Did I Order That Many Carrots?
I didn’t order five pounds of carrots. I ordered one pound. The shopping and delivery service made a mistake. I followed public health advice to stay home to avoid catching corona virus. Instead of shopping in person, I ordered my groceries to be delivered for the first time. Yesterday I received most of my order. I’m okay with it even thought I got five times as many carrots as I ordered. They last pretty long in the fridge.
What shall I do with them? I could cook a pot of my favorite carrot soup. Easy and nutritious. Or is it? Would it be more nutritious to eat the carrots raw, as in a salad or slaw?
A little research gives me this answer: both ways are “best.” Cooked carrots are more nutritious in some ways, and raw carrots are better in other ways. Carrots are loaded with nutrients, including vitamins C and A, carotenoids, polyphenols, and folic acid. When they’re cooked with high heat, such as in boiling water, they lose a lot of their vitamin C, most of the antioxidants of a type called polyphenols, and up to 80% of their folic acid, according to reports in Scientific American, and in nutrition studies. On the other hand, as Dr. R. Liu, professor at Cornell University reports, when cooked, carrots (and many other vegetables) yield more carotenoid antioxidants including lycopene than raw ones do.
What does that mean for most of us? It means that we need to prepare foods in different ways, even the same foods, to get the most out of them. I think that I should prepare some of them raw and cook others of them. So far I have made carrot salad (shredded carrots, vegan mayonnaise and a few raisins.) If I still have a couple of pounds of carrots next week, I might make the soup. Not sure any carrots will be left by then. It’s easy to eat carrots, even five pounds of them.
You can also increase the nutrition value of veggies by using good methods of preparation. Cooking them by steaming preserves more nutrients. Keep the pot covered. Scrub but don’t peel them or soak them. More tips from an agricultural extension agent in Kentucky are at: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/HES/fcs/factshts/FN-SSB.006.PDF?LS-2659
But the bottom line is still that raw and cooked treatments maximize different assets in the same vegetable. I’d like to think that all the nutrients in the carrots will end up in my soup, but I’m pretty sure that the heat of cooking will decrease some of their vitamin C and polyphenols. However, cooking them will increase lycopene, beta carotene, and retain some vitamin C and A, protein, fiber, calcium, and magnesium. As mentioned above, I’ve already made a raw carrot salad which served me vitamins C and A, antioxidants like polyphenals, and fiber and minerals. I conclude that more than one carrot preparation approach is advisable to maximize healthy results.
I’m using those carrots faster than I thought I would. I hope I have enough left for soup next week. Wonder what mistaken veggie item the delivery service will bring me next …