Getting the Most out of… Carrots

Published / Written by Anna Scott / No Comments Yet

Who hasn’t got a few slightly bendy, wrinkly-looking carrots languishing at the bottom of their fridge? Not too many, I should imagine. Even if you’re not a fan, they always seem to make their way into most people’s homes, patiently waiting for a salad or stew to be part of. But often their wait is in vain… So how can we use our excess carrots more effectively? They’re a funny old vegetable, often a bit of an afterthought or half-hearted addition to a meal, but let’s face it, a small mound of over-boiled carrots is not going to excite too many appetites.

What to do with Carrots

To start, my sure fire way to use up the languishing carrots is the sneaky way. It involved a grater and a lot of other ingredients. Have a think about the basic features of your bolognaise or meatballs and then just add grated carrot into the mix. I fry them up with the chopped onions and garlic and they add a certain sweetness as well as another dimension to your 5-a-day. They probably already make an appearance in your shepherd’s pie recipe (if you have such a thing), but instead of chopping them up, I get out my trusty friend the grater again. Not sure why, but I think you get more of their carroty sweetness that way. And also, chopped up carrots always remind me of school dinners, and those memories are never happy ones.

And what about for the most common usage – as a bit on the side? Forget boiling them until they lose all their colour, because nobody wants that. Of course you could always be super-healthy and steam them, but that doesn’t exactly get the taste buds watering, does it? Instead, try glazing them. Just cut into batons and fry them in some butter for a minute or two.  Add approximately 1 tablespoon of sugar, making sure you keep basting them with the glaze. Then add a small amount of water to the pan and keep basting for a few more minutes until the mixture is reduced. This really enhances the natural sweetness of the carrots. Obviously, this tends to happen when you add sugar to stuff…

Talking of sugar, there’s an extra special use for carrots that might just be one of my favourite treats ever. In theory, every fibre of my being should object strongly to the use of vegetables in cake, but every time I taste a great carrot cake, these convictions go out of the window. I’m not going to detail a recipe here, because there are plenty of excellent ones available online – just pick your favourite and adapt it through trial and error. Although one thing I will say is that the cream cheese icing is essential and no carrot cake would be complete without it.

And now we come to the dishes where carrot is the star ingredient. Ok, actually one dish. Now I don’t think I’ve ever attempted a carrot soup myself, but I have tried many delicious ones. Maybe one day I will embark on the carrot soup to end all carrot soups…

I haven’t even mentioned roasting them, putting them in salads, or mashing them up with you potatoes. But I have now, so there. I think we can all agree that carrots don’t deserve to see out their days mingled with other abandoned vegetables in the cold and lonely salad crisper.