Co-op Blog

(Beta) Carotene Up with Local Carrots & Recipe

Now is the time to stock up on locally grown, organic bunched carrots from Ralph’s Greenhouse — they’re on sale for 99¢ each, regularly $2.49 per bundle!

Raw carrots — whole, grated, sliced, or chopped — is a crunchy classic, and wildly popular in healthful juiced drinks. Despite being 88 percent water, carrots are also a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are easy to use in the kitchen: grate fresh, bright carrots to add a splash of vibrant color to leafy salads and coleslaws.

While eating carrots won’t improve your night vision, this root vegetable is a great source of beta-carotene, the red-orange pigment that the body turns into vitamin A, good for (among other things) eye health. For the highest beta-carotene content, choose carrots with the most saturated red-orange color and cook them, as cooking releases more of the beta-carotene and makes them sweeter. Disclaimer: it’s true that eating massive amounts of carrots can cause a person’s skin to turn yellowish orange, especially on the palms or soles. It’s easily reversed by cutting carrot consumption—no harm done.

carrotsaladMoroccan Carrot Radish Salad Recipe

Shredded salads are incredibly quick and easy, when you use the food processor. In this recipe, the peppery kick of radishes and sweet crunch of carrots are enhanced with the tangy lemon dressing. Sort through the radish leaves, discarding any wilted ones, and chop the good ones to toss with the salad.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large carrots
  • 4 large red radishes
  • Radish leaves, chopped, or spinach
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted, unsalted peanuts (optional)
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Directions:  Grate the carrots and radishes coarsely. Wash and sort the radish leaves, and chop or julienne. Put them in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk in the olive oil gradually. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss to mix. Just before serving, add the pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and feta cheese and toss.

Carrot selection and storage tips: Look for intact green tops, feathery and bright, ideally not wilted. If you buy carrots with the green tops attached, remove the greens before storing and use them or discard them. Left intact, they’ll draw moisture from the carrots. Store carrots in a plastic or vegetable storage bag or wrapped in a paper towel in the coolest part of the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For quick, healthful snacking, place trimmed, cut carrot sticks upright in a glass half-full of water in the refrigerator alongside your favorite dip. Keep them away from apples and pears—exposure to the ethylene gas they release as they ripen may cause carrots to become bitter.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.