Choose carrots which are bright orange and firm. The leaves should be fresh and green if still attached.
Refrigerate in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper section for up to a week. Don't store carrots with other fruits or vegetables to avoid creating a bitter flavour.
Wash, then chop off both ends before using carrots. And only peel carrots if they are really old. They can be sliced, diced or grated, eaten raw with or without skin, or used as an ingredient in a variety of meals, drinks and desserts.
Beta-carotene is largely responsible for the orange colour of carrots. This compound, from foods, plays an important role in cancer prevention. It's more readily absorbed from cooked, grated or puréed carrots. Scientists are excited by another compound found in carrots – falcarinol – which also appears to have cancer-fighting abilities. Falcarinol is more available to us when carrots are eaten raw.
4 quick ways with carrots
- This tasty side dish goes with meat, fish or chicken. Grate (or thinly slice) ginger, carrot and cucumber. Mix together with bean sprouts and onion, then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, vinegar, and fish sauce.
- Try a fresh carrot salad. Simply combine 2 cups grated carrots with 1/2 cup raisins in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon grated onion for added flavour if you like, and dress salad with a little reduced-fat mayonnaise or oil-free French dressing.
- Boost the health factor of meatballs, patties or rissoles by sneaking in some carrot. Add some grated carrot to the mixture before cooking. This adds a slightly sweeter taste and extra nutrients to your dish.
- Try a roast vege mix of carrot, sweet potato, red capsicum and pumpkin as a side dish. Cut vegetables in large pieces, lightly coat with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.
Did you know? Carrots weren't always orange. Hundreds of years ago they were white, purple, red, yellow, black and green. And the vegetable's green feathery leaves were once used to decorate hairstyles and hats!