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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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm