Friday, June 8, 2012

Honey Gingered Carrots

Realizing full well that carrots are not terribly in season (nothing really is just yet...) they have been something I have been finding myself bring home from the grocery store more and more often as of lately. Admittedly part of it is the fresh, green carrot tops for our furry little critter, but the other part is simply that I love carrots.

Most people are familiar with carrots as being good for your eyes. Or even that they are good for your eyes because they contain high levels of the antioxidant Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Carrots are in fact all of these things, but many people don't have the full ability to convert the beta-carotene into a useful form of Vitamin A within their bodies. Carrots are actually one of a few vegetables whose nutrition becomes more bioavailable to the body by consuming it cooked.

I like to leave them unpeeled, unless they're going into a soup or stew where the peel will detach anyways. Carrots rank number 21 on the EWG's Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Full List so I suggest buying organic if you're planning on leaving the peels on (this is a great app to have on your phone to use at the grocery store- I use it frequently to determine whether the price increase for organic is worth it).

Fun Fact: If you eat enough carrots you actually will turn orange. Similarly to how your body excretes excess Vitamin D (another fat soluble vitamin) through the skin (a sunburn!) excess Vitamin A is also excreted via the skin. It's not very often that anyone gets that much Vitamin A though!

So now that you're all pumped to eat some carrots, lets get to a recipe! My mom made these carrots for us when we were growing up. A light steaming is far better than boiling them to death. I'm sure Mr.C isn't the only one out there with an aversion to cooked carrots stemming from a childhood of mushy ones. I like to put them in the steaming tray above my rice cooker for simplicity's sake (but depending on what kind of rice you're cooking the carrots could end up being done before the rice so be sure to check on them) but they could be steamed above a pot of boiling water for pasta or anything else just the same.

Quantities for this "recipe" are definitely approximate. I don't follow recipes very well, so there's no logical reason why I would have the capacity to write one with any sort of specifics. It's just not how I cook...

Carrots- cut into your preference of sizes & shapes then steamed: enough to feed you!
Butter (or whatever substitute suits your needs)- generous but relative to the amount of carrots
Honey- we used macadamia blossom honey from Maui, but any kind would work: a 4:1 ratio of butter to honey is about what I like so that it's not too sweet
Ground Ginger- I've never used fresh, but it might work: a sprinkle or more depending on your fondness of the spice
Pinch of sea salt

Melt everything (except the carrots) together in a pot, toaster oven, microwave, whatever's handy. I had chicken thighs baking this time, so I stuck it all in a small pyrex dish and set it right into the oven since it was already hot. Stir, then drizzle over steamed carrots, toss to coat & enjoy!

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