Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Carrots and Parsnips from
the Barren County Farmers' Market

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Carrots are members of the Umbelliferae family making them close relatives of celery, cilantro, dill, parsley, parsnip, and Queen Anneís Lace, or wild carrot.

The first carrots grown were not the orange ones you are used to seeing today, they were purple and pale yellow. It was not until the 17th century in the Netherlands that orange carrots were cultivated.

Their early use was primarily medicinal and was prescribed to cure stomach problems as well as liver and kidney ailments.

They were used to sweeten baked goods - such as carrot cake - as there was little other types of sweetening.

A parsnip resembles a top-heavy, ivory-colored carrot, but it has a mild celery-like fragrance and a sweet, nutty flavor. Unlike carrots, parsnips contain no beta-carotene but they are a good source of vitamin C and folate.

Like carrots, parsnips are native to Eurasia and have been eaten there since ancient times. Until potatoes arrived from the New World, parsnips took their place.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Selecting a quality product

Carrots may be sold in bunches with their tops on, loose without their tops, or in bags.

Select carrots that are brightly colored and firm. Do not purchase carrots that are shriveled, soft or cracked.

When buying fresh parsnips, look for a firm vegetable with a smooth skin. Buy medium sized parsnips, as large ones can be extremely fibrous. They should feel firm and be a pale ivory color without any sprouting roots.

Carrots with small cores are sweeter than those with large, woody cores. Look for carrots with smaller shoulders at the top. They will be less likely to be thick and woody.

When buying parsnips, look for well-shaped, small, firm roots. Large, older parsnips require more peeling and have a woody core.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Tips on Storage

Remove carrot tops if they are still attached at the time of purchase to reduce water loss in storage. Refrigerate carrots and parsnips in a plastic bag and use within 1-2 weeks.

Tips on cooking

Carrots do not need to be peeled if they are scrubbed well. Wash with cold water and scrub with a vegetable brush before using. Carrots may be eaten raw or steamed, stir-fried, or boiled in a soup, stew or casserole.

Since carrots have beta carotene and beta carotene is oil soluble, when cooking carrots, cook with a little vegetable oil - the oil will aid the bodyís absorption of beta carotene. Donít overcook carrots as this will decrease the carotene level.

Parsnips can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups and casseroles. They also make good "chips." Very small parsnips need little or no peeling. Just trim the ends and cook according to your recipe. Medium-size and large parsnips need to be peeled. Larger parsnips also need to have the woody core removed; if it is cut out before cooking, the parsnips will cook more quickly and evenly.

Ways to use:

Add parsnips to casseroles in place of pototoes
Eat carrots raw as a snack or with dip
Carrot slaw with apples or dried fruit such as raisins


Au Gratin Carrots

2 pounds carrots, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces processed American cheese, cubed
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups cornflakes, crushed

Cook the carrots until crisp-tender; drain and set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, saut onion in 3 tbsp butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in the cheese just until melted. Add carrots and parsley. Pour into a greased 8" square baking dish. Melt remaining butter; add cornflakes. Sprinkle over carrots. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Breaded Parsnips

Yield: 6 Servings

1 lb parsnips
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper
1/4 tsp dried savory
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup butter

Peel parsnips and cut into large pieces, about 2 1/2 inches long. Cook in boiling salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost tender. Drain.

Beat together egg and milk. Add salt, pepper to taste, and savory to breadcrumbs. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Dip each piece of parsnip in egg mixture, then in crumbs. Cook in melted butter until golden brown, turning often. Makes 6 servings.

Baked Stuffed Carrots

4 large carrots, washed and pared
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp butter or margarine, divided

Boil carrots for 30 minutes or until mildly cooked. Cut in halves. Scoop out centers and mash. Chop onion and pepper and add salt, pepper, and t tbsp butter. Add to mashed carrot centers and stuff the halves of carrots. Bake in a dish greased with 1 tb.sp butter for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Carrot Fritters

1/2 cup flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 lb carrots, scraped and coarsly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup flat beer
1 egg white

Combine flour, salt, egg, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and beer to make a smooth batter. Cover with plastic wrap for several hours at room temperature, the longer the better. (It can also be refrigerated overnight). Stir in curry powder. Beat egg white until stiff and fold it into batter. Gently fold in carrots. Drop large spoonfuls of mixture into 375-degree vegetable oil, and cook about one minute on each side. The oil doesn't need to be more than one inch deep for this. Remove fritters with slotted spoon, and let them drain on paper towels. Serve hot. Makes four servings.

Orange-Baked Sweet Potato And Parsnips

Yield: 8 Servings

1/4 cup butter or margarine; melted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 pn pepper
6 med parsnips; (about 1 lb)
3 sweet potatoes; (about 1-1/2 lb)

In a small bowl, combine margarine, honey, orange juice, nutmeg, salt and pepper; set aside.

Peel parsnips and sweet potatoes; cut into 1/4inch thick slices. Cook parsnips and sweet potatoes in separate saucepans of boiling, salted water until just tender (the parsnips for 10 minutes, the sweet potatoes for 8 minutes); drain well.

In greased 10 inch pie plate, or 6 cup shallow casserole, arrange half of sweet potatoes. Top with half of the parsnips. Pour half of the orange juice mixture over top.

Arrange remaining parsnip and sweet potato slices in alternating circles or rows on top. Drizzle with half of remaining orange juice mixture. Cover and and refrigerate remaining o.j. mixture.

Cover pie plate with circle of greased waxed paper; cover with foil, crimping edges to seal. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, then bake, covered, in 325F oven, for 45 to 50 minutes or until heated through.

Heat reserved orange juice mixure until margarine has melted. Uncover pie plate, and brush vegetables with o.j. mixture; bake 5 minutes until lightly glazed.

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