While some roots have inedible greens, the leafy fronds atop carrots are indeed edible. Like their cousin parsley, carrot greens are a brightening, refreshing accent to other foods. The stalks may be a bit too fibrous at times, but the leaves taste like a more bitter version of a carrot and are great in salads, wilted on the stove top, or juiced. They complement a tangy vinaigrette as well as sauteed vegetables.
The Color Wheel.
Carrots originated from the Middle East and became staples across Europe and America. While most commonly recognized by their orange color, heirloom varieties come in numerous colors, each offering valuable nutrients. This week we have bunched carrots in from Lakeside Organics in Hadley, MA.
Orange: The body converts the high content of beta carotene found in orange carrots into Vitamin A, essential to the immune system for general well-being and healthy eyes.
Yellow: Yellow carrots are rich in xanthophylls, which help develop healthy eyes and aid in the fight against macular degeneration. They may also be useful in preventing tumors associated with lung and other cancers.
Purple: Still usually orange on the inside, purple carrots get their pigment from an entirely different class, the anthocyanins. These pigments act as very powerful antioxidants, grabbing and holding onto harmful free radicals in the body. Anthocyanins also help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting.
White: By their very nature white carrots lack pigment, but may contain other health-promoting substances called phytochemicals. One would say these are the least healthy of carrots.
Each carrot possesses a unique profile, but, regardless of color, they are all delicious and nutritious. Using a variety of colors in your next meal may not only make it healthier, but certainly more beautiful. This idea should always be kept in mind when cooking since we first eat with our eyes and then our mouths.