From Scratch
By Lara McCormack

I always wondered why Easter and carrots go hand in hand this time of year. Considering that carrots are not ready to harvest later in the year; they are revered as a symbol of spring. Of course, bunnies love carrots, so it makes sense when the Easter Bunny shows up!

Besides such symbolism, the carrot plays a big part in our nutritional needs and is a very popular vegetable in our diets. The earliest vegetable is known to be a carrot dates to the 10th century in Persia and Asia Minor, but it looked nothing like the orange carrot of today. The wild carrot was purple or white with a thin root, most likely a more woody in flavour and texture. The word carrot was first recorded in English around 1530 and was borrowed from the French carotte and Latin word carote.

Carrots are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and are a good source of antioxidants. They help the body remove free radicals and unstable molecules that can cause cell damage if too many accumulate in the body. Carrots do help with vision, digestive health, diabetes control, immune healing, cardiovascular and bone health.

Carrots are a versatile vegetable in the kitchen. Enjoy them raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, or as an ingredient in soups and stews.

First, peel and wash the carrots, then: Use shredded carrots in coleslaws, salads, or wraps; Add shredded carrots to cakes and muffins; Have carrot sticks with a dip, such as hummus; Add carrots to juices and smoothies for a naturally sweet, mild flavor.

Boiling vegetables can reduce or eliminate some of the vitamin content. Raw or steamed carrots provide the most nutritional value. Also, carotenoids and vitamin A may absorb better in the presence of fats. For this reason, people should eat carrots with a healthful source of fat, such as avocado, nuts, or seeds.

The best thing you can do with carrots is enjoying them. Play with different recipes, add them into what tastes delicious to you and reap the nutrition. The following recipe can be served as an appetizer or as a main course with a fresh, green salad. Ideal dipping sauces are garlic ranch sauce, lemon dill dressing or a harissa mayo.

Carrot fritters (Can be made gluten free with substituting the flour)

Ingredients: Two tablespoons plain flour; two teaspoons ground cumin; one garlic clove, crushed; two tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley; three green onions, thinly sliced; two eggs, lightly beaten; three carrots, peeled; two tablespoons olive oil; two green onions, extra, thinly sliced lengthways; Reduced-fat Greek-style natural yoghurt, to serve; Lime wedges, to serve.

Directions: Combine flour, cumin, garlic, parsley and green onions in a large bowl. Add eggs. Mix well to combine; Coarsely grate carrots. Use your hands to squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. Add carrots to egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper; Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of batter per fritter to frying pan. Cook fritters in batches for three minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through; Place two fritters onto each serving plate. Top with extra green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with yoghurt and lime wedges.

Recipe copyright from Taste Magazine.

Lara McCormack is co-owner of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont Hot Springs where one can savor fabulous, seasonal food, sip from a selection of BC wines and enjoy the views of our gorgeous valley landscape.