It’s a beautiful colorful fall here and I’m happily celebrating root vegetable season! I always love how the Earth provides what we need in each season exactly as we need it.
Root vegetables are more energy dense than most vegetables that are ripe in summer. This extra energy provides the nutrients and extra calories we need for the winter months. (This was especially true back in the days before our modern conveniences.)
These roots bring us closer to the Earth and ground our energy, reminding us to turn inward and slow down along with the natural cycle of the planet, the nature of this season, and the months to come. While most root vegetables are available year round, the season in which they have the very best flavor and highest nutrient density is the late summer and fall.
Examples of root vegetables include carrots, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, parsnips, and beets. Root vegetables are delicious and can fulfill the natural sweetness you might be seeking this time of year.
Carrots are a familiar root vegetable that is popular with both adults and children. This familiarity makes it an easy vegetable to add to a variety of dishes and a good vegetable to experiment with by trying new recipes.
Carrots are a great source of Vitamins A, K, C, Potassium, B6, Thiamin, and Niacin. They also offer a variety of carotenoids, which are amazing antioxidant phytonutrients.
When choosing carrots in the grocery store or farmers market, select firm, crisp vegetables that are bright in color. The depth of the orange in a carrot is directly related to the carotenoid nutrients found.
Store carrots in your refrigerator for up to two weeks in an airtight container or plastic bag.
Do not wash prior to storage and store them away from apples, pears, and potatoes to extend their shelf life.
When preparing your carrots for any recipe, consider scrubbing them rather than peeling. The outside skin will have protective qualities, though it will be slightly more bitter than the sweet inside.
How to Cook Carrots
I love to eat carrots raw and plain. They are filled with a crispy sweetness that satisfies most of my sweet and crunchy cravings. There are, however, a wonderful variety of recipes that include carrots or feature them as the main ingredient.
One easy and flavorful way to try carrots is in a salad mixed with other vegetables such as this easy recipe.
Carrot & Zucchini Salad
- 6 medium carrots, thoroughly scrubbed and ends removed
- 2 medium zucchini, peeled and ends discarded
- ½ cup of scallions
- ¼ cup cilantro
- ¼ cup parsley
- Approximately 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
- Juice from 1 lemon
Grate carrots and zucchini. Finely chop herbs. Toss all ingredients together and then toss with oil and lemon juice.
Serve and enjoy!
The best, most nutrient-preserving cooking method is a light steaming for no longer than five minutes. The steam will tenderize the carrots a bit, but leave most nutrients intact. For added flavor, toss your freshly steamed carrots with a few tablespoons of feta and dill.
You can also add your carrots to any soup or stew or toss with olive oil and roast at 425°F with other roots until tender, typically about 40 minutes.
You can see many reasons to increase carrots in your diet! These are healthy and great for adding sweetness to your plate in a fun and colorful way!