Carrots Your Power Food All Year!

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If you don’t keep carrots in your fridge all year…then you should. Carrots can be used in a variety of ways to boost your health. Of course they can be eaten anyway from the crunchy raw snack to the gourmet recipe, or just as a healthy addition to a variety of recipes. The benefits are numerous. Fresh carrots can be found this time of year at our local Farmer’s Market, but all year long in your local grocery.

Carrots

  -Promote Vision, this one we got, as a youngster we are taught that carrots will give you good eyesight! Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.

  -Aid in Cancer Prevention, studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer.

  -Have an Anti-Aging Power
The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.

  -Promotes Glowing Skin, Vitamin A and antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.

  -May Prevent Infection, Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed.

  -Prevent Heart Disease, Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels.

  -Promotes Dental Health. The process of eating a carrot aids in cleaning your teeth and your mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.

Glazed Carrots

Salt

1 pound baby carrots

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Yields 4 servings, each contains; Calories: 139; Total Fat: 6 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 2 grams; Total carbohydrates: 21 grams; Sugar: 15 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Cholesterol: 15 milligrams; Sodium: 63 milligrams

Summer Medley

2 large carrots, peeled

3 large zucchini, peeled

3 large yellow squash, peeled

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 lime, juiced

Cut carrots, zucchini, and squash into thin ribbons with a mandolin slicer.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrot ribbons. Toss in zucchini and squash ribbons, salt, pepper, parsley and limejuice. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes.

Fresh Carrot Cucumber Salad

2 small or 1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded

2 carrots, grated

1 small or 1/2 large shallot, chopped

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Sriracha (a type of hot sauce found generally in the grocery)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Halve and thinly slice the cucumber. Then place into a medium bowl with the grated carrots and shallots. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, Sriracha and soy sauce. Toss with the vegetables and season with salt and pepper only if needed. Serve.

Carrots and Fried Rice Chicken Skillet

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli

3 green onions, sliced

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

3 large carrots, shredded

4 cups cold cooked rice

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and garlic; set aside. In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry broccoli and green onions in 1 tablespoon oil for 5 minutes. Add carrots; stir-fry 4 minutes longer or until crisp-tender. Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet, stir-fry chicken in remaining oil until no longer pink and juices run clear. Add the rice, pepper, vegetables and remaining soy sauce. Stir-fry until heated through. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Each 1 cup serving contains; 269 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 660 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 17 g protein.

Tangy Carrot Slaw

2 pounds carrots, peeled and ends trimmed

5 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 lightly packed teaspoons orange zest (from 1 medium orange)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Fit a food processor with the grating blade. With the processor running, feed carrots down the tube to grate them. (Use the hopper to push carrots through.) Alternatively, grate carrots on large holes of a box grater. (You should have about 6 cups.)

Whisk together remaining ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl until evenly blended. Add carrots, and, using clean hands, toss together until they are well coated. Season well with freshly ground black pepper.

Let marinate at least 15 minutes and serve.