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Ingredient of the week: carrots

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02 FEBRUARY 2011

The orange vegetables we’ve come to know and love were, in fact, originally purple and bred orange by the Dutch. They do exist in purple, red, white and yellow varieties alongside the common orange but their flavour remains the same.

A versatile vegetable, packed with beta-carotene as well as anti-oxidants and fibre, carrots are used in everything from savoury dishes, adding a touch of sweetness to a dark, meaty braise, a fresh, zingy drink mixed with ginger to desserts and cakes, like the classic household favourite, carrot cake.

They are used around the world, from India to our own fair shores – and again used in these cuisines in both sweet and savoury format.

The story goes that British pilots were fed them in World War II to enable them to see in the dark – a myth coming from the fact that the beta-carotene in carrots metabolises into Vitamin A – without which sight can deteriorate. Be warned – over consumption can have serious side-effects – including turning you orange!

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