Carrots make a wonderful healthy snack whether raw or cooked. Except for beets, they have the highest natural sugar content of any vegetable, giving them their delicious sweetness.
Ancient carrots were purple and red. It wasn’t until centuries later that the common orange carrot we know and love was cultivated. Although most of today’s varieties are various shades of orange, check farmers’ markets and roadside produce stands for the more unusual red, white or yellow carrots.
Carrots are a sweet way to add colorful vegetables to any meal. Use them in a dessert like our carrot cake-oatmeal cookies, as a side like our recipe for herbed carrots and zucchini or even in a main dish like our slow cooker Swiss steak.
Follow these tips for cooking with carrots:
How to Choose Carrots
Available all year, carrots should be firm and nicely shaped with good color; those that are darker orange have more beta-carotene. Don’t choose ones that are shriveled, wilted or soft. Very popular are packaged ready-to-eat baby carrots, which are simply cut from the larger versions.
How to Store Carrots
If you purchase carrots with the tops on, remove the tops before storing and place carrots in a perforated plastic bag. Store them in the refrigerator with other veggies. Storing carrots—and other vegetables—with fruits causes them to deteriorate faster. They should keep well for 1 to 2 weeks.
How to Prepare Carrots
Peel carrots thinly, just to remove the tough outer layer, and cut off the ends. Baby carrots can be left whole or cut lengthwise, especially if cooking. Cut whole carrots into slices, strips or small chunks, or shred them.
How to Cook Carrots
- To boil carrots, heat 1-inch water (salted if desired) to boiling in saucepan. Add carrots. Return to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until tender: whole baby carrots for 7 to 10 minutes, carrot strips or slices for 6 to 10 minutes. Drain.
- To steam carrots, place a steamer basket in ½-inch water in saucepan or skillet (water should not touch bottom of basket). Place carrots in basket. Cover tightly and heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cook until tender: whole baby carrots for 8 to 10 minutes, carrot strips or slices for 6 to 9 minutes.
- To microwave carrots, place them in 1-quart microwavable casserole; add 2 tbsp water. Cover and microwave, stirring once, until crisp-tender: whole baby carrots for 7 to 10 minutes, carrot strips or slices for 5 to 7 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then drain.
- To roast carrots, heat oven to 375°F. Place whole baby carrots in ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Pour 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil over carrots; stir to coat. Cover and roast 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender.
1 pound of carrots = 6 to 7 medium carrots
1 cup shredded carrots = 1 1/2 medium carrots
1 cup sliced carrots = 2 medium carrots
Fresh Vegetable Cooking Chart
Betty Crocker Cookbook, 10th Edition
Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop
Recipes From America’s Small Farms by Joanne Lamb
A Passion for Vegetables by Lorenza de Meddici