Carrots may be found at the grocery store all year long, but they're especially good in the spring and fall. Cooler weather helps give carrots a sweeter flavor. They are often planted in two crops for a spring harvest and fall harvest.
Carrots are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and they're a good source of fiber too. Because carrots are sweeter than most vegetables, kids will usually eat them with few complaints. Plus, carrots come in other colors besides orange -- red, white, yellow, and even purple.
While raw carrots can be a delicious and portable snack, cooked carrots can accompany a variety of main dishes. It's actually quite easy to roast or glaze carrots, and their mild, sweetness goes well with lots of flavors. Check out the all of these delicious ways to cook carrots, or feel free to experiment on your own.
Cooked Carrots: The Basics
Cooks Illustrated offers some simple tips to get started with cooking carrots. One key point is to look for longer, thinner carrots, which can be more tender. Gigantic carrots are tougher and don't taste as good.
Carrots can be roasted or glazed. Roasting them doesn't involve much active work, and the heat of the oven helps bring out their sweetness. Glazed carrots are usually cooked on the stovetop, and they require more attention. Either way is delicious!
Cooked Carrots: Buttery Roasted Carrots from Mark Bittman
This recipe from Mark Bittman hardly even qualifies as a recipe, which makes it a great place to start. Melt butter in an oven-safe saute pan while you scrub a pound of carrots. You don't even need to peel them if they are young and tender. Put the carrots in the pan and coat them with butter, then transfer the pan to the oven. While you don't need to do much else to these carrots, keep an eye on them. Turn the heat down if the outsides are starting to brown before the insides are soft.
Cooked Carrots: Roasted Carrots from Ina Garten
Ina Garten's roasted carrots are another simple recipe you can probably make with what's already in your kitchen. Toss sliced carrots with olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting. Then toss them again with fresh herbs (Garten calls for fresh dill or parsley) before serving. Such an easy way to add a vegetable side dish to your meal.
Cooked Carrots: Glazed Carrots from Alton Brown
Once again, get out the saute pan and slice a pound of carrots. In Alton Brown's recipe, he calls for more thinly sliced carrots, about 1/4-inch thick. Add salt, butter, and ginger ale to the pan, and follow Brown's specific instructions regarding burner temperature and when to cover and uncover the pan. A half-teaspoon of chili powder gives these carrots some zip to balance the sweetness of the ginger ale glaze.
Cooked Carrots: Candied Carrots from Tyler Florence
In this recipe from Tyler Florence, he roasts the carrots, but then covers them with an orange brown butter syrup before serving. As in Bittman's recipe, scrub the carrots instead of peeling them. Coat them with oil, salt, and pepper on the stovetop. Then transfer the pan to the oven to roast while you make the syrup. This recipe involves more active work than the others, but it's worth it.