The richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes

Season - Peaks in spring and fall

Selection Choose firm, bright color and fresh looking greens

Avoid shriveled or cracked and black tops

Flavor complements - Cinnamon, cumin, thyme, dill, ginger, curry, nutmeg, orange, onion, raisins

Storage - Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to two weeks. Remove greens, if attached.

Preparation for cooking - Trim ends. Peel or scrub with a vegetable brush. Leave whole, chop, grate, or slice into rounds or strips. Fresh, young carrots can be eaten without peeling.

Quick fixes - Steam sliced carrots for 5-7 minutes. Mix together 3 T orange juice, 1 T honey, and ½ tsp grated gingerroot and toss with carrots to coat.

Soak carrot sticks in hot water spiced with cayenne, coriander seeds and salt. Allow to cool, drain and serve.

Roasted Carrots

4 servings, Prep 5 min Cook 25 min

1 pound carrots
1 tb olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 tb fresh rosemary

  1. Peel carrots and cut into uniform bite size pieces.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Toss carrot pieces with the olive oil and rosemary. Spread evenly on baking sheet.
  4. Bake in 425º oven for 20-25 minutes. Stir once during roasting.

Additional vegetable roasting tips:

Don’t try roasting more than the pan will hold in a single layer.

You can also roast other vegetables with your carrots like: potatoes, onions, peppers, turnips, parsnips, zucchini and much, much more.

Keep in mind the time it takes to roast vegetables will vary depending on the size of the vegetable pieces and its water content. Add mushrooms and peppers for example half-way through the cooking time for carrots and potatoes.

Try other spices and herbs according to your own preferences.

Per ½ cup serving: 80 calories, 1g protein 11g carbohydrates, 3.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 80mg sodium, 380% Daily Value* Vitamin A, 11% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, 2% Iron. *Based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Roasted Spiced Carrots

Serves 6, Time to Prepare: 45 minutes

2 pounds baby carrots
1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put carrots, paprika, cumin, salt, ginger, cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large bowl and toss to coat. Transfer carrots to a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Roast, tossing halfway through, until just tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove carrots from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add lemon juice and honey and toss well. Drizzle with a bit more oil, if you like, then serve.

Steamed Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

Serves 6, Time to Prepare: 15 minutes

¾ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
¾ pound baby carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

Fill a large pot with an inch of water and arrange a large steamer basket in the bottom of the pot. Cover and bring water to a boil. Uncover and arrange Brussels sprouts and carrots in basket. Cover and steam, tossing vegetables halfway through, until tender and bright, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add oil or butter, salt, pepper and tarragon and toss well.

*You can also steam vegetables in the microwave with the same results.

Fun to Know . . .

Excessive consumption of carotene-rich foods may lead to a condition called carotoderma in which the palms or other skin develops a yellow or orange cast. This yellowing of the skin is presumably related to carotenemia, excessive levels of carotene in the blood. Eating or juicing high amounts of foods rich in carotene, like carrots, may over tax the body's ability to convert these foods to vitamin A. The body slowly converts carotene to vitamin A, and extra carotene is stored, usually in the palms, soles or behind the ears. If the cause of the carotenemia is eating excessively high amounts of foods like carrots, the condition will usually disappear after reducing consumption.

Carrots are delicious eaten raw or cooked. Beta-carotene is not destroyed by cooking; in fact, cooking breaks down the fiber, making this nutrient and carrots' sugars more available, thus also making them taste sweeter. Take care not to overcook carrots, however, to ensure that they retain their maximum flavor and nutritional content.

Nutritional Profile: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. In addition, they are a very good source of vitamins C and K as well as dietary fiber and potassium.

Archibald, A Faughey, E. The Produce Partner. Food Fan Guides, 2005.