Carrots: The Extraordinary Ordinary Vegetable

Carrots are pretty underappreciated, they don’t get the celebrity love that kale does – hey, you don’t see celebrities wearing carrot sweatshirts like they do for kale. Carrots don’t have even the revered status of tomatoes (which are technically a fruit). In a list of the most vegetable consumption in the US, carrots rank #9. There are a lot of benefits to carrots you should consider, before you scratch them off as a boring vegetable.

Eating healthy, garden benefits

Grow carrots for the health of it.

Everyone knows that carrots help with your eyesight, but there’s more to carrots than meets the eye! Because they contain a high level of vitamin C, carrots aid with the production of collagen which helps to reduce premature wrinkles and blemishes. Carrots also help make our hair shiny and thick, but more importantly they help with our insides: prevention of heart disease and cancer, and the fiber makes digestion easier.  All these benefits and added bonus, CARROTS ARE EASY TO GROW!!!

Guide to Growing Carrots

There’s a vast variety of carrots, other than the standard orange carrots that we have come to know. Oh yeah, it’s a rainbow of colors: white, red, yellow and even black! Not to mention carrots come in various sizes and flavors as well.

Carrot variety

Carrots come in a rainbow of colors

Despite the various colors they come in, all carrots are pretty much grown the same way. They do their best in cool weather.  In spring, plant carrot seeds directly in the ground about two weeks before your last frost date. In summer, plant more seeds 10-12 weeks before your earliest frost date so you’ll have plenty to pick for fall and winter. Carrots grow best in loose, fluffy soil – you want them to grow nice and straight.  So use your Mantis Tiller to till up the soil to a depth of about 12”. Then spread a good inch of compost before you plant the seeds. They love compost (who doesn’t though?)! Plant your seeds about two inches apart and half an inch deep to ensure you give them enough space.  They love water but before watering, dig down about 4 inches into the soil beside your plants and see if the soil is moist. If the soil has moisture you don’t need water. If not, give them a good soaking. Give your carrots an average of 60 days to mature (this varies depending on the variety you planted – look on the seed packet).  Don’t pull them out too soon! To pull your carrots, first step is to check out the stems at the base of the carrots to see if they’re thick. Gently move some of the dirt from the top of the root to check the size. Don’t leave them in the ground too far past maturity or they will be eaten up by your little “garden friends”. Seriously, carrots will grow in the garden until after the first frost (remember they like it cool); up until the ground freezes in winter. If you are planting in a mild climate you can leave carrots in the garden and harvest them all winter long. They are a hardy vegetable; they can really handle any environment and are not prone to diseases. What could be better!

Carrots for Dinner – A Tasty Recipe You’ve Got To Try

From time to time we post some great recipes, like our favorite tomato recipes . For the extra vegetables we talk about canning , however since canning carrots is not common we have another great use for them: carrot noodles (mix it up with zucchini pasta)!  Mind Blown! An alternative to pasta — carrots are healthy, have less carbs than pasta, and are a perfect fit for paleo and vegan diets.

Carrot and zucchini noodles

Carrot and zucchini noodles

Ingredients:

 3 large carrots (various colors)(or 1 medium zucchini)

1 clove of garlic, minced

½ cup mushrooms

½ cup cherry tomatoes

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

½ cup tomato sauce

¼ cup chopped onion

½ tablespoon of olive oil

Wash carrots. Remove carrot top and trim a bit off the bottom. Peel carrots using a wide vegetable peeler. You may not want to use the first layer you peel, but use the remaining for the noodles, making long strips. Next use a large skillet, add olive oil, then using medium heat sauté the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and basil. Once the vegetables are softened, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for five minutes.  Next add the carrots and the tomato sauce, sauté until carrots are soft. Finally, season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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