Carrots Are a Good Strategic Snack

Fresh Carrots in a Row

Carrots are a common and everyday vegetable, common in many dishes from pot roast to cake to coleslaw. It is one of the most important root vegetables of the first world.  It has a long, complex, and perhaps surprising history.  Orange carrots as we know them did not come about until the 10th century in Persia.  It took many centuries to take them from a wild, and probably thin and purple-rooted carrot, to the orange swollen root that is so popular today.

In the last 1100 years, carrot breeders have transformed the vegetable, making it sweeter, refining the root to a single shaft, reducing bitterness and improving flavor and texture, and in modern times, improving nutritional quality. Carrots are low in calories, high in fiber and rich in vitamin A, among other things.  They lend themselves to boiling, roasting, braising, sauteeing, raw in salads and alone, and as part of juicing to include even the tops or smoothies.  They add sweetness to many dishes without adding a large amount of carbohydrates.  Carrots store well in the refrigerator for weeks which makes them easy to keep around.  They are available cut, as baby carrots, and whole.  

Carrots are part of the fundamental part of many dishes, the mirepoix, which is the base for so many French and Cajun dishes such as gumbo.  It offers its sweetness to that mixture.  Carrot can also be used in baked goods, including muffins, cakes, and souffles. 

For the health minded, carrot is a good strategic snack, something that can be kept for weeks in the fridge at work, handy to stave off the 3 o'clock slump without sacrificing nutrition.  Its crunchy sweetness does a good job of tiding the stomach over until dinnertime, and keep energy levels up.


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