As one of the most popular root vegetables in the U.S. - and widely enjoyed in many other countries as well - carrots almost feel like an old friend for many people who are looking for just the right crunchy snack or addition to a salad. One study of 8-11 year-old children in France who were given pictures of 54 vegetables and were mostly likely to pick out carrots (along with lettuce and tomatoes) as easily identifiable and likeable vegetables.
In the U.S., there seems to be an equal liking for carrots at the other end of the age spectrum as well.
Individuals 76 years of age and older eat twice as many carrots as individuals under 40, with the overall average being about 1 cup of carrots per week.
Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named after the umbrella-like flower clusters that plants in this family produce. As such, carrots are related to parsnips, fennel, parsley, anise, caraway, cumin and dill.
Carrots can be as small as two inches or as long as three feet, ranging in diameter from one-half of an inch to over two inches. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste, while the greens are fresh tasting and slightly bitter.
While we usually associate carrots with the color orange, carrots can actually be found in a host of other colors including white, yellow, red, or purple. In fact, purple, yellow and red carrots were the only color varieties of carrots to be cultivated before the 15th or 16th century.
Carrots are perhaps best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene. However, these delicious root vegetables are the source not only of beta-carotene, but also of a wide variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients. The areas of antioxidant benefits, cardiovascular benefits, and anti-cancer benefits are the best-researched areas of health research with respect to dietary intake of carrots.
MAPLE DILL CARROTS
- 3 cups peeled and sliced carrots
- 2 tablespoons butter ( feel free to use a fat free substitute)
- feel free to use an alternative sweetner)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Ready In:
- Place carrots in a skillet and pour in just enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer until water has evaporated and the carrots are tender.
- Stir in butter, brown sugar, dill, salt, and pepper.