As a forward, I must admit that I think carrots are one of the most underrated vegetables out there… Commonly thought of as just one third of mirepoix, it seems carrots seldomly get the spotlight, though (especially at this time of the year) they deserve it!
1. Carrots are a member of the parsley family (who knew!). Makes sense if you look at their loosely leafy tops and are a root vegetable – meaning the part we eat (most of the time) is actually grown in the ground.
2. Around for over 2,000 years, carrots are known for their health-giving properties and uber-high vitamin A content which our bodies convert from the beta carotene.
3. The best tasting carrots come from harvests that occur once the weather has turned cold or there has been a light frost. The cold temperatures increase the sugar content in the carrot making it much tastier.
4. Tipping the scales at just under 19 pounds, the world’s largest carrot was grown in 1998 in Alaska.
5. The city of Holtville, California promotes itself as “Carrot Capital of the World”, and holds an annual festival devoted entirely to the carrot.
6. Though carrots are usually orange, many different varieties including the Beta Sweet or Maroon Carrot have been developed. Though these “purple carrots” are beautiful to look at raw, once cooked, they lose most of their purple color and taste the same as most orange varieties.
Image taken at the Jean Talon Market in Montreal this summer.
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