The Carrot – Interesting Facts

The carrot is a root vegetable which is often likened to the turnip. Since some of the old varieties are still being cultivated today, it is available in a wide variety of colours. Aside from the classic orange colour, you can find yellow, white, red and purple variations. Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. In order to easily absorb the nutrients contained in carrots, cook the vegetable in some fat such as butter, oil or cream

Food Facts Food Facts

Carrots

Class

daucus

Calories

40 kcal per 100g

Nutrients

6.6g carbohydrate, 2.6g fibre, 0.3g fat, 0.8g protein per 100g

Season

June-April in Switzerland

Season

refrigerate or store in a dark cellar

Shelf life

2-4 weeks, winter carrots last a few months

The Carrot – Origin and Form

The carrots that we all know and love today are a form of the wild carrot plant, which belongs to the umbellifer family that originated in Asia. Ancient carrots were supposedly black in colour and were already considered food in the Stone Age. Carrots are therefore deemed one of the oldest vegetable varieties in the world still enjoyed today. They are not only versatile in many cuisines, but also available year round from various countries. The roots should always be firm and crisp. If found with the green tops still intact, these should be of a rich, green colour. Soft, dry carrots with lots of cracks or spots on the skin are not to be recommended.

Baby carrots can often be found in supermarkets with their green tops. They have a slightly pointed root and are very firm and sweet. If not used immediately, take care to cut off the green carrot tops before storing as otherwise they will extract water and dry out faster. Carrots that are available in the winter months generally have a thicker and more conical shape, usually offered pre-washed and packaged in plastic. These are best stored in the vegetable drawer of the fridge – however, make sure to remove the plastic packaging as condensation can quickly form mould. 

The Carrot – Preparation and Cooking

Whether carrots should be peeled or just rinsed in water depends on how much soil is covering them. If they can only be cleaned by peeling, try to use a peeler that takes off as little of the nutrient-rich outer skin as possible. Once clean, grated carrots make an excellent addition to a raw vegetable salad. When chopped into small pieces, carrots can be great in soups, stir-fry dishes and even smoothies or baked goods.

Carrots are quite low in calories and can therefore be combined with richer foods such as butter, cream and oil. A very popular dish is a carrot soup, which involves first cooking the carrots to make a broth or stock to be puréed and enhanced with lots of cream. With some curry powder and cinnamon, the soup can be transformed into something a bit more exotic. Carrot cake is also an all-time favourite that uses grated carrot, eggs, almonds, flour, sugar and spice to create a moist and fluffy cake. It is also full of nutritious ingredients thanks to the carrots and nuts.

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