After a frantic March, I am back on track, so here goes!
C is for Carrot, Cucumber, Cilantro and Coconut - our April “C” foods.
Starting with carrots… the “good for your eyes” food. Carrots are a root food and grow underground. California grows carrots year around, however, the very best tasting carrots will be those grown locally and fresh in their season, which is summer and fall.
Carrots are a member of the Umbelliferare family, which includes parsnips, fennel, caraway, cumin and dill. That is due to the umbrella-like flower clusters that are part of the plant. They come in the familiar orange color, as well as purple, red, white, yellow and black.
Carrots are a superior source of Vitamin A and have many anti-oxidant properties, which benefit anyone’s diet. Beta-carotene helps with vision, particularly night vision, and carotenoids promote good colon and lung health. They are also rich in Vitamin K, C, B6 and dietary fiber. One cup chopped carrots contain 52 calories with 428% of your Vitamin A requirement, 13% of Vitamin C and 14% of your recommended dietary fiber. The minimal amount of fat and sodium occur naturally.
When selecting carrots, look for firm, smooth, straight carrots with bright color – the more orange in color, the more beta-carotene in the carrot. Storing carrots is easy. They will keep longer than many other veggies. Simply store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel or plastic bag. Don’t store them with apples, pears, potatoes or fruits or veggies that produce ethylene gas. If the green tops are attached, cut them off before storing.
Want to grab a quick snack, peel a carrot and enjoy. Carrots are a wonderful (and to me necessary) addition to stew or that roast in the crock-pot. They do well in soups also. I also like to serve them with my Buffalo Chicken tenders. I like the sweet contrast of the carrot to the spice in the chicken.
Food52.com had a recent carrot showdown and here are the recipes and links for the two finalists: Roasted Carrot Soup and Glazed Carrots with Braised Bibb Lettuce. Check out the blog and the recipes. Go ahead, try them and vote for your own favorite.
Check back next week and we’ll talk about another “C is for….” food.