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By Brenna Thompson, MS, RD, LD
October 5, 2017
Last month I harvested what felt like a mountain of beets, this month it’s carrots. Typically thought of as something to throw in a kid’s lunch box, carrots are much more than just a vehicle for dip. The humble carrot is a potent nutrient powerhouse. For instance, just one-half cup of diced, raw carrots contains over 450% of the recommended intake of beta carotene, a form of vitamin A, which is very important to supporting our eyesight. That half-cup of carrots also contains 2g of fiber, which has been shown to help remove toxins and excess estrogen in our digestive tract. Carrots are great, but are high in sugar, so remember a serving size is one-half cup.
Random/fun fact, did you know that carrots used to be white? It wasn’t until wild carrots were domesticated that they started turning orange, yellow, and even purple. Carrots are an important part of Middle Eastern cuisine and as exploration and trade developed around the world, carrots were incorporated into foods used in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. It’s no surprise that carrots pair well with herbs and spices found in all of these regions. For international flavor using carrots, try our Greek-Style Lamb Stew. Examples of spices that pair well with carrots include ginger, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, all spice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and turmeric. Feel free to add any of those to the following recipes.
If you haven’t tried it yet, let me suggest whipping up a batch of our Lil’ Dipper recipe. It’s perfect for carrot or celery sticks, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas or cherry tomatoes.
Growing up, one of my favorite recipes came from my mom who would make a carrot salad for potlucks. This summer I’ve made several variations of this recipe, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
1 lb. carrots, shredded
2/3 c. of any combination of the following add-ins: diced pineapple, raisins, shelled pistachios, chopped walnuts or pecans, shredded unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds
2-3 Tbsp freshly minced parsley or cilantro
¼ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. sour cream or yogurt
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp vinegar (whatever kind you have) or lemon juice
Combine the shredded carrots and your chosen add-ins in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Cover and refrigerate until dinner time.
Along with the tender meat of a Pot Roast, the next best part has to be the cooked carrots. They take on such a great flavor after slow cooking for hours in the flavorful liquid. If you don’t have three to six hours to wait for delicious pot roast carrots, then do the next best thing and just roast them.
Depending upon how thick you slice your carrots, they will take 20-40 minutes of roasting at 375-400 degrees. Make sure to toss them with plenty of melted butter, coconut oil, bacon grease or olive oil before spreading them onto a baking sheet. Give them a stir half-way through cooking. Depending upon what you are serving them with, try adding a few dashes of the above mentioned spices.
My husband said he wanted to marry me after only four months of dating when I told him that my wedding cake would be a carrot cake. A little over five years later, we both made good on that promise and served carrot cake at our wedding. For a healthier everyday version, replace the blueberries with shredded carrots in our Blueberry Oat Muffin recipe, top them with a few tablespoons of cream cheese and you’ve made a delicious and balanced treat.
Save all the carrot peelings by tossing them into a Tupperware or plastic bag and freezing them to use when making your own bone broth. Or give them to friends who own pigs, goats, horses or chickens.