Introduction

This weeks’ vegetable in season is the humble carrot. But as it turns out, the carrot is not so humble. It has a lot to boast about! The young carrots are in season from June to August. These little beauties are sweet, tender and aromatic. 

Carrots are one of the most eco-friendly vegetables you can eat with a carbon rating of 45g for 1 kg compared to onions that have a rating of 80g, potatoes 240g and beef 15,000g.  Since the 1990’s British farmers have developed a method of being able to harvest carrots for 11 months of the year. They have done this by covering the crop with a thick layer of straw to protect them from the winter frost. This acts like a larder and helps to keep the carrots fresh and available for harvest most of the year.

Young carrots, which are in season at the moment, can be used in a number of ways. There is no need to do anything complicated with them; just steam or boil for 3 to 5 minutes depending on how crunchy you like them. You can add some olive oil and herbs like thyme and tarragon to make them into a side dish.

Make the most of the vegetable and use the tops too! Don’t worry, they are not poisonous. In fact they are in the same family as parsley, coriander and other herbs. Use them to make a pesto, sauté or in place of herbs. They can also be used in stock. The carrot leaves taste a bit like parsley. They can be a little tough, so make sure to use the feathery part and not the tough stems.

Carrot

Carrots get their distinct orange colour from beta-carotene. Carrots are one of the best sources of carotene which is a strong antioxidant. Carrots are also an excellent source of vitamins B and C, as well as calcium pectate. Calcium pectate is a unique pectin fibre that has been shown to have cholesterol lowering properties. Carrots are constructed of 87% water, are rich in mineral salts and vitamins (B, C, D and E).  Eaten raw, it is rich in vitamins (A, C, B6) potassium, thiamine, folic acid and magnesium.

I used the tops to make a pesto and roasted the carrots in olive oil, spring onions, garlic cloves, thyme and sea salt which made a great side dish.

Carrots image

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