Carrots are a Healthy Addition to our Diets
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Carrots arrived in America with the Pilgrims and soon became part of the staple diet by the native Indians who adopted it as a food source. Where would we be without this crunchy, sweet, nutritious vegetable?
Carrots are healthy additions to your diet. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, as well as maintain eye health.
Carrots also provide potassium, vitamin K and fiber. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure; vitamin K helps build and maintain strong bones; and fiber helps control cholesterol and keeps you regular. Carrots also are loaded with beta-carotene, a compound naturally converted to vitamin A in the liver when consumed. The deeper orange the carrot, the more beta-carotene.
Farm fresh carrots are available at local farmers markets from May to June and November to December in our area. You might be lucky enough to find them in a range of colors including purple, scarlet, deep orange, as well as white.
You have the choice of fresh carrots with green tops, bagged carrots and baby carrots. You might be curious to learn that baby carrots are not a variety. They were created in the late 1980’s as a way of making use of carrots that are too twisted or knobby for sale as full-size. You can find them in the supermarket, in school vending machines, even as seasonal promotions at Halloween!
When selecting carrots, choose those with a deep orange color that are firm and without splits. Select young, slim carrots for the most sweetness. Although baby carrots may be more convenient, they are not as sweet as the slimmer young carrots. If the carrots have blemishes, cracks, wilting greens, flabby, rubbery or soft texture or “sunburned” green area at the top, avoid those.
If buying carrots with the green tops still attached, remove the tops by twisting or cutting them off before storing. Leaving the green tops will deplete the carrot of both moisture and nutrients leaving you with a limp carrot.
Carrots may be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they will keep up to 2 weeks. Do not store carrots near apples, bananas or melons; the gasses in these fruits tend to increase the bitter compounds present in carrots. If processed properly, they will keep for 10 to 12 months in the freezer.
Before consuming carrots, wash under cool, running water. Once they are cut, chopped or cooked, they should be placed in the refrigerator within two hours, or frozen in plastic freezer containers.
Carrots can be cooked almost any way. Sauté, roast, grill, stew, or simply eat them raw. If you have thicker, older carrots they will need to be peeled before using, but tender young carrots can be lightly scrubbed before being added to a dish.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.
This recipe for Cinnamon Glazed Baby Carrots are from our Living Well with Diabetes curriculum and are always a favorite. I love to serve them with grilled chicken. This recipe makes four, 1-cup servings. Each serving provides: 67 calories; 3 g total fat; 0 mg saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 149 mg sodium; 2 g total fiber; 10 g carbohydrates and 260 mg potassium.
Cinnamon-Glazed Baby Carrots
4 cup baby carrots, rinsed and split lengthwise if very thick
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Place the carrots in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to barely cover the carrots. Cover with lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are easily pierced with a sharp knife. While cooking, combine margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan, and melt together over low heat. Stir well to combine ingredients. Drain carrots, leaving them in the saucepan. Pour cinnamon mixture over carrots. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the carrots are thoroughly coated and the glaze thickens slightly. Serve warm.
By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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