Carrots have been a staple in many countries for thousands of years, however, it is only since the 16th century that they have been orange. Earliest records show carrots were purple; later records show red, yellow and white carrots were grown. Orange is the main type found in New Zealand and can be found year round.
Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, with one medium carrot supplying more than the recommended dietary intake for a day. They are also a source of dietary fibre, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium. The main phytonutrients in carrots are the carotenoids and falcarinol which are being studied for their protection against some cancers.
Did you know; baby peeled carrots are actually larger carrots that are trimmed down to ‘baby size’. They will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. As they’re already peeled, a light frosting may appear on the surface; place in cold water for a few minutes and they will return to their brilliant orange colour.
Refrigerate in plastic bags until ready to use to keep them fresh.
Carrots are very versatile. Bake, barbecue, boil, braise, microwave, roast, steam, stew, or stir fry. Carrots should be cooked until they are tender and depending on preference, still slightly crunchy. Cooked, tender carrots may be mashed or puréed.
Carrots can be eaten raw as snacks, or cooked and used in savoury and some sweet dishes, such as carrot cake or muffins.