JEFF TIEDEMAN: Come on, carrots! Nutrition, flavor combinedThis nutritious vegetable packs a lot of flavor.
Were you one of those kids whose parents had to use trickery to get you to eat your vegetables?
I’ve been a big fan of vegetables for as long as my memory serves me — unless you count those lima beans that used to be in cans of vegetable soup and ended up in my mom’s hamburger hotdish.
I’m not sure of the reason, but carrots probably had something to do with my penchant for veggies. I remember eating them right out of the garden as a youngster — dirt and all — just like my dad, and savoring each and every bite.
It may have been that first pairing of carrots with a beef roast, potatoes and onion — one of my mom’s specialties — that sealed the deal for me. Or maybe it was Dad’s homemade vegetable beef soup or his boiled dinner (each of which featured a generous portion of carrots).
Regardless, carrots, which store a gold mine of nutrients (they are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of potassium and contain vitamins C andB6, copper, folic acid, thiamine and magnesium) have been one of the vegetables that I’ve always raised in my garden. In fact, I have two nice rows of carrots that are waiting to be picked. But until we get our first hard frost, they’ll stay in the ground. That’s because the below-freezing temperatures seems to sweeten the orange beauties.
Once we’ve pulled our carrots, Therese and I generally can anywhere from 15 to 30 pints 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.
That’s a lot of carrots to eat, but we like to use them in everything from soup to sauces to salads to pot roasts (just like Mom and Dad). Most recently, I put together a vegetable stew that featured carrots prominently. (See recipe at www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/ Life/tag/food/.)
And, coincidentally, carrots are one of the vegetables that our grandson, Rakeem, really likes.
And as most of you know, not all kids are vegetable lovers, so this definitely pleases us. Statistics from a 2009 study by Ohio State researchers show only 22 percent of children ages 2 to 5 meet government recommendations for vegetable consumption.
And as children get older, things get worse. Just 16 percent of children ages 6 to 11 meet the government’s guidelines, and only 11 percent of those ages 12 to 18.
That flies in the face of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new nutrition recommendations that say half of our plates should be fruits and vegetables, especially kids.
Maybe if more parents pushed carrots …
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.