Believed to have originated from Persia, carrots have been a popular root vegetable in Europe for around 1000 years for their natural sweetness and health benefits.
They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and are full of beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that converts into vitamin A during the digestive process, assisting good eye health and vision.
It takes carrots up to four months to grow from seed to full maturity. While orange is the most common colour, there are also the red, purple, yellow and white variants that are equally as nutritious.
Despite the popular belief, carrots are not a favourite food of rabbits, but horses, sheep and goats love them.
Carrots store well in the refrigerator wrapped in a plastic bag or paper towel to minimise moisture loss. To cook, they can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried, roasted and pureed. Carrots can also be made into jam, juiced or added to cakes and desserts.
You can find carrots at the Patlin Gardens, Alnda Farms, W & B Hart Vegetables and Virgara’s Garden stalls at the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market on Sunday from 9am to 1pm at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville.
They are also sold at the W & B Hart Vegetables, Vive and Virgara’s Garden stalls at the Willunga Farmers’ Market on Saturday from 8am to 12.30pm, and at Alnda Farms and N & M Tsimiklis stalls at the Gawler Farmers’ Market from 8am to 12pm on Saturday at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre, 2 Lyndoch Road, Gawler.
Lyndall Vandenberg, marketing and communications coordinator for the Willunga Farmers’ Market, has shared her recipe for Carrot & Red Lentil Dhal, which she says can be served with naan bread and natural yoghurt.
Carrot & Red Lentil Dhal
400g grated carrot
1 cup red lentils
1 litre water
½ small onion, peeled and finely sliced
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Red or green chilli, finely chopped
Light extra virgin olive oil
Place carrots, lentils, water, salt and turmeric in a saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to boil. Move the lid to the side so that it partially covers the pot and simmer for 40-50 minutes or until tender and the water has evaporated.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a fry pan. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until golden.
Add the salt, onions and garlic to the carrots and lentils. Stir through or mash together. Serve in a generous bowl scattered with the coriander leaves and chilli.
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