We are excited for the return of a favorite Red Rabbit tradition...Veggie of the Month! Every month, we will highlight a vegetable that is currently in season and on our menu. From fun facts to fun recipes, this monthly blog will be your go-to source for all things veggie!
This week, we are kicking it off with CARROTS. Carrots are a root vegetable, meaning that the part of the carrot we eat grows completely underground, and actually serves as the plant's root system. Once they are fully matured, usually by the end of summer and into early fall, they can actually be left in the ground through the winter until you are ready to eat them. This is why carrots, like other root vegetables, are considered winter vegetables. So, they are easy to find and great to eat throughout the entirety of the cold season, especially for us North-easterners where winter is real!
Did you parents ever tell you that if you eat a lot of carrots, you could see better, or even see in the dark? Well, this is actually not far from the truth! Carrots contain extremely high levels of an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which is what gives the carrots their bright orange color. Once consumed, beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in our bodies, which is very important to the health of our eyes and vision. However, Vitamin A is great for lots of other things too, such as cognitive function, skin health, and even lung strength. So, though carrots may not give us perfect night vision, they are definitely a great way for us to get a healthy supply of Vitamin A!
1. The urban legend that carrots give us night vision dates back to World War II. British soldiers used radar technologies to give them a full view of the night sky. But to cover up that fact that their technology was so advanced, the British military said that their pilots were simply eating lots of carrots, which is why they could see so well!
2. Carrots come in other colors than orange - white, yellow, red, and even purple! In fact, the ancient Greeks and Romans ate lots of carrots, but none of the orange variety we mostly see today.
3. Eating lots of carrots can actually turn you orange! Well, just your palms and the soles of your feet, but orange nonetheless! This is called carotenemia, and only occurs if you essentially eat carrots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Who knew you could actually eat too much of this delicious vegetable!?
Red Rabbit Favorites!
Right now on the menu, we have a vegetable side of roasted carrots, seasoned only with salt and pepper. Carrots have such a rich flavor, that they do not need much else to make them tasty! One of our chef's shared with me that our recipe is actually his favorite way of cooking carrots at home. But, if you really want to get fancy, he recommends roasting them at low temperature for a long time. This way, they begin to caramelize and the sweetness of the carrots really comes through! Then, for some extra flavor, bring up the heat of the oven to give them a light char, and viola!
Another carrot-themed Red Rabbit recipe is on our snack menu: Carrot Bread! Our bakery has developed and fine tuned this recipe, incorporating this flavor-filled vegetable into a sweet baked good loved city-wide! Here is the recipe:
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded carrots
1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Blend together sugar and oil. Then add the eggs. And then mix in all other ingredients, except for the shredded carrots, together with immersion blender or mixer.
3. Fold in the carrots.
4. Pour onto a greased sheet tray, glass container, or loaf pan, and place into the oven.
5. Bake for about 35-45 minutes (less if on a sheet tray, more if in a loaf pan), let cool, and enjoy!
Making this in the classroom or at home with your kiddos? Be sure to send us a picture! We love to see our recipes in the wild!