This carrot produce guide is an informative guide about all things carrots, along with 40 delicious carrot recipes, including roasted carrots, carrot soup and carrot cake!
I shot the photos for this carrot produce guide and recipe round up over a month ago, which now seems like an eternity. At that point it was well before Easter, and now Cinco de Mayo is over, and Mother’s Day is staring us all in the face.
Time is flying, people!
It’s still spring for now, so let’s celebrate carrots shall we??
Spring carrots are so sweet and flavorful, and I’ve been buying bunch after bunch. I specifically seek out bunches of organic carrots with beautiful, lush green carrot tops.
The flavor of these carrots are so much sweeter than the bagged carrots, and those carrot tops are downright delicious.
But we’ll get to that later. 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t like carrots, have you? They’re mainstream for a reason. They’re great raw or cooked, and they’re so sweet that they appeal to the pickiest of eaters.
What are carrots?
Carrots are root vegetables that consist of the taproot, which is the tapered part of the vegetable that is most commonly eaten, and the green carrot tops.
Origin of carrots
Carrots originated in Afghanistan as early as 3000 BC. Surprisingly, early varieties of carrots were not orange, but were black, white, red and purple. Orange, or carotene carrots, didn’t appear until the 17th century in the Netherlands.
Growing up, I’d never seen anything other than an orange carrot, but now beautiful rainbow varieties are available, including the colors white, yellow, red and purple. Each color of carrot has its own flavor and health benefits.
The main types of carrots are as follows:
1. Chantenay carrots: this variety is short and stout, are light orange in color, and run about 4-5″ long and 2-2 1/2″ wide. They’re some of the sweetest carrots, and are great for juicing, or eaten raw, frozen or canned. They’re very popular among farmers for their high yield.
2. Danver carrots: Danvers carrots are medium, or half-size carrots. They were an early orange variety, and were once a choice carrot for their great flavor.
3. Imperator carrots: this variety is the popular supermarket variety, and grow to be 6-7″ long. Imperator carrots are deep orange with a thin skin or peel. These carrots are generally used to produce the “baby carrots” that have been trimmed down and sold in bags for convenience.
4. Nantes carrots: Nantes carrots were named after the French city where they originated. This variety is about 7″ long and 1 – 1 1/2″ wide, and they’re very tender and sweet.
There are many boutique varieties of rainbow carrots as well. If you want more info, click here.
What are carrots good for?
Carrots are so versatile, and may be juiced, eaten raw, roasted, or cooked in a variety of dishes.
Carrots are one of the main building blocks of cooking. You’ve probably heard the term mirepoix, which is French culinary term for diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic.
These ingredients are aromatics that provide flavor for meat and vegetable broth, soups, stews and a multitude of dishes.
Do you have to peel carrots?
No, you don’t have to peel carrots as long as you wash them thoroughly under warm water before eating them. However, some people think carrot skin has a bitter taste so they prefer to remove it.
Are carrot tops edible?
Yes! When you buy a beautiful bunch of carrots with lush carrot tops, don’t throw those tops away! Carrot tops are delicate, herbaceous and flavorful, and contain more nutrition than the actual carrot.
What to do with carrot tops
Basically, carrot tops taste like carrot-flavored parsley. They make the best pesto sauce (see my recipe for carrot top pesto), as well as any type of herb-based sauce like chimichurri or Italian salsa verde.
Carrot tops are also a great addition to salads!
How to grow carrots
Carrots grow in raised beds, containers, and pretty much anywhere, as long as they’re planted in full sun.
Plant carrot seeds in early spring or mid summer, and enjoy the harvest from late spring to early winter, depending on which variety you plant.
You can even grow carrots from carrot tops! Follow the instructions here.
Health benefits of carrots
Carrots are very nutritious, as they’re a good source of beta carotene (especially the orange varieties), potassium, fiber, Vitamin K1 and antioxidants.
There are many benefits to eating carrots, as they’re also linked to reducing cholesterol levels, improving eye sight, and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.
86-95% of carrots is composed of water, while the rest is carbohydrates. One serving of raw carrots contains 41 calories, 9.6 grams carbs, 4.7 grams sugar, and 2.8 grams fiber.
How long do carrots last in the fridge?
Carrots are incredibly hearty and will last up to four weeks in the fridge. Once you peel and slice them, they’ll stay fresh up to two weeks in an airtight container.
Can you freeze carrots?
Yes, here’s how to freeze carrots:
1. Peel and slice the carrots into your desired size and shape. 2. Place the prepared carrots into a pot of boiling water. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. 3. Immediately transfer the carrots to a bowl of ice water. 4. Pat dry, then seal inside a freezer bag and freeze for up to one year.
40 delicious carrot recipes
Carrots are one of the most versatile vegetables. The carrot and the carrot tops are edible and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Check out the 40 carrot recipes below for recipe inspiration. This list includes carrot cake, carrot soup, and roasted carrots! For even more ideas, check out the carrot recipes on my site.
Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup with Crispy Chickpeas
Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup is a healthy, creamy, vegan soup with fresh ginger, turmeric, and coconut milk, and it’s topped with crispy curry chickpeas!
This creamy five spice sweet potato and carrot soup is beyond velvety! It is a great vegan, gluten free, Whole 30 and Paleo soup recipe. It comes together in just about 25 mins and uses a few simple ingredients you can find in your pantry and freezer.
Craving something new and healthy for snack or lunch time? This Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus is delicious with fresh, raw veggies or pita bread. It’s an easy appetizer to serve at your next party, too!
Za’atar Roasted Carrots are a nice change from traditional roasted carrots. The earthy za’atar mixed with the fresh parsley adds a nice flavor to the natural sweetness that roasting carrots brings out.
Maple Glazed Carrots are tender and sweet, with a flavorful orange maple glaze and chopped fresh parsley. This is a show stopping, easy side dish that comes together quickly and the whole family will love it!