Lots to make and do with carrots
Credit: Sue Visser

The health benefits of carrots

Carrots suit all blood types. This is great news for people who appreciate food choices that are well suited to their blood type. When cooked, carrots yield as much as 5x the amount of beta carotene as do raw carrots. In studies undertaken to investigate the cancer protective effects of cooked carrots. They say that half a cup of cooked carrots in a daily diet helped to prevent or cut down on the effects of pancreatic and lung cancer. This is due to the high carotene content.

Raw carrots than cooked carrots well chewed are better for lowering cholesterol. Two carrots a day, Bugs Bunny style lowered the LDL cholesterol by as much as 11% in some cases. For helping the colon bulk up and accelerate waste removal both raw and cooked carrots are wonderfully effective.

Carrots do contain carbohydrates, but they are high in fibre, so chewing carrot sticks is good for the teeth and to keep cravings for sweet things at bay. Carrot juice has a high concentration of sugar and although it is rich in beneficial vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals and enzymes, the sugar has a large impact on the pancreas. Insulin and blood sugar problems may occur because removing the natural soluble fibre raises they glycemic index - just like ordinary sugar does.

Cooked carrot pulp makes a great baby food. Carrots are free of allergens and babies seem to love the taste of carrots. This is a good reason to start planting carrots to have a good supply throughout the year. Always try to buy fresh organic produce. Buying in bulk will guarantee you eat them every day and reap all the health benefits. Use cooked or raw carrot pulp to enhance gluten-free baking.

New tricks with the same old carrots

Chop off the tops of carrots before storing them. They say it keeps the nutrients inside the carrot, instead of being directed to the leafy area. Now place the carrot tops in a shallow bowl of water so the children can enjoy watching them grow. They can also be planted in the garden, between flowers and look like ferns.

Peel the carrots. Some people like to scrub them with a hard brush. For making carrot ribbons, rather use an old-fashioned potato peeler. Once all the peel is off, cut long strips off the carrots, making them as thick as possible. Keep these “ribbons” in a plastic container and used in many ways.

If the carrots are large and woody inside then chop the remaining woody core into chunks and boil them until soft. Drain off all the water and process them into a pulp. Freeze it in small plastic containers to use for baking or for enriching soups and stews. Use the liquid in soups or for baking.

Fill a few ice trays with cooked carrot pulp. They are handy if you need to add small quantities to a little person’s meal or bulk up sauces and soups.

Lightly cook or steam the carrot ribbons for a minute or two and rinse with cold water so they stay crisp. Serve as a vegetable or use them in salads. Add cumin and coriander, olive oil and sesame seeds.

Add to stir fries, just before serving so they are still crisp – but richer in beta carotene, remember!

Lunch boxes and carrot creativity

Raw carrot ribbons are ideal for snacks and lunch boxes. You can toss in a few cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, seedless grapes, lettuce leaves and cucumber wedges for a takeaway school or office lunch.  Keep a creamy salad dressing in a small separate container and include a small plastic knife or old ice cream stick to use as a spreader.

Children also like a lettuce leaf rolled around a mixture of grated carrots, honey, raisins and strawberries, peaches, apple or other sliced fruit.

A mixed grated carrot salad can also be made and packed into a lunch box, ready to eat. Experiment with tasty mixtures to the liking of the child or adult. Let them choose the ingredients and they will enjoy it all the more. Try out diced pineapple, raisins, cooked peas, cherry tomatoes, seedless grapes, finely chopped celery, apple, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and so on. Serve it with an oil based dressing or a creamy one. To add more flavour to yoghurt, mix in some honey and tahini. (Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds.)

Cooked carrot pulp is the mainstay of gluten-free crumpets and cup cakes

Everybody loves pumpkin fritters. But the oil and gluten Darling! Try these carrot crumpets. Cook them in a non-stick pan with a tiny tipple of oil. The batter mixture is gluten-free and has a higher protein content from the yellow pea flour. Made in large quantities they are a good substitute for bread and sandwiches, as you will soon find out.

