Know Your Ingredients Ep.2 Carrot
Updated: Jan 27
Welcome back to Illustrator’s Kitchen, a guide to your tasty journey!
The second ingredient in “Know Your Ingredients” is….. Carrot!
Right before this post, I uploaded “Rustic Carrot Cake Recipe”, so I decided to learn more about carrots! (If you have not read the previous post, click the link below!)
Carrots are delicious root vegetables.
Many people love carrots because of their sweet taste and crunchy texture.
Carrots are also considered as the perfect healthy food because it is highly nutritious.
To be honest, when I was young, I loved cooked carrots but did not love raw carrots.
However, once I started to know the realm of hummus, I became in love with the charms of raw carrots because hummus and raw carrots are perfect combinations!
Let’s get to know more about this delicious root vegetable!
"Today, bunny family have a very special lunch together.
Mama bunny cooked fresh harvest carrots for the first time of the year.
Baby bunnies laugh and they love their cozy kitchen."
What is a carrot?
Carrot is one of the most common root vegetables in the world.
It is a root vegetable from the parsley family.
Carrots are also well known for their orange color, but various colors like purple, red, white, yellow, and black exist.
Carrots grow best in cool temperatures. Depending on types of carrot, you will plant them in early spring or late fall.
History of Carrot:
Did you know that Carrot originated in Central Asia, Persia (regions of which are now in Afghanistan and Iran)?
At the time, carrots were purple, white, red, yellow, except ORANGE.
The ancient carrots traveled across centuries and continents, and landed in 17th century Netherlands.
As a tribute to the ruling House of Orange (William of Orange), botanists produced the modern orange colored carrot.
They not only changed the color but also increased sweetness.
Soon, “Daucus carota”, the new orange carrot, became popular across the entire Europe.
Anatomy of Carrot:
Petiole: The stalk that joins a leaf to a stem
Tap Root (Storage Root): The main root of a primary root system. It grows vertically downward. (Fun Fact: Sweet potatoes are not part of tap root, they are part of fibrous root which is absence of taproot.)
Root Hairs: Micro roots that absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil.
Lateral Roots: Lateral roots, also known as secondary roots, extend horizontally from the primary root. They serve to anchor the plant securely into the soil and also absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil.
Cortex: An outer layer of tissue immediately below the epidermis(skin) of a root.
Phloem: The vascular tissue in plants that conducts sugars and other metabolic products downward from the leaves.
Xylem: The vascular tissue in plants that conducts water and dissolved nutrients upward from the root and also helps to form the woody element in the stem.
Health Benefit of Carrot:
Carrots are delicious vegetables and also packed with nutrients such as beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, vitamin B6, biotin,and potassium.
1. Healthy eye:
Many people said, “Carrots are good for your eyes” which is very true. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.
Also, Lutein is abundantly found in yellow and orange carrots. These nutrients promote good vision and eye health.
Unlike other colored carrots, orange carrots are high in beta carotene. Beta carotene is most absorbed to our body when we eat fat with carrots or cooked carrots.
2. Reduce risk of cancer and heart disease:
In red and purple carrots, Lycopene, an antioxidant that may decrease risk of heart disease and cancer, is found. Eating carrots also can reduce cholesterol levels.
3. Great for digestion and weight loss:
Carrot is weight loss friendly food. Carrots are low-calorie food and they are a great source of fiber.
Colors Of Carrots:
How to select carrots?
When you select carrots, you may want to consider color, shape and density.
First, look for a vibrant color of orange(or other color) because if the color is vivid, then it contains rich nutrients.
The smoother the surface will be more sweeter.
Avoid soft and mushy carrots.
Try to avoid pre-washed carrots because it will last shorter than not washed carrots.
Different Types of Carrots:
The name comes from where they are developed in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Danvers carrots are medium sized carrots, often called “half size”.
They are long and skinny, and available in many colors but mostly in orange color.
They can grow even in heavy and poor soil. 6-7 inches (15-18cm)
Today, the most commonly found in grocery stores throughout North America is Imperator carrot.
It looks similar to the Danvers carrots but has a longer shape. (8 to 11in)
It has a sweeter flavor than other types of carrots. The “baby” carrots that you find in the supermarket, are actually Imperator carrots!
The baby carrots are the Imperator carrots that are shaped in small looking carrots.
Nantes carrots are cylindrical looking carrots with red orange color.
It grows quick and matures faster than other carrots.
6-7 inches (15-17cm) long.
Chantenay carrots are only 4-5 inches (10-13cm) long.
They are short and wide.
They can grow well in hard and rocky soil because of their size.
Ball or Mini carrot:
Ball or Mini carrots are shorter than Chantenay carrots.
They are shaped like radishes, only 3 to 4 inches (7-10cm) long.
Mini carrots also work well in shallow growing areas due to their small sizes.
How to store carrots?
Unlike many other vegetables, carrots are easy to store for a long period of time.
You may wash carrots, remove moisture and store in the refrigerator.
Or you may wrap non-washed carrots with paper and store in a cool place.
You can bake, boil, fry, puree, raw, steam, saute with carrots. Carrots can be used in many different kinds of food.
(Email me if you want to use the infograph for education purpose!)
What is your favorite carrot dish? What ingredient will go best with carrots?
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Thanks for reading and see you guys soon!