Watching carrots grow and knowing that I planted them myself gave me such a buzz. Last year was my first effort at planting a large garden; I was like a mother in her first pregnancy, constantly checking the growth. Plenty of lengthy green tops, green – orange carrot budding through the soil, enlarging weekly. So imagine my surprise when I pulled and tugged them out of the ground. Short, fat, twisted misshapen orange carrots that proudly dangled from my hand. What went wrong?
According to my mother who had many years of successful gardening, “it was the soil, it wasn’t soft or deep enough.” Being a novice gardener I just assumed they would push their way down into the ground and grow perfectly, after all weeds manage to do that with no help or planning, unlike my garden which I had worked on for hours.
This year I’m proud to say I’m trying again, in the garden there are plenty of lengthy tops. The carrot is starting to break through the surface of the soil but it seems a lot slower so it could be the weather, let’s hope they look better this time.
Last year’s carrots still tasted wonderful and I managed to freeze enough for some of the winter so all was not lost. Can’t wait to see what will happen this year.
Carrots are a delicious vegetable, they add colour to many food dishes and taste great. Picked straight from the garden, washed and eaten they are delicious and crispy. Most carrots at the supermarket or fruit shop are washed these days so don’t need a lot of preparation. Using a vegetable peeler hold the large end of the carrot and scrape the carrot away from you to remove the outside. Give them a wash under the tap and they are ready to eat or cook.
Carrots can be used in a variety of dishes or can be eaten raw.
They are great in sandwiches, just use a food grater and grate the amount you want in your sandwich.
They can be cut into sticks and wrapped in cling film and added to a lunchbox for kids.
Use with dips instead of chips or crackers.
Carrots can be used in:
I use one medium to large carrot per person. Peel carrots as above using a vegetable peeler or scrape with a sharp knife.
1 teaspoon salt.
Chop carrots into pieces, quarters or into rings.
Place in a saucepan of cold water until covered, add salt. Put on stove element and turn element to high. When boiling turn down to low and continue cooking for approximately 10- 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to check and see if they are cooked, once the knife goes through easily they are cooked. Drain off the water and serve. (Serves 4)
How you cut carrots will depend on how you are cooking them. They can be left whole or halved for roasting or baking. If using in casseroles or stews they can be cut into rings or chopped into small pieces.
Carrots cut into matchstick size which can be used in salads, stir fries and for garnishes (decoration) for food.
Over the last three weeks we have covered potatoes, onions and carrots. Today I have put together a recipe using all these ingredients, one way I cook my vegetables for the family.
OVEN BAKED VEGETABLES.
6 large potatoes peeled and cut into pieces (see preparing and cooking potatoes)
4 large onions peeled and cut into quarters ( see The tasty onions)
3 large carrots cut into pieces
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic crushed or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Fresh rosemary 1-2 sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 180°C.Place potatoes, onion and carrots in an oven dish, add garlic, oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Bake in oven for approximately 60 minutes, stirring occasionally until cooked. To test if cooked place a sharp knife into the vegetables, once knife goes through easily it is cooked.
Variation to above recipe: I often add other vegetables to this recipe as outlined below, a variety of vegetables can be used in this recipe.
1 large capsicum washed, halve then quarter. Remove seeds from capsicum then chop in half again.
2 zucchini washed, cut off both ends then cut into pieces.
4 large mushrooms, wipe mushrooms with kitchen towel then cut into half and then quarters.
Other herbs can be added such as fresh basil or oregano.
Cook potatoes, onions and carrots for 30 minutes then add the above ingredients, stir and continue cooking until ready.
This can be eaten on it ’s own as a meal or served with meat.