The carrot gives a boost to your plate, your palate and your health.
But perhaps because the vegetable is so popular, it often falls into the ‘humble’ category and doesn’t attract the fuss and attention of more exotic ‘superfoods’.
The facts is we love our carrots – and for good reason. They might be one of the more common vegetables on our dinner plates, but that’s because they’re versatile, colourful and their health properties are well-known.
Grower Ian Nelson, who owns Hampshire organic farm Sunnyfields and delivers in the Portsmouth area, says: ‘I think I probably eat them every day of the year and, along with potatoes, I think they’re still the most popular vegetable.
‘They’re great for adding colour and interest to the plate and, compared with other vegetables, children often like them too.
‘People are always being asked to think about eating seasonal veg and reduce food miles. Well carrots are always seasonal because they’re stored so easily. It’s just that people should try to buy locally.’
There are many health reasons to eat carrots. Perhaps the best-known is that they are packed with beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A is important for good sight, immunity and healthy bones and teeth. Carrots are also high in fibre.
And while they might be a familiar sight at the dinner table, they still hold a few surprises. Orange isn’t the only colour – there are also purple, yellow and white varieties.
And although most cooks respect their versatility, there are some options – including the festive recipe below – that people may have not considered.
Carrot Christmas Pudding
100g plain flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice
100g potato, grated
100g carrots, grated
100g demerara sugar
100g fine breadcrumbs
25g chopped glace cherries
1 large egg, beaten
1. Mix the flour, soda, spice well together. Add all the other ingredients except the egg, mix all ingredients well together and thoroughly. Then add the egg and bind well, if it is a little too stiff, add a little milk as well. Pour into a large greased pudding basin, leaving space at the top as the mixture will expand.
2. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper and tie with string. Steam for three hours. Serve with custard, brandy sauce or double cream.
Courtesy of British Carrots. For more recipes visit britishcarrots.co.uk