I know they are popular, but I must admit, I really do not like those little packages labeled “baby carrots” that you find in the store.
These are actually just regular ol’ carrots that are misshapen or broken or just don’t make the grade to be sold as a whole carrot. They get run through a big machine that whittles off their outer layers leaving only the inner core in a that so very uniform shape and size.
Unfortunately, all this whittling takes away up to a third of the carrot’s nutrients since, like many fruits and vegetables, most of the nutrients are concentrated in the skin or the layers just below the skin.
This is why I just don’t like those packaged “baby carrots” — not only is their name misleading, they sacrifice nutrition just for a marketing gimmick.
This year at Luna Bleu we do have many small (ok, BABY) carrots. These carrots are just small because they grew that way. They are still the whole carrot with the whole of their nutrient package! They have a nice sweet flavor and crunch and I have discovered they are the best for roasting!
One thing I learned about carrot nutrition from Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robbins is that carrots are actually better for you when they have been cooked rather than eaten raw.
Furthermore, when you cook carrots whole they retain even more nutrients and sweetness. Typically large carrots cooked whole can take some time . . . not so with these real baby carrots . . . they cook pretty quickly and will have more beta-carotene and other antioxidants (good cancer fighting nutrients!) than if you cut them up before cooking.
So our little carrots will make it easy to get the most carrot nutrition out of your carrots. I have a whole new appreciation for these little carrots that took so long to harvest!
One more nutrition tip . . . beta-carotene is fat-soluble — for your body to absorb it most effectively, your carrots should be prepared with or served with some sort of fat or oil. I usually toss the carrots in some olive oil before roasting or you could just put a dollop of butter on before you eat them.