JEFF TIEDEMAN: Eating orangeHome-grown carrots rank near the top in the vegetable world.
The weather the past couple of days has been just wonderful for the beginning of November. Anytime you can have temperatures in the 50s and no snow on the ground this time of the year is a bonus as far as I’m concerned. I guess it helps to make up for all the moisture we had last week.
Heavy rain pretty much saturated the ground and also kept me from digging the two rows of carrots in my garden before I took off on a weekend hunting trip. (The reason my carrots were still in the ground was that I like to wait until we have a hard frost before digging them, and that didn’t happen until just a week or so ago.)
But the spate of nice weather since Sunday will allow me to just about finish my garden chores for the season. All that will remain, after my mom and I dig the carrots today, will be my Brussels sprouts and some kale. (Mom has graciously helped me with this chore that past 15 years or so.) I usually wait until the first good snow before picking the sprouts.
Carrots are one of those vegetables that I’ll always raise. I love them — raw or cooked. Therese and I generally can anywhere from 15 to 30 pints each fall and wash up and dry five to 10 gallon zip-top bags for storage in the refrigerator. The carrots will keep for three to four months if I’m vigilant about changing out paper towels in the bags that absorb excess moisture. (I do this every week or two.)
At home, we use carrots in everything from soup to sauces to salads to pot roasts. (Check out bonus recipe at www.grandforksherald. com/event/tag/group/Life/tag/food/.) And as I’ve discovered on hunting trips the past two years, they go pretty well with steak and potatoes.
My hunting companions — brothers Mark and Terry Young — and I rarely go hungry when we’re out chasing pheasants on our excursions to western North Dakota. On our first trip, we feasted on some pheasant soup with a Southwestern flair as well as a nice meal of elk sausage cooked in homemade sauerkraut and served with mashed potatoes.
We were “roughing it” again this past weekend, and one of the items on the menu was elk that we sauteed with onions in a little olive oil and served with mashed potatoes and carrots.
During the course of our supper, Terry said he never used to like cooked carrots, only raw ones. But he has discovered they’re pretty good when mixed with mashed potatoes.
Veggies such as carrots — including spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage and peppers — supply more antioxidants to the body when cooked than they do when raw, according to scientific studies. (Antioxidants found in carrots help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and promote good vision.)
A January 2008 report in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry also said that boiling and steaming vegetables better preserves antioxidants (particularly carotenoids in carrots, zucchini and broccoli) than frying. Boiling was deemed the best.
And if you need any more evidence about carrots’ nutrition, centenarians have been found to have high blood levels of antioxidant vitamins A (found in dark orange and green vegetables such as carrots and spinach) and C.
That’s about as good news as balmy temperatures we’re experiencing this November.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.