Carrots have been a staple in many countries for thousands of years although it is only since the 16th century that they have been orange.
Earliest records show carrots were purple; later records show red, yellow and white carrots
were grown. Orange is the main type found in New Zealand.
What to look for
Choose carrots that are firm, well formed, with a good orange colour. Smaller carrots tend to be sweeter and more tender. If spring carrots are sold with leaves attached, they should be fresh and bright green.
All year. Spring carrots October - January.
Refrigerate in plastic bags.
Baby peeled carrots are actually larger carrots that are trimmed down to ‘baby size’. They will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. As they’re already peeled, a light frosting may appear on the surface; place in cold water for a few minutes and they will return to their brilliant orange colour.
How to prepare
Trim ends and peel. Cut as required. Popular grated, finely sliced or diced for salads and juiced. Leave baby carrots whole and young carrots don't need peeling. Wash well or lightly scrape to ensure all soil is removed. Old and large carrots need to be peeled. Carrots are versatile in both preparation and cooking methods. Cut into rings, cubes, strips, or chunks. Carrots are often grated for salads; vary the size of grater and experiment with the more interesting coarse graters or peelers.
Ways to eat
They can be eaten raw as snacks, or cooked and used in savoury and some sweet dishes, such as carrot cake or muffins. Carrots should be cooked until they are tender and depending on preference, still slightly crunchy. Cooked, tender carrots may be mashed or puréed.
Bake, barbecue, boil, braise, microwave, roast, steam, stew, stir fry.