Carrots make a delicious and comforting soup! Add some fennel and a bit of orange citrus and you get a zesty taste sensation! I discovered this recipe in Rebecca Katz’ The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen cookbook and made a few tweaks of my own. It is very simple but a great combination of flavors.
There are many interesting facts I’ve learned about carrots that I’d like to share with you! First of all, carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, which is then converted by the body to vitamin A. You all probably know this but not only does this vitamin promote good vision but especially night vision. One of the first signs of deficiency is dry cornea and night blindness.
Second, avoid buying “baby carrots”. These are actually not baby carrots but instead are imperfect mature carrots that have been put through a machine to cut them down to a smaller and more uniform size. Well unfortunately this greatly affects their nutritional value. The outer part of a carrot is much more nutritious than the inner core. This makes sense when you think about it because the outer layers of a plant are its first line of defense against dangers in the environment such as insects, fungus, disease, mold, UV rays. Says Jo Robinson in her book, Eating on the Wild Side, “the more phytonutrients in those outermost layers, the better it can defend itself”. By removing the outer layer, you are removing 1/3 of its protective phytonutrients. So stick with the big carrots and choose ones with the tops attached. This will show you how fresh they are. Carrots without tops can be months old. But be sure to remove the tops before storing them in the refrigerator. If they are left on, they will pull moisture from the roots and cause the carrots to wilt prematurely. And again this means less nutrients and a less sweet flavor. So I prefer to eat carrots washed and with their skin on. After learning these facts and starting to eat real, fresh carrots, it was like night and day! They are sweet, refreshing and delicious!! Do a taste test and see for yourself!
Thirdly, carrots are more nutritious when they are cooked, vs. raw. The cell wall of a carrot is tough and with cooking, it is broken down making some nutrients bioavailable. In addition, since beta-carotene is a fat-soluble nutrient, it needs fat for greatest absorption. So it’s best to eat carrots with some kind of oil. But don’t let this hinder you from snacking on nature’s orange beauties. You are still getting plenty of nutrition and fiber from fresh raw carrots, a much healthier alternative to processed crackers and chips.
This soup has an abundant dose of fresh, cooked carrots so enjoy!
Oh and if you’re wondering if purple carrots are healthier for you, the answer is yes! Carrots actually started out as purple but were hybridized to be orange by mixing a yellow mutant carrot from Africa with a red carrot from the Netherlands. The purple signifies the presence of the anti-oxidant phytonutrient, anthocyanins. So you’re getting an extra health boost with these purples beauties! And realize once again we are hybridizing nutrients out of our food. Take note while choosing your veggies and opt for the more colorful ones.
May you nourish and flourish!
Lila, Maryann, (2004, February). Anthocyanins and Human Health: An Invitro and Investigative Approach. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082894.
Murray, M. & Pizzorno, J., (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.
Robinson, J. (2013). Eating on the Wild Side. New York, NY: Little Brown and Company.