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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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It’s amazing what you can do with carrots

Healthy and tasty whichever way you use them carrots have a nutty and slightly sweet flavour. They’re popular with everyone and they can be used in all sorts of different ways. Eat them raw as fingerfood with a yoghurt or cheesy dip. Grated carrots can be combined with apples, kohlrabi and walnuts to make a delicious, crunchy salad. Cooked carrots go with almost everything, for example with other vegetables, like courgettes, celery, parsnips and potatoes.  Pureed or made into croquettes, carrots are a good alternative to potatoes. Sliced, steamed and then slightly caramelised in butter and a little honey, they make a colourful accompaniment to fish, poultry and any sort of meat. Or try an exotic carrot and ginger soup garnished with coconut shavings, orange slices and prawns. Carrot cake is a universal favourite, especially with a cream cheese topping. It’s a “healthy” cake too, because the juicy sweetness of the carrot means that you need less sugar and fat.

Low on calories, high on health benefits

Fresh young carrots only need to be washed thoroughly and possibly brushed clean. Older vegetables need peeling. Carrots are easily digested and contain a lot of valuable nutrients like beta carotene, potassium, calcium and iron. Beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A and important for your sight, for your immune system and your skin. Adding fat in the form of butter, oil or cream improves your uptake of beta carotene. It’s also important to chew carrots very thoroughly.

Selecting and storing

Carrots are available to buy the year round. In spring and summer, you’ll see tender, young carrots which taste sweeter. You can tell that carrots are fresh from their brilliant orange colour with no black spots. They should feel firm and stiff if you try to bend them. If they still have their tops, these should be bright green and fresh looking. Carrots keep for a fairly long time, if you store them in a cool, dark place such as the vegetable drawer of your fridge or in a special cellar. Always twist off the green tops if you’re going to store the carrots, because the green leaves draw moisture out of the roots, ie, the carrots. Don’t store your carrots in plastic, because they will the quickly turn mouldy.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de