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Carrots

A carrot is a root vegetable, typically orange in color with a  woody texture. The younger the carrot the smaller and more tender the flesh is, so 'baby carrots' are often preferred for raw use. Note that the 'baby carrots' you can buy bagged, washed and pre-peeled in US supermarkets are not actually 'babies' at all - they are larger carrots that have been mechanically shaped into stubs. 

True baby carrots (often known as 'Dutch carrots') are sold by the bunch complete with tops, and they are very long and spindly and almost impossible to peel. Fortunately, with a carrot that young, peeling is unnecessary - all that is needed is to scrub them under the tap to remove any dirt, and to cut off the hairy 'tail' and the leafy top. Older carrots benefit from peeling as the skin gets a lot more fibrous and hairy with age.

Carrots are often eaten raw, whole or shaved into salads for color, and are often cooked in soups and stews. They are an essential ingredient in carrot cake. The greens are not generally eaten (they have no particular food benefit to humans and do not taste good), but they are technically edible.

Together with onion and celery, carrots are one of the primary vegetables used in a mirepoix to make various broths.

Carrots are orange because they contain large amounts of beta carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A). This gives rise to the belief that they will improve your eyesight, by enhancing the performance of receptors on the retina in your eye. Carrots are also rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals and are alkaline food

Carrots originally came in purple, white and yellow colors. The now standard orange carrot was developed in Holland as a tribute to William I of Orange during the Dutch fight for independence from Spain in the 16th century. Oddly-colored carrots might be coming back in style. 

New yellow carrots get their color from xanthophylls, which have been linked to good eye health. Red carrots contain lycopene, also found in tomatoes and thought to guard against heart disease and some cancers. Purple carrots anthocyanins are regarded as powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from damage.

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