When my son was in 3rd grade (lo those many years ago) he read a story called Bunnicula- A Rabbit Tale of Mystery written by James Howe. This was the story of a, wait for it, vampire rabbit, that drained all the juice/color out of the carrots he ate to the chagrin (and concern) of the other characters in the story. To say my son was entranced by the concept goes without saying and he spent a few memorable months ready the series of books written by Howe trying to emulate his new anti-hero. From the first page of that book he insisted that carrots were ALWAYS on our menu.
So for us adults a natural carrot question is when exactly are carrots in season? The answer is they’re always available because they’re grown worldwide and with modern transportation they’re always in season somewhere in the world but if you want the ones grown in North America you’re talking late summer and early fall.
The carrots you buy today are not the same kind your great great granddaddy grew. The carrots that were originally cultivated were either white or purple in color. I know, I was surprised too. In the early to mid 1900’s science and hybridization created the bright orange variety we all know and great marketing and PR has helped make it the vegetable superstar it is today. Of course being packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin A. beta carotene and fiber makes the carrot a vegetable you always want to include in just about any meal.
Luckily, colored carrots are being brought back to the market place with a vengeance these days by natural, organic and gourmet farms. You can find red, yellow, white and purple carrots right beside the orange ones. Of course they’re a little more expensive but with the subtle variations in flavor you’ll find them excellent when you add them to any carrot dish you want to make. Just so you know, purple carrots are only purple on the outside; they are orange on the inside. They are sweet and have a bit of a pepper flavor. Red Carrots taste pretty much the same as orange ones, only they’re red. White or golden yellow carrots are milder in taste than the others and a bit sweet but they give the same crunch and vitamin punch as the others.
The following recipes are just a bit different from your typical carrot cake and glazed carrots recipes and encourage you to buy a big bag of carrots the next time you’re at the grocery and try them all.