As one of the most popular root vegetables in the United States, carrots almost feel like an old friend for many people who are looking for just the right crunchy snack or addition to a salad. Children in particular seem to favor carrots over any other root crop, and there seems to be an equal liking for carrots at the other end of the age spectrum as well. Individuals 76 years of age and older eat twice as many carrots as individuals under 40, with the overall average being about 1 cup of carrots per week.
It’s easiest to identify carrots as belonging to the Umbelliferae family of plants, since their leafy greens form an umbrella-like cluster at the top of the root. However, this same family of plants is also commonly known as the Apiaceae family. This same botanical family includes parsley, anise, celery, parsnips, fennel, caraway, cumin and dill.
Carrots are loaded with anti-oxidants, in particular beta-carotene. The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself!
Even though we are most familiar with carrots as root vegetables bright orange in color, an amazing variety of colors can be found such as red, purple or yellow. The carrot can trace its ancestry back thousands of years, originally having been cultivated in central Asian and Middle Eastern countries, along with parts of Europe. Carrots became widely cultivated in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries and were first brought over to North America during this same general time period.
What’s at market this week?
Fruits and vegetables: Bell peppers, beets, blackberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, garlic, green beans, jalapenos, new potatoes, onions, squash, and turnips.
Baked goods: Biscotti, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, pies, scones, turnovers.
Breads: Artisan, challah, cinnamon raisin, pepperoni cheese roll, rosemary, rosemary cheddar, rye, seven grain, sourdough, whole wheat, whole wheat cinnamon raisin, white.
Eggs: Farm fresh eggs.
Flowers and plants: Variety of herb plants and flower bouquets.
Fresh cut herbs: Anise hyssop, basil, dill, epazote, fennel, mints, oregano and sage.
Jams and jellies: Apricot habanero, elderberry wine, lemon honey, sand plum.
Santa Fe-style Mexican cuisine: Breakfast burritos, fresh and canned salsas, frozen tamales and enchiladas in a variety of flavors
Specialty items: Dog biscuits, goat milk soaps and lotions
Stop by the market and grab the ingredients to make the Stillwater Farmers Market recipe of the week from the kitchen of Jacqui Savage.
GREEN BEAN AND CARROT VEGETABLE SALAD
2 cups whole green or yellow beans or a mix
2 cup julienne sliced carrots
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 cup red pepper, cut into strips
1 medium sweet onion cut in half, then into thin slices
Optional: Feta cheese or blue cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar or French tarragon flavored vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon or thyme or lemon thyme
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
Steam the beans and carrots to fork tender, and cool.
Place dressing ingredients in jar with tight lid. Shake until sugar is dissolved.
Place all the vegetables in a bowl, pour dressing over and mix to coat. Place a plate or a slip lock bag filled with water on top of the vegetables to keep them in the dressing. Refrigerate overnight. Drain well before serving. Optional: Sprinkle with feta cheese or blue cheese on top.
Carla Maness is serving as the public relations officer for the Stillwater Farmers Market which has local vendors from Payne County and the surrounding areas. Visit stillwaterfarmersmarket.com for more recipes and to register for free e-newsletters.