This is the perfect time of year for carrots. I find they taste a little sweeter after there is a chill in the air. I try to get them with the greens attached, but remove them as soon as you get home. The pretty, leafy tops tend to leach the sweetness out of the carrots. Keep them in a dry, cool, dark place and they will keep for a long time.
Carrots are really, really good for you. They are full of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for lung health. As well, they are full of carotenoids, which are thought to prevent cancer and have been linked to blood sugar stabilization. They are also high in fibre and vitamins K and C.
Carrots are great in salads. You can shred them, but I like to shave them into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. They are great with a lime vinaigrette with a little pinch of cumin and a sprinkle of green onions and coriander. You can also use them in soups, especially carrot and ginger soup. This is great for those cool fall days when there’s a chill in the air. Carrots are also delicious roasted. Just cut into coins on the bias (this gives a larger surface area), toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, whole garlic cloves and a little rosemary (fresh or dried). Scatter them onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until tender and brown around the edges. This is an easy, delicious side. They also make a perfect roasting rack for under a roast chicken. Just peel them (or scrub them to keep more nutrients) and place them under a chicken to keep the meat out of the juices. The skin will get crisp that way and the carrots will roast and soak up all of the beautiful chicken juices.
Carrots are great for snacking. They’re crisp and sweet, a perfect vehicle for scratch-made dips and hummus. They’re usually pretty easy to get kids to eat. Baby carrots are actually just large carrots that are shaved into their little, nubbly shapes. Personally, I find baby carrots can get a little woody, so I prefer to just cut the carrots into smaller sticks for dipping. They travel well, too, so they make a great addition to a lunch box.