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What's In Season This May? Carrots!

Apr 30, 2019 04:47PM

WHAT’S IN SEASON: CARROTS

Did you know Americans consume an average of five pounds of carrots per year or roughly a quarter cup per week? Despite this relatively low intake, they’re the sixth most consumed vegetable in the U.S., following potatoes, tomatoes, onions, head lettuce, and sweet corn. What’s more, they provide a bevy of health benefits and are available locally in a rainbow of colors.

DID YOU KNOW?
People probably first cultivated the carrot thousands of years ago, in the area now known as Afghanistan. It was a small, forked purple or yellow root with a bitter, woody flavor—quite different from the carrot we know today. Locally, there are two seasons for carrots: spring and fall.

NUTRITION
Carrots are perhaps best known for their beta carotene content but are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, and K, in addition to biotin, dietary fiber, molybdenum, and potassium. What’s more, they improve cardiovascular, eye, and liver health, and help to prevent cancer. Delicious raw or cooked, they’ve been shown to be remarkably heat-stable, retaining 75 percent of their nutrients when cooked. They also regulate the amount of insulin and glucose being used and metabolized by the body, providing good support for diabetics.

SELECTION AND STORAGE
Carrots should be firm, smooth, relatively straight, and bright in color. Avoid ones that are excessively cracked or forked, as well as those that are limp or rubbery. If carrots don’t have their tops attached, look at the stem end and ensure it’s not darkly colored, as this is a sign of age. Since sugars are concentrated at the carrots’ core, those with larger diameters tend to be sweeter. Cut tops off before refrigerating. Store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel to reduce moisture loss.

For details on where to buy Placer County farm-fresh produce, wine, meat, and other products, visit placergrown.org and foothillfarmersmarket.com.

By Carol Arnold


RECIPE: Roasted Carrots with Curry and Greek Yogurt

Recipe by Courtney McDonald
2 bunches carrots, any color
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
3 pieces green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 °. While the oven is heating, trim the carrot tops and tails and scrub well. Cut large carrots in quarters lengthwise, medium carrots in half lengthwise, and leave small carrots whole. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Toss the carrots with the olive oil and curry powder and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast the carrots in the preheated oven until just tender, 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the green onion while still hot. Set aside to cool slightly.

When carrots are cool enough to handle, arrange them on a serving platter. Top with the fresh herbs and dollop with the Greek yogurt (you could also serve the yogurt on the side). Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a side dish.