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Golden purée of cardamom and ginger laced carrot soup

I just adore carrots. Raw. Steamed. Roasted. Sautéed. For many, it’s not the most exciting vegetable in the world and immediately associated with dieting and weight loss. I believe healthy regimes have done carrots an injustice or rather those who have incorporated carrots into a “restricted” eating regime, have perhaps inadvertently tainted their appreciation for carrots.

I can’t imagine any food that tastes so good, so crunchy, and so versatile, being boring. Imagine…where would mirepoix be without carrots? What about the luscious Carrot Cake, or the maple glazed carrots and Carottes à la Vichy? The Haute Cuisine brigade wouldn’t be able to “tourne” their carrots and plate them so artfully and elegantly. And what about Bugs Bunny? What will he munch on when asking What’s Up Doc? Ok. So I jest on the latter. But you get my point.

Hence, in an effort to help preserve the reputation of one of my favorite vegetables, I’ve compiled some fun trivia facts for both inspiration and amusement (main source used World Carrot Museum). Here we go:

–          Carrots are not always orange and can also be found in purple, white, red or yellow.

–          The orange color comes from the beta carotene.

–          Carrots have the highest content of beta carotene, or Vitamin A, of all vegetables.

–          There is as much calcium in 9 carrots as there is in a glass (250ml) of whole milk.

–          The carrot is a member of the parsley family including species such as celery, parsnip, fennel, dill and coriander.

–          Carrot flowers are known as Birds Nest, Bees Nest and the Devils Plague.

–          Carrots were the first vegetable to be canned commercially.

–          The average person will eat 10,866 carrots in their lifetime.

–          Holtville, California dubs itself “The Carrot Capital of the World.” with an Annual Festival, now in its 60th year.

–          Carrots are about 87% water.

–          Researchers at the USDA found that study participants who consumed 2 carrots a day were able to lower their cholesterol levels about 20 percent due to a soluble fibre called calcium pectate.

–          Carrots were first grown for medicinal uses, not as a food.

–          French Tobacconists used to put a carrot in their bins to keep their tobbaco from drying out.

–          Three Carrots give you enough energy to walk three miles.

–          If you dream about carrots it means you will have prosperity and health.

–          In America, the wild carrot is known as Queen Anne’s Lace, wild carrot, rattlesnake weed and American carrot.

–          In the Middle Ages, carrot juice was used to make butter a more appealing color in winter.

–          Carrots are one of the rare vegetables which are more nutricious cooked than raw.

–          Carrots have the highest content of beta carotene (vitamin A) of all vegetables.

–          The Longest Carrot recorded in 1996 was 5.14 metres (16 feet 10 ½ inches)

–          The Heaviest Carrot recorded in the World 18.985 lb 1998 (single root mass) John V. R. Evans, USA

–          Carrots were first grown as a medicine not a food.

–          The classic Bugs Bunny carrot is the “Danvers” type.

–          Carrots were the first vegetable to be canned commercially.

–          The Anglo-Saxons included carrots as an ingredient in a medicinal drink against the devil and insanity.

–          You get 10 mg of Vitamin A from 20 average carrots.

–          China produces 274,900,000 tons of carrots per year.

–          Wild rabbits do not eat carrots – you have been watching too much Bugs Bunny !

–          One pound of carrots will make approximately six to eight ounces of carrot juice.

–          A teaspoon holds almost 2000 carrot seeds.

–          On an average day, the year-round operation at Grimmway Farms in California processes 2-1/2 miles of trucks loaded with 10 million pounds of carrots.

–          Carrot is a symbolic of fecundity (look it up).

–          The Flaming Carrot was a mysterious and demented comic book superhero.

–          The British developed high-carotene carrots during World War II in order to enhance the night vision of their pilots (via massive consumption).

–          Amazon bookstore includes over 200 books with the title “carrot” in them.

–          The last meal on the Titanic included creamed carrots in the fifth course.

–          In the 1960s, Viola Schlicting, from Texas, created the first carrot cake from her German carrot-nut bread recipe.

Golden purée of cardamom and ginger laced carrot soup

2 tbsp olive oil

8 large organic carrots, sliced

1 large potato, medium dice

1 yellow onion, medium dice

3 cloves garlic, de-germed, grated

1 tbsp ginger powder

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp cinnamon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnishes: Dust top with cumin powder, add a generous pile of fresh cool carrot ribbons, and fresh chive snippets.

On medium heat, in large pan, heat olive oil. Sauté carrots, halfway through, add the potatoes. Cook until carrots caramelize. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Sauté until onions become translucent.  Cover with cold water, enough to cover plus 2-inches over. B2B, simmer until vegetables are completely cooked. Purée with immersion blender; season to taste. Serve and enjoy!

If you enjoy soups, be sure to familiarize yourself with Soups culinary technique refresher, and try my recipes for The delights of a luscious puréed vegetable soup, Cumin and Aleppo pepper scented Armenian yellow split pea soup, and Roasted-tomato-soup.