As common as the carrot is, it’s also underappreciated. You know that they’re delicious raw, roasted, pickled and puréed into a soup, but don’t stop there. Carrots are also at home in croquettes, salsa, gnocchi, savory soufflés and even ice cream.
Younger carrots are generally sweeter and more flavorful. When you can, buy smaller carrots with the tops attached. Young tops taste like a cross between parsley and carrot; they can be used in pesto and other herb sauces.
Fun Facts about Carrots
• You are what you eat: Eating just five carrots a day can cause carotenemia, a harmless orange coloration of the skin
• Pennsylvania’s Boardroom Spirits has a 92-proof spirit made from carrots called C.
• Bagged “baby carrots” are suspiciously uniform for a reason: They’re blemished carrots cut into that shape.
• The orange carrot is a 17th-century Dutch hybrid of red and yellow carrots.
• The longest carrot ever grown was more than 20 feet long, and the heaviest was nearly 20 pounds.
Caryn Benke, beverage director at Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon, says “With raw, I lean toward whites with a balance between fruit and minerality, like Ligurian Vermentino, Arneis from Piedmont or Grüner Veltliner from Alto Adige or Austria.”
For carrots that are cooked a little but retain some crispness, “I like wines with a little more textural richness,” says Benke, “and a more robust fruit profile, such as Pecorino from Abruzzo or Catarratto from Sicily. For preparations with a slower roast, which creates a soft unctuous texture and a pronounced sweetness, I love richer style Barbera from Piedmont.”