Happy International Carrot Day!
Yes, carrots have their own day of celebration on the 4th April each year. And rightly so! here are some fun carrot-y facts, and tips to help you get the most out of this humble yet mighty vegetable!
- Of all the veggies, the humble carrot contains the highest amount of Vitamin A (as beta-carotene). The more orange your carrots are, the more beta-carotene you’re getting. This wonder-nutrient supports our vision (and night vision), helps improve the health of our skin and gut lining, and protects our cells with its anti-oxidant activity. They’re also a good source of vitamin E and potassium.
2. Some vegetables are more nutritious when cooked, including the carrot. When we eat raw carrots only a small amount beta-carotene is released during digestion. To really benefit from what’s inside we’re better off eating them cooked which can release around 12x more nutrition! Fermenting carrots also increases the availability of beta-carotene.
3. Beta-carotene is fat-soluble, so eating your cooked carrots with fats/oils will your body absorb this nutrient. This could be done by drizzling olive oil over, or eating your carrots with a full-fat dip on the side like houmous or guacamole. (reminder– it’s beneficial to add fats/oils to ALL our meals!)
4. People in Ancient Rome and Greece famously thought that carrots are aphrodisiacs. Early Olympians were forbidden to consume the vegetable or its juice, for fear of distracting them from focussing on their sports.
5. The leafy carrot tops are edible and can be made into a pesto, simmered into a stock, or used as a garnish! Supermarkets don’t always stock bunched carrots, I found these ones at my local fruit and veg market.
How to eat more carrots!
- Add grated carrot into Bolognese and meatballs
- Add grated carrots into your onion and garlic base, for soups and stews and casseroles
- For your veggie side mash together cooked carrots and parsnip with a some butter, salt and pepper
- Using a julienne peeler, peel ribbons of carrots to add colour to spaghetti or noodles
- Ferment strips of carrots in brine for a nutritious long-life food that can be added to salads and sandwiches