How to cook carrots, how to store them, in which seasons to enjoy them for an optimal flavour... discover all the secrets of this delicious vegetable.
Carrots , Carrot: Nutritional, History and characteristics of the carrot

The Carrot is both the name of the vegetable plant and the root that is eaten raw or cooked.

History and characteristics of the carrot

It is believed to have originated in Asia Minor, where it was already growing wild more than 2,000 years ago.

The Greeks and Romans recognized the therapeutic value of Carrots (especially for visual acuity), but did not appreciate them as a vegetable.

Until the Renaissance, wild Carrots had a whitish colour, a fairly tough skin and a fibrous core. Like all "raves" (plants cultivated for their fleshy edible roots), they never appeared among the noble foods. However, as early as the Middle Ages it was a very popular vegetable, like parsnip, because it was inexpensive.

It was improved little by little, and cultivated species were sold on the markets. Its orange colour only dates from the middle of the 19th century.

In April the first new Carrots arrive, round or slightly elongated, grown in heated greenhouses and sold in bunches with the tops. These are either the "bellots", tender, sweet and fragrant, or the "Bellot" variety, whose Carrots are a little less fine.

From May to June come the "nantaise" type carrots, long or half-long, crunchy, grown under chassis.

Then, from June to October, come the long or semi-long carrots, grown in the open ground, very good if they are freshly picked.

Finally, from October to March, we find long and sometimes large carrots, of medium flavour, kept in the ground or in cold storage.

Early Carrots come mainly from the Landes and the Loire Valley, and Carrots for laying down or in season are mainly produced in the west of France.

Growing carrots

A sweet and crunchy vegetable, the Carrot is one of the most widely eaten. And with good reason, they are found all over the world, so simple to grow. Here are a few tips for sowing and growing Carrots and getting a quality harvest.

What season to eat Carrots

Carrots are eaten in May, June and July. The Carrot is eaten in January, April, September and October.

Les calories et les infos nutritionnelles de la carotte

Like all fruits and vegetables rich in fibre and vitamins, Carrots play a beneficial role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and the development of certain cancers.

The essential characteristic of the Carrot is its high content of provitamin A (called carotene). The more colourful Carrots are, the richer they are in carotene. This antioxidant substance opposes the aggression of free radicals that form when cells age. It also slows down the development of atherosclerosis and is involved in the mechanisms that stimulate immunity. The Carrot also contains a little vitamin C (7/100 g). It is preferable to eat Carrots raw or to cook them quickly in a pressure cooker to limit their loss.

Another advantage is that Carrots provide a moderate amount of energy (33 kcal/100 g), like most root vegetables, and have a high overall mineral content: potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, etc.

The carrot, rich in particularly well-accepted fibres, is good for regulating intestinal transit and combating the tendency to constipation. Paradoxically, Carrot soup or purée is also effective against diarrhoea, because its fibres have a strong water retention capacity.

Finally, according to a study carried out in the United States, the daily consumption of 200 g of raw Carrots can reduce cholesterol levels by 11%. This beneficial effect is attributed to the carrot's fibres (and in particular pectins, which have a "sequestering" action on bile salts and fatty acids).

Nutritional value of the carrot per 100 g

  • Proteins 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates 6.7 g
  • Fat 0.3 g
  • Calories 33 kcal

How to choose the carrot

Choose fresh Carrots : intense in colour, with vigorous, green leaves when sold in bunches with their tops.

How to store Carrots

Store early Carrots (more fragile) for a maximum of two days in the refrigerator crisper. The others can easily be stored for a week in the same place. Carrots that have been lightly scraped and blanched for three minutes in boiling water can be frozen very well.

How to cook and enjoy Carrots

Prepare the Carrots by scraping rather than peeling them (because its vitamins are found under the skin) and washing them well under a stream of water, without soaking them. Carrots can be prepared in various ways: slices, julienne (sticks), brunoise (cubes) ... And of course grated: in this case, season them at the last minute or put Lemon juice to prevent them from blackening.

The new Carrots are delicious in cream, herbal, iced, Vichy (sliced, cooked in water with sugar) and in jardinière.

Carrots can also be used in soups, purée, pies, stews... They are used as a garnish for simmered dishes. Finally, Carrot tops are perfect for flavoring soups.


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