Preparing and Cooking Carrots

Prepare and Cook Carrots

Preparing Carrots


Scrape the carrots. Very young, tender carrots can be cleaned by scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Soak carrots that are slightly limp in ice water to firm them up. Don't discard slightly wilted intact carrots; use them in soups or stews where texture doesn't matter.


What Happens When You Cook Carrots


Since carotenes do not dissolve in water and are not affected by the normal heat of cooking, carrots stay yellow and retain their vitamin A when you heat them. But cooking will dissolve some of the hemicellulose in the carrot's stiff cell walls, changing the vegetable's texture and making it easier for digestive juices to penetrate the cells and reach the nutrients inside.


How Other Kinds of Processing Affect Carrots


Freezing. The characteristic crunchy texture of fresh carrots depends on the integrity of its cellulose- and hemicellulose-stiffened cell walls. Freezing cooked carrots creates ice crystals that rupture these membranes so that the carrots usually seem mushy when defrosted. If possible, remove the carrots before freezing a soup or stew and add fresh or canned carrots when you defrost the dish.


Medical Uses and/or Benefits of Carrots


A reduced risk of some kinds of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, carrots and other foods rich in beta-carotene, a deep yellow pigment that your body converts to a form of vitamin A, may lower the risk of cancers of the larynx, esophagus and lungs. There is no such benefit from beta-carotene supplements; indeed, one controversial study actually showed a higher rate of lung cancer among smokers taking the supplement.


Protection against vitamin A-deficiency blindness. In the body, the vitamin A from carrots becomes 11-cis retinol, the essential element in rhodopsin, a protein found in the rods (the cells inside your eyes that let you see in dim light). Rhodopsin absorbs light, triggering the chain of chemical reactions known as vision. One raw carrot a day provides more than enough vitamin A to maintain vision in a normal healthy adult.


Adverse Effects Associated with Carrots


Oddly pigmented skin. The carotenoids in carrots are Eat-soluble. If you eat large amounts of carrots day after day, these carotenoids will be stored in your fatty tissues, including the Eat just under your skin, and eventually your skin will look yellow. IE you eat large amounts of carrots and large amounts of tomatoes (which contain the red pigment lycopene), your skin may be tinted orange. This effect has been seen in people who ate two cups of carrots and two tomatoes a day Eor several months; when the excessive amounts of these vegetables were eliminated from the diet, skin color returned to normal.


False-positive test for occult blood in the stool. The active ingredient in the guiac slide test for hidden blood in feces is alphaguaiaconic acid, a chemical that turns blue in the presence of blood. Carrots contain peroxidase, a natural chemical that also turns alphaguaiaconic acid blue and may produce a positive test in people who do not actually have blood in the stool.

More Articles