Learn About Carrots

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are carrots?

Carrots are a root vegetable that grows from the ground. The tops of the carrots, which are exposed to the air, are long and green, with a similar look to parsley. Under the surface of the soil grows the carrot, which is commonly long and orange. Carrots are cylindrical, thin at the tip, and thicker at the top.

There are four main types of carrots; Danvers, Nantes, Imperator, and Chantenay, and Ball carrots. The most common types are Imperator carrots, which are commonly grown for commercial use. 

Are Carrots Always Orange?

Carrots are usually thought of as orange but can come in a variety of colors like white, red, purple, and pink, yellow, and brown. 

Carrots in an array of different colors
Carrots come in a variety of different colors, from orange, yellow, purple, white and red.

What do carrots taste like?

Carrots are hard and crunchy with a sweet flavor and some notes of bitterness. Cooking carrots will soften them to a texture similar to a cooked potato, and will also enhance their sweetness. 

What can you make with carrots?

Carrots are versatile vegetables that can be eaten both raw and cooked. Raw carrots can be sliced or shredded with a grater and added to salads, or can be cut into thick pieces that allow for dipping (they’re delicious with hummus!) Carrots also make a great addition to cooking preparations like soups, stews, and stir-fries. This vegetable also is great baked into bread and cakes. Carrot cake is a popular dessert and pairs carrots with cinnamon, nuts, and cream cheese frosting for a delicious dessert. 

Carrot Cake
Carrot cake is a popular dessert made with flour, carrots, walnuts, and is frosted with cream cheese frosting. Image by Russell Smith from Pixabay.

Where can you buy carrots? 

Carrots can be purchased at any major grocery store or stores that sell produce. Carrots usually come packaged in pre-portioned bags or can be purchased by the pound. 

Where should you store carrots?

Carrots should be stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They should stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. You can tell carrots have gone bad when they bend easily and are no longer firm. 

Carrot have long green stems that look similar to parsley. Commercially sold carrots are usually Imperator carrots, which are thick and bright orange.

Fun Fact 

Carrots were first grown in Afghanistan in around 900 A.D. 

Did You Know?

Baby carrots aren’t actually a variety of carrots! Baby carrots are actually regular carrots that have been cut and shaped into these smaller pieces. This was developed as a way for farmers to reduce the waste of blemished or misshapen carrots. 

Recipes Using Carrots 

Carrot Cake 

To make this classic dessert, start by grating carrots on a box grater and set it aside. In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla until combined. In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together. Add your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the shredded carrots and add the batter to a prepared baking pan. Bake until the cake is fully cooked and top with cream cheese frosting. 

Glazed Carrots

This is a great dish for a holiday meal! In a large skillet, add sliced carrots and water. Steam the carrots for 8 minutes or until soft. Add in butter, brown sugar, and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes or until the butter and sugar caramelize. Top with chopped parsley. 

Roasted Carrots

On a sheet pan, add carrots sliced in ¾ inch thick pieces. Add olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Toss to coat and roast in the oven until carrots are tender.

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