It may not look it but the humble carrot is a member of the parsley family, and it's closely related to the parsnip. An excellent source of Vitamin A and carotene, the nutrients that help us to see in the dark. This root vegetable, orange in colour, with its sweet flavour is often one of the first foods given to children.
How to cook
Carrots are an easy vegetable to include in your cooking. They can be pureed, mashed, steamed, roasted, boiled or simply washed and eaten raw, grated or in batons. Combined with onions and celery they form the base mix of many classic dishes, such as stews, casseroles, soups and ragu-style sauces.
Traditionally grown in the East of the UK they are now grown all across the country. New season carrots appear in the spring, from mid-May onwards.
You can buy organic or non-organic carrots, and sometimes you can find bunches with the leaves still intact. At the start of the season, they will be small and thin, they grow larger but get a bit tougher as the season progresses. It's often said that organic carrots have more flavour.
Top and tail all carrots before cooking. Organic or young carrots need a quick scrub and older ones will benefit from a light peel, don't go too deep or you'll lose the nutritional benefits.
Remove any plastic packaging and store in the salad drawer. Fresh carrots should keep for a week.
Cook small, trimmed carrots in a wide pan with crushed garlic, butter and thyme leaves with just enough stock or water to cover. Cover and simmer until tender and then turn up the heat and reduce the liquid to glaze the carrots.
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