botanical name: Daucus carota
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The carrot is not a food acceptable to all: in fact, many refuse its sweetness - not considering it acceptable in a vegetable - while others are puzzled about its crunchiness. These are, however, features that reveal some of the strengths of this root, that is, the wealth of mineral salts and sugars and high in fiber. The sweet taste makes it an excellent ingredient for first courses, main courses and side dishes in which to play on contrasts of flavor, but also to prepare the classic cake enriched with almonds.
Origins and history
Classified by Linnaeus in 1753 with the name of Daucus carota, it's a herbaceous plant, collected from the white inflorescences umbrella, of which the root is consumed, which - according to the variety - has colors ranging from white to those grown for fodder, yellow and orange, from red to violet.
The wild plant is found everywhere in Europe, Asia - where it has its roots, perhaps in Afghanistan - and North Africa, where the spread fell after Australia and North America; it is not uncommon to find it as weed in arid points of the countryside or on the edge of the city, as its seeds in the soil resist maintaining their viability 2 to 5 years. Vegetables commonly found on our table are varieties developed from the subspecies "sativa", that is spontaneous.
Nutritional properties and benefits of Carrot
As mentioned, the carrot is a vegetable rich in minerals, in addition to having a high content of vitamins.
The typical color so turned on is due to the abundance of carotene, from whose metabolization is obtained vitamin A, which also functions as an antioxidant; also, it has in abundance vitamin C and potassium, selenium, a fair amount of calcium and other precious microelements to health. With only 35 calories per 100 grams of weight, it's indicated in low-calorie diets, while maintaining the greatest possible amount of vitamins - that should be destroyed at high temperatures - it's recommended to consume raw or cooked by steaming.
Frozen, the nutritional principles are preserved in the best at a temperature not lower than 0 °; the high percentage of fibers contained - which makes the carrot a vegetable ideal for the good functioning of the intestines - loses, as known, in turn consistency if the humidity is too high or too low a temperature.
The use of carrot in cooking
The carrot has a naturally fresh, delicate flavor and is for sale all year round; you can cut into sticks being fried in batter, or grated raw in thin slices and season with lemon, olive oil and dill or thyme - or other herbs to taste - to make it a summer side dish. Still raw, you can be used as one of the vegetables with which to prepare the vinaigrette; an excellent base for the centrifuged, to be achieved for example by mixing it with lime juice and flavoring it all with a little Tabasco sauce and salt, to get a drink rich in vitamins and aromas, exotic feel and very useful to help the tan. In fact, the beta-carotene content has antioxidant function, but enters as a component in some suntan lotion just for its support action of the accumulation of melanin in the epidermis.
It's better to avoid the "do-it-yourself" with leaves and carrot juice, which can stain the skin, irritating or worse. The plan of the wild variety can indeed be exchanged for that of hemlock, which belongs to the same family and is known to have been used to kill Socrates.
Recommended during the cold season is instead the classic cake with almond flour, in which the taste of the main ingredient - rich in simple sugars - and the cheerful color that gives the sweet desserts make it a suitable for many occasions and very healthy. Equally, a cream made from carrot, with asparagus tips, scented with chives and accompanied by croutons, can be an excellent first course.
The carrot is always used as a natural element to color fabrics, which gives a color ranging from light yellow to orange. In North America, where this vegetable as we know it now was imported, is also called "Queen Anne's Lace". The name is due to the ruling to which the will - it is said - was due to the introduction of the plant, and the appearance of the umbrella inflorescence, white and light as an embroidery but with a little red heart, where it would fall a drop of blood from the finger that the queen pricked with the needle.