What’s In Season: Carrots

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

For many of us, carrots were a baby step towards eating vegetables, easy to love for their crisp sweetness.  They bring out the natural sugars of other vegetables, add warmth to soups, give crunch to a salad, and complement hearty meats.  Plus, studies keep finding new health benefits of regular carrot consumption, ranging from reduced cardiovascular disease and glaucoma to cancer-fighting properties.

Carrots originated in the Middle East and were probably brought from Europe to North America during the colonial period.  Carrots have been bred for year–round cultivation, though peak season varies slightly with climate.  Most American farmers will be seeding in spring for the coming summer and fall.  Carrots come in many colors, so look around for the prized Scarlet Nantes, Purple Dragon, or Chantenay.  The freshest carrots will have firm roots, vivid coloring, and spritely greenery. All parts are technically edible, so save scraps and extras for stock or tomato sauce! They last months in an airtight container in the refrigerator (you may wrap any greens in damp paper towels). For conventional carrots, we recommend washing and peeling to remove debris and pesticides.

Here are some of our favorite ways to eat carrots…

Side Dishes
Fresh carrots don’t need much other flavoring, so steaming, boiling, or glazing make great options. Steaming is a simple, healthy cooking method that generally retains nutrients, requires no cooking fat, and results in firmer texture (though most people won’t complain about a little seasoning, honey, bacon bits, or butter to finish).

Carrot Soufflé
Green Been Bundles
Tugboat Turnips

Salads & Slaws
Raw carrots are delicious in salads with mixed vegetables and other tasty ingredients like apples, nuts, and chicken.  Grate them, slice them on the mandoline, make ribbons with a vegetable peeler, or shortcut your prep by pulsing your vegetables in the food processor!  Or try pickling them for an antipasto platter or mixed grill.

Summer Vegetable Salad
Peanut Spiced Slaw

Soups & Stews
Carrots make for excellent soups.  Use them as part of the mirepoix base, simmered in chunky beef, potato, and onion medleys, or in the starring role, like Carrot Soup with Bleu Cheese.

Old Time Beef Stew
Shaggy Man’s Split Pea Soup

Even in Desserts!
Try our decadent, pecan-laden Grandma Heirs Carrot Cake, the final course of a proposed Easter menu that also features easy Honey Lemon Carrots!

Read More From What's in Season.

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Reader Comments:

54321

All. Your. Recipes. Are. Good. I. Love. To. Cook. Different. Things. I'm. Old. Country. Cook. Beans. And. Potatoes. Was. What. I. Was. Used. To. Growing. Up, Now. I. Try. New. Things. Thank. You. Paula. And. Sons.

By Joyce. Meers on April 18, 2014

54321

I love you paula deen. And i love heathier mac and cheese.

By Donna eichhorn on April 18, 2014

54321

hi paula can i ask u what is the name of medince for diebetics i like to read more about it . i seen u have pages but i take metformin and i would like to know where u get the one u take. ty regards nancy

By nancy reed on April 01, 2013

54321

Hi Paula, We have never met but, I was wondering if you had the old recipe from your grandmother for carrot cookies. My grandmother Mary Robbins, your grandmothers sister, made them for us when I was young. We loved them and they were super moist. I had written it down and tried to make and they came out awful. I must have left some of the ingredients off. I've tried a couple of times. Anyway just thought I would ask. Thanks, Laura

By Laura Robbins Hasty on March 29, 2013

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm