WHAT IS A CARROT?
This root vegetable is a taper that comes in a variety of colors (red, white, blue, purple), but is most often orange. Carrots take 3 to 4 months to reach their full size. They grow best when planted next to companion plants that are fragrant like onions and leeks. Popular in cuisines throughout the world for thousands of years, carrots originated in Iran and Afganistan. Originally in Europe the same name was used for both carrots and parsnips.
WHY ARE CARROTS GOOD FOR YOU?
They are rich in fiber, vitamins and beta carotene. While the latter is in theory great for your eyes, you’d have to consume so much beta carotene you’d turn orange first. However well before then your body turns beta carotene into an anti-oxidant (an added health benefit). This low calorie, highly nutritious vegetable is a great snack or healthy way to sweeten a meal (being naturally rich in sugar).
WHEN ARE CARROTS IN SEASON?
While they are available year round in most supermarkets, they are harvested both in the fall and late spring.
HOW SHOULD CARROTS BE STORED?
If you buy the carrots young enough, first cut off the green tops. While they are edible (sautee in olive oil and garlic), they also suck the water out of this vegetable. Then keep the whole, unpeeled carrot submerged in water in your refrigerator. Change the water every few days and they’ll last for up to a month.
WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO CUT A CARROT?
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CAN CARROTS REALLY TURN ME ORANGE?
Yes! If you consume too many carrots, your body can’t process all of the beta carotene. Instead the excess is dumped into your bloodstream. Your skin then absorbs this pigment which gives you an orange hue. This temporary condition is called carotenemia and is common in infants.