Today’s Meatless Monday blog was written by Sara and Heather, volunteers testing and tasting recipes from our Vermont Fresh: A Fruit and Vegetable Handbook. Join these two home cooks as they explore Carrots! 

We tested the Carrot Fritters Recipe on January 3, 2016.

Estimated cost: $2.35 for the complete recipe
Serves: 3 people (if accompanied by a side salad, soup, or other relative accompaniment); 6 people as an appetizercarrots
Time to prepare: 1 hour; 50 minutes of prep time and 10 minutes of frying time

Thoughts: Ultimately, the concoction tasted pretty good. It was a bit heavy on the onion, and the garlic and cheese were not discernable (having been overpowered by the onions). It may be more accurate to call them onion fritters rather than carrot fritters. The fritter mixture did not hold together when frying; turning them was virtually impossible, and we ended up with a heated slaw-like mixture. The ingredient 1 teaspoon garlic is unclear. Should it be powdered garlic? Fresh garlic? And if fresh garlic, minced? Crushed? Sliced? We used one clove of fresh garlic, minced, for this recipe.

Conclusions: This recipe is unsuccessful as currently written, though it shows potential with some adjustments. Furthermore, it could serve as a healthy, simple, affordable menu option with many ingredients already generally household pantry items.
Suggestions to the recipe below:

  • Halve the onion (half of medium onion and/or 1/3 cup of onion).
  • Double the cheese (1/2 cup).
  • Double the garlic (two cloves).
  • Increase the flour or other binding agent; we suggest an additional ¾ cup of flour.
  • Consider serving with a yogurt-dill sauce.

Carrot Fritters
(adapted from Nigel Slater: Tender)

Carrot fritter ingredients Ingredients
2 large carrots
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic
⅔ cup milk or cream
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup grated cheddar
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Shred carrots with a grater.
2. In a small bowl, mix together carrots, onion, garlic, milk, egg, cheese, and flour.
3. In a shallow fry-pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of the carrot mixture into the pan, making small patties. Fry gently until golden on each side.
4. Remove to paper-towel covered plate (to remove any excess oil) and eat hot.

Note: for variations, try adding some grated beets, sunflower seeds, or a handful of herbs (such as cilantro).

While we tend to think of carrots as being orange, they historically grew in a broad range of colors, from purple to yellow to white. Nowadays, some of these heirloom varieties of carrot are making a comeback. Carrots are thought to have originated somewhere around presentday Afghanistan, though the roots were probably scrawny and branching. After centuries of selective breeding the roots became thicker, sweeter, and less inclined to grow odd-looking arms and legs. Surprisingly, the orange variety of carrot probably wasn’t developed until the 18th century. According to one legend, the orange carrot was bred as a patriotic gesture by Dutch growers who were loyal to the House of Orange, the Royal Family of the Netherlands. It is more likely, however, that the orange vegetable was selectively bred for its flavor and was later adopted by the House of Orange for its color. Carrots have a very high sugar content for a vegetable, making them well-liked by kids around the world.

Growing Tips
Carrots should be seeded directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. Transplanting is not recommended. Carrots generally like looser soils without competition from weeds. Rocky soils may cause the roots to branch. For both summer carrots and storage carrots, sow seeds through midsummer. Keep seedlings well-watered. To determine when carrots are ready to harvest, try pulling up a few and checking for size, color, and flavor. Carrots hold well if left in the soil, even after a frost, but be sure to dig them up before the ground completely freezes.

Always rinse and scrub carrots before eating. If the greens are still attached, chop them off and discard them. The skin can be left on, but many people choose to peel their carrots, especially if they are old and tough. Carrots can be eaten either raw or cooked; they lend themselves well to steaming and roasting. Be careful not to overcook, as that will damage flavor, texture, and nutritional value.

Once you pull carrots, cut off the greens, wrap the roots in paper towels, tuck loosely into plastic bags, and store in the refrigerator (the colder, the better). Carrots can be stored unwashed, too, if you grow them yourself. If you have a root cellar, carrots can be stored in damp sand for many months without deteriorating!

Nutritional Benefits
Carrots are known for being packed with Beta-carotene, which makes them their characteristic orange color. The human body processes beta-carotene into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for good eyesight. Carrots are also full of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and various other minerals and antioxidants.