Dec 23, 2013

That's A Carrot Of A Different Color

White Carrots From Kumu Farms
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Did you know that carrots come in different colors? Most of us are so used to seeing orange carrots, but they also come in purple, red, and white. I found these white carrots today at Kumu Farms, here on Moloka'i. Here is a little information about carrots that perhaps you didn't know:

Orange carrots have only been around since the 16th century. Carrots originated in present day Afghanistan about 5000 years ago, and had a purple or yellow root. Purple carrots were then taken westwards where it is thought yellow mutants and wild forms crossed to produce orange. Finally Dutch growers took these mutant orange carrots and developed them into the sweeter orange carrot we know today.

What's the difference between colored carrots?

Orange Carrots: Orange carrots won out in the breeding of carrots in 17th-century Holland, but carrots before then came in a wide range of colors – including green. Orange carrots, like their other-colored brethren, contain about 4 times the USDA recommended dose of vitamin A and lots of beta-carotene. They are just a tad earthy and quite sweet, good raw or cooked.

Purple Carrots: Purple carrots are only purple on the outside – their insides tend to be pretty orange colored. They have an intensely sweet flavor, though, that can sometimes even have a little peppery flavor.

Red Carrots: Red carrots don't differ in taste much from orange carrots. Their red color, though, comes from lycopene, the heralded antioxidant in tomatoes.

White or Golden Carrots: White or golden carrots are yellow or cream colored. They have a mild flavor with hardly any of the earthiness of other colors, and they're a bit sweeter than orange, red, or purple carrots. White carrots kind of look like parsnips but they are not. The parsnip is in the carrot family but a separate species. Parsnips tend to have a more golden brown or ivory color and a more nutty taste, and they tend to be larger. Though the white carrot is considered as having the least health benefits due to lack of pigment, the other compounds like phytochemicals in these carrots can help reduce the risk of cancer and stroke. Also the dietary fibre in these carrots help fight against colon cancer. White carrots are also good for carotene allergy sufferers.

White Carrot Salad
with Rémoulade Dressing
White Carrot Salad with Rémoulade Dressing
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One of my favorite salads is céleri rémoulade. It is made with celery root, which is similar to white carrots in texture and color, but the flavor is that of celery. The celery root is then sliced thin and a simple mustard-flavored mayonnaise spiced with garlic and pepper is added. Rémoulade is classified in French cooking as a derivative of the mayonnaise sauce.

one bunch white carrots (6 carrots)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried
hearts of romaine lettuce

Peel the carrots, then slice lengthwise into thin strips. Slice the strips into matchsticks. Put the mustard and garlic in a small bowl. Combine the two oils in a measuring cup. Gradually beat in the oil to make a smooth and creamy emulsion. Slowly beat in the vinegar and lighten the sauce by beating in cream. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the tarragon. Coat the thin carrot sticks with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. When ready to serve, place several small lettuce leaves in the serving dish. Stir the carrots to coat with the dressing. Place a serving size at the foot of the lettuce spears. Makes 4 servings. Note: You can also make bit-sized appetizers by putting a few carrot pieces on a small tip of lettuce as individual servings.

White Carrot & Cucumber Sesame Salad
3 cups julienned white carrots
2 cups julienned Japanese cucumbers (no seed)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 teaspoons finely julienned ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
salt, to taste

Mix everything together just before you are ready to serve. Makes 2 servings.

White Carrot Soup
1 bunch of white carrots (6 carrots), peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, sliced in half, washed and diced (use the white part only)
1 stick celery, thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
pinch dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon heavy cream

In a pot, gently saute the carrots, leeks, and celery in a little olive oil for 5 minutes before pouring in the chicken stock and adding the thyme and garlic. Simmer for 20 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft, then blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. 

Add the honey and heavy cream and stir well. If too thick thin with water to the desired consistency then season to taste. Note: Adding 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese will give you more flavor. Makes 4 servings.

Pickled White and Orange Carrot Sticks
1/2 pound white carrots - julienned or cut into thin match-like strips
1/2 pound orange carrots - julienned or cut into thin match-like strips
4 cups water
3 tablespoons sugar (more if you like the carrots a little sweeter)
2 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

In small pot, bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a simmer. Evenly mix the julienned carrots and place in a sterilized jars. Fill with the vinegar mixture. Cover jars and set on your kitchen counter overnight, then place in the refrigerator to pickle for about 3 days. Pickles can last for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Serve as a side dish. Makes 1 pound of pickled carrot sticks.

Pesto Carrots
This is a wonderful way to use basil pesto sauce. Cooked carrots with butter and pesto, how simple is that!

5 carrots, peeled and slice into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons basil pesto sauce (Kumu Farms makes a great pesto sauce, or make your own)

Boil carrots until cooked but not overcooked, about 10 minutes. Drain the water and add the butter while the carrots are still hot. Stir, then add about 3 tablespoons of pesto sauce, or until the carrots are just coated. Note: You can use any color carrots you want, however I think the sweet white carrot works nicely with the pesto sauce. Makes 4 servings as a side dish.

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