Add onion; saute 4 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic; saute 2 minutes.
Add chopped carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel; saute 1 minute.
Add 3 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.
Puree soup with an immersion blender, (or if you prefer, do it in a food processor or standard blender in small batches.)
Return soup to pot, mix in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
This soup may be made a day ahead, just cover and chill.
Bring soup to a simmer, thinning with more stock if desired; adjust seasoning if desired.
Ladle into bowls and top each one with sour cream and grated carrot.