When I was growing up, the only color carrot I can remember eating were the big ole orange carrots that Bugs Bunny was always chomping on! But our amazing farmers have been bringing back heirloom variety’s for awhile now. Don’t let the colors throw you; they have the distinctive carrot taste, although the orange variety is a bit sweeter.
Did you know purple and white carrots were among the first cultivated carrots? The orange color didn’t appear until the 1500’s and most likely became the favorite due to it’s sweeter taste. While orange carrots are full of beta carotone (which the body converts to vitamin A, a much needed nutrient), the other colors also have health benefits as well:
- Yellow carrots: contain lutein and xanthophyllis for eye health.
- Purple carrots: higher levels of beta carotene then orange carrots, but from the anthocycanins class of pigments. These are powerful antioxidants that protect cells and are good anti-inflammatory agents.
- White carrots: contain natural bioactive compounds that work with nutrients and fibre to protect against disease.
- Red carrots: contain lycopene, which is associated with many health benefits like helping to prevent heart disease and numerous cancers, as well as reduced risk of macular degeneration.
- Black carrots: also contain anthocyanins, flavonoids that are being researched for their possible anticancer compounds.
When I have multi colored carrots, I love making this Honey Glazed Carrot recipe. The presentation of all these colored carrots, glistening with a honey glaze on a serving plate will get you loads of compliments! These beautiful, multicolored baby carrots are from Babé Farms, in Santa Maria. Babé Farms is a family owned farm, operating since 1986, and grow about 7 varieties of these heirloom colored carrots year round.
Okay confession… I used to only make glazed carrots for a holiday meal, like Thanksgiving, for example. But when I tried this recipe from Katie Workman’s new cookbook, Dinner Solved, I had to ask myself why! Everyone loves this recipe in our house, so why not make them as a side dish more often??? Ok, so another confession… I sprinkled on a dose of course kosher salt at the end and with that sweet/salty thing going on, these might be a favorite snack now, too! I’m lucky if there are any left for dinner!
Besides gorgeous carrots, you’ll need salt, pepper, butter, oil, water, honey, and red wine vinegar. I love the measuring cup on the right for sticky ingredients like the honey. You just push it right out into your pan, but you can also give your measuring cup a light spray of oil for super easy release from any measuring cup.
If you buy carrots with the greens still attached, you’ll want to remove those before storing. Rinse and store in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your fridge. When I serve whole carrots, I like to leave about half an inch to an inch of the tops for presentation.
If the root end is super straggly, you can trim that too, then go ahead and peel. (Most baby carrots don’t need to be peeled, especially the french babies like these orange ones here, but for this dish I like how shiny they look peeled and with the glaze. French baby carrots also caramelize really well, making these a perfect choice for this recipe.)
I bet you could make a nice little slaw side salad with the peels – I hate to see food go to waste. These went out to my chickens.
The carrots here are just about four inches and not super thick so I kept them whole. If you are using thick, traditionally sized carrots, you’ll want to slice them into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in a pan and cook until they just start to turn brown in a few spots.
Now we get to the good stuff! Add in all your ingredients except for the butter, and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, you’ll bring the heat back up and continue to cook until the carrots are tender and the liquid is syrupy. Add the butter to your glaze, and let it melt in. Check your seasonings and serve hot or warm.
This is when I add on some extra salt, and if you’re like me and love that sweet/salty combo like you get when you have a piece of salted caramel, then you will love this extra dash too!
Hopefully I have convinced you to start buying a rainbow of carrots. And if you have a little space to garden, many seed catalogs carry these heirloom varieties now, so you can grow your own.
Thank you to Melissa’s Produce for suppling Babé Farms carrots to me. If you can’t find them where you live, you can purchase some from Melissa’s. Thank you for supporting the companies that support the Farm to Table web site.