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In Season: Carrots

Everyday Food, March 2009

Readily Available Root
You don't have to dig deep at the supermarket to find a delicious, versatile vegetable -- carrots are always easy to find. These standbys can be shredded raw into salads, roasted with pork loin, or braised with chicken. Have them on hand to saute with onions and celery to form mirepoix, a classic flavor base for soups and stews. Carrots even play a starring role in dessert: carrot cake. 

Finders Keepers
Like other root vegetables, carrots can be kept in cold storage and used year-round, but fresh, young carrots (available March through October) are the sweetest specimens. Buy firm, deep orange carrots with bright green tops. To store, cut off the tops, and keep the carrots in the crisper for up to two weeks. 

The Power of Color
Carrots get their cheery orange hue from beta-carotene, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers (especially when the carrots are cooked). They're also a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, and iron.

Recipes
Roast Pork Loin with Carrots and Mustard Gravy
Slow-Cooker Spiced Chicken Stew with Carrots
Asian Carrot Slaw
Carrot Tea Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting