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In season mid-autumn: Carrots

The name ‘carrot’ is Celtic and means ‘red of colour’. Like parsnips, cumin and dill, carrots have umbrella-like flower clusters and belong to the Umbelliferae family. New Zealanders love their carrots. In 2010, carrots proved to be the ninth most popular (by consumer spend) vegetable/fruit in New Zealand.

Buying

Choose firm, bright-coloured carrots. When the carrot greens have been removed check the carrot flat top doesn’t have dark colouration as this indicates the carrot is no longer fresh.

Storing

Carrots will remain fresh for up to two weeks when properly stored. Store unwashed carrots in a plastic bag in the fridge, away from produce such as apples, pears and potatoes ( – produce which produces ethylene gas, which can make carrots become bitter).

Nutrition

Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A, which we make from the betacarotene which produces their vibrant orange colour. Just one raw carrot (75g) provides 770mcg of vitamin A which is more than the 700mcg recommended daily intake (RDI) for women (the RDI for men is 900mcg), as well as 2.5g of fibre.

Using grapes

Resist peeling carrots unless they are old. Simply wash and lightly scrape if there is dirt and soil. Use raw carrots in salads, as crudités or as a between-meal snack. For a healthier crowd-pleasing carrot cake, try our makeover recipe HFG carrot cake There are also plenty of other recipes and ideas on how to use boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, barbecued, stir-fried or microwaved carrots on this website.

Fun fact: The famous six-metre-high carrot in Ohakune was built in 1984 to commemorate the pioneering work of early Chinese market gardeners.

First published: Apr 2011



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