January 2, 2019

Living Loving Local for January: Carrots!


Living Loving Local for January is Carrots

Carrots are nutritional heroes packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and even fiber. Their versatility allows them to be used in everything from salads, soups and stews to baby food and even natural pet foods.  Their naturally occurring sweetness also makes them a perfect ingredient to be used in desserts.

History:

  • Approximately 5000 years ago wild carrots were believed to have grown in the region where Afghanistan is today. The seeds and greens were used mostly for herbs and medicinal purposes.
  • As time went on, in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome carrots were eaten both raw and cooked as we do today.
  • It is said that orange carrots were first grown in the 16th century by the Dutch to honour their Royal House of Orange. Prior to that, carrots were most plentiful in white, yellow, red and purple.

Canadian Statistics:

  • Most of our carrots grown in Canada stay in Canada, however 69% of what is exported goes to the United States.
  • Ontario leads in Canadian carrot production at 43% as they have the optimum growing conditions.
  • Approximately 50% of Ontario carrots are grown in Muck Soil. Muck soil is drained swampland which produces humus (humus is a black organic substance made up of decayed plant or animals) that drains well and is relatively stone free.

Health Benefits:

  • The most beneficial nutrients are closest to the outer skin of the carrot. The best way to clean a carrot is to simply wash it.
  • The orange colour of the carrot is a natural ingredient called Beta Carotene and when consumed the body converts it to Vitamin A, which is key to good eyesight.
  • The minerals found in carrots regulate blood calcium levels and help clot blood: potassium, calcium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, copper, iodine, phosphorus.

Fun Facts:

  • Baby carrots come from larger broken carrots that are machine rubbed to a short, round-ended baby carrot.
  • One teaspoon can hold 2000 carrot seeds!
  • According to the World Book of Guinness Records the largest carrot to date is 19 feet, 1 7/8 inches long. The heaviest carrot is 9.07kg. Both were grown in the UK.
  • The green tops of the carrot are edible.
  • Carrots are often used to create orange food colourings

Recipes:

This month our Verve properties throughout Canada will feature the following carrot recipes: