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Texas Eats: Carrots

carrot.jpg

We don’t normally think of carrots when we think of favorite vegetables. Tried and steady, they’re just always there — those orange bits in standard-order salad, the sticks we eat on a diet when we’d rather be eating potato chips, the second-fiddle to cream-cheese icing even in its eponymous cake. When A&M’s Leonard Pike went to Russia, though, and saw carrots in starring roles there, he got it in his head that we might be missing something with carrots. Besides being pleasantly sweet and crunchy, they’re rich in beta-carotene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Especially rich in beta-carotene is a variety Pike developed — then bred to be maroon so that consumers could recognize it. This particular carrot was named BetaSweet and can be found at markets around the state. All that sounds like fiddling with nature, but to be clear these carrots are not “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).” betasweet.jpgThat’s the term used to describe foods that have had their DNA tweaked directly. Golden rice, genetically engineered to be rich in beta carotene, is one example; pesticide-resistant corn is another. GMO’s are a villain to many natural foodists, who need not worry about BetaSweet carrots, which were developed the old-fashioned way, by crossing different varieties of carrots to obtain the desired traits. If you want to try carrots in a starring role, pick some that are farm-fresh and still on the small side to get the sweetest flavor. Then eat them raw or sauté them with a little dill — and don’t be shy with the butter.  Beta-carotene is lipophilic, meaning it needs fat to be absorbed by your body.

2 Comments

  1. Melissa LaMunyon wrote:

    Butter…. I love butter…. Perhaps try ghee (clarified butter) as well? Have had excellent results cooking with ghee.

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  2. john wrote:

    People should also try the other carrots colours – red, white, yellow and YES! black. All have their individual nutrients. all very good for the body – raw or cooked. More in the World Carrot Museum.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Texas Locavore › Texas Eats: Sweet Onions on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    [...] yet another masterpiece of Leonard Pike, the same A&M professor responsible for those maroon carrots.  The name 1015 comes from the recommended planting date — October 15 each year.  Onions [...]

  2. Texas Locavore › Better Eating Through Chemistry on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    [...] of foods.  Our own Lone Star State shines front and center in her story, with coverage of maroon carrots and Texas grapefruits. This was written by Beth. Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, at 12:20 pm. [...]

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