Carrots belong to the parsley family. They originate in the Middle East and Central Asia. The ancient Greeks appreciated them for their aphrodisiac properties. The Roman Emperor Caligula is said to have fed his senators carrots to make them manlier. Early Europeans also appreciated carrots. They also used them in medicine. There are over 100 varieties, ranging from orange to purple black in color, and also baby carrots. The carrots that are purple or in color change to a deep orangish/ red color with streaks of purple in them when cooked sometimes.
Heirloom Baby Golden, Sweet, and Crimson Carrots
The carrot itself is a large tap root. The root is slender and long, and it has lacy green foliage. The lacy green foliage needs to be removed as soon as possible after being picked because it draws the moisture out of the carrot. The skin on the carrot is edible and can be removed if desired.
Carrots are available year round. They are high in vitamin A, and beta carotene. They help prevent cancer and heart disease. One carrot has over 5 mg of vitamin A, which helps maintain good eyesight, fight infection, and support bone growth.
Several hundred varieties exist, but carrots are sold more by shape and type than by variety. There are four main types of carrots:
o Imperator- Long (9-10 inches), small shoulders, tapered tip; used primarily for fresh pack. This is the most common variety.
o Nantes- Medium length (6 inches), uniform diameter, blunt tip; used for bunching, slicing, and mini carrots. They have good eating quality and are especially suited for local sales. They normally mature earlier than Imperator types.
o Danvers- Large, medium long (7 inches), processing type; used for dicing and slicing. They require a long season (120 days) to develop tonnage and high sugar content.
o Chantenay- Large shoulders, short (5 inches), usually with a large, distinctly colored core; used for dicing. These are older cultivators and usually not of the quality required by processors. They are conical in shape. They are now used primarily by home gardeners.
There are also varieties that are completely round, or globe shaped- Planet and Thumbilina are most common varieties.
A la crecy refers to dished that are cooked or garnished with carrots.
cheese, esp. cheddar, parmesan, provolone or Romano
nuts, esp. hazelnuts and walnuts
vinegar, red wine
Crimson Carrot Baby Yellow Carrots
© 2012 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2012, September 12). Carrots. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net