Flapjack mixture: 6 medium-sized crumpets. This is gluten-free and suits all blood types.

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) cooked carrot pulp – no water
  • 60 ml gluten-free flour.
  • (Bulk flour mixture recipe: 1 cup rice flour, 1 cup yellow pea flour,  30 ml tapioca flour, 20 ml baking powder.)
  • 1 large egg ( 60 grams +)
  • 30 ml olive or rice bran oil
  • 15 ml brown sugar or 30ml xylitol
  • Spices: 3-5 ml cinnamon powder. A pinch of ginger is also nice.
  • Optional:  add a pinch or two of finely ground cumin and coriander.

Cooking procedure

Heat up a large, flat non-stick pan to medium on a stove plate.

Using a fork, mix together the carrot pulp, egg, oil, sugar, spices.

Lastly gently fold in the flour mixture.

Add a bit of oil to the medium hot pan and spoon out the batter into small, flat discs.

They shake loose and slide around when the first side is ready.  Flip them over and cook the other side.

Optional: sprinkle pumpkin or sunflower seeds or crushed walnuts on the uncooked side. When they flip over, the seeds get toasted. This is a delicious variant.

To make a lunch box sandwich, spread cottage cheese and honey between two of these crumpets. Alternatively try butter and a few slices of farm cheese.

To make cup-cakes or a large, flat cake, use the same basic recipe. Bake as you would a normal muffin in your oven. To make a single test sample in the microwave oven, fill a small Chinese tea-cup or bowl with batter. Cook it on full in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove it and allow it to cool. This will show you the texture and strength of the cake. I find the carrots made a big improvement all round, especially to the colour. Some of you will now agree - bread is boring!

There are many uses for grated carrots

Eat them raw, give it to children to take to school or munch instead of popcorn.

Use raw grated carrot to bulk up a bowl of rice. This lowers the starch content or your meal.

Add grated carrot to muffin or cake recipes for more moisture. Also include dried fruit and raisins.

Make the famous Indian grated carrot dessert . There are a number of delicious desserts you can try, but watch out for large amounts of sugar. You can use xylitol instead.

A healthier version is to fry up the grated carrot in a little oil or preferably butter. Sweeten the mixture with xylitol or stevia. Simmer with a little orange juice and add ginger or cinnamon and cardamom for a spicy flavour. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top. Yummy! Serve with cream or yoghurt.

So liven up your carrot habits and play with your food!

  • Try cutting carrot ribbons, Julienne match sticks or ripple cut slices.
  • Add whole peeled carrots to the next pot of rice. They are sweet and lovely as is or mash them to make carrot pulp for your next baking session.
  • Add carrots to your juicing mixtures. Control the sugar levels by adding more celery, parsley, lemons and spinach.
  • Take raw carrots, creatively chopped to work. Soon people will join you, crunching away their constipation and even headaches. They say the crunch between the jaws can ease up a tension headache. Try it out!
  • Use carrots for arts and crafts sessions. They make great pattern stamps. Carve your design into the chopped off end and press it into play dough or ceramic clay. Also use them for printing instead of potato cuts. Beetroot juice makes a colourful substitute for paint.
  • Cut the carrot into thin round slices and use them for playing noughts and crosses or to use as fake money or counters when playing a board game. Afterwards, they can become a delicious carrot stew or soup!
Carrot pulp to make crumpets / flpajacks or muffins
Credit: Sue Visser
Carrot ribbons
Credit: Sue Visser
Sweet Indian carrot desserts
Credit: Sue Visser
Turn over when first side is crispy
Credit: Sue Visser
The gigabyte carrot load
Credit: Sue Visser
Pumpkin seed crumpet and carrot strips
Credit: Sue Visser
Carrot carden and snackbox
Credit: Sue Visser
Grated carrot makes a great all-rounder
Credit: Sue Visser
A lettuce wrap with semi-cooked carrot
Credit: Sue Visser
Ripple cut carrot slices
Credit: Sue Visser
Grated carrot for baking.
Credit: Sue Visser