Carrots are a popular root vegetable that are well known for high levels of beta carotene, making them a healthful addition to virtually any diet. They can be eaten in many different ways, including whole, sliced, and shredded. Many people find them equally delicious either cooked or raw, making serving carrots a matter of narrowing down the choices rather than struggling to find a way to serve them.
Since carrots are a root vegetable and grow under the ground, they typically arrive at the market with bits of soil still on them. When serving carrots in any form, they should first be washed thoroughly with a vegetable brush to remove the remaining dirt. Many people choose to use a vegetable scraper to remove the outer layer of the carrot prior to serving them, but this is a matter of individual preference.
Full-sized carrots may be cut into short sticks and served with some salad dressing, such as ranch, to use as a dip. Often they are offered alongside other fresh vegetables, such as celery sticks and broccoli florets. Serving carrots as part of a vegetable tray can be suitable for dinner at home, to add to a lunch for school or work, or to serve as a party appetizer.
Another popular method for serving carrots raw is to use the baby carrots that are often found in the produce section already cleaned and peeled. These tend to be popular with children as well as adults and are easy to add to a plastic bag for a crunchy lunchtime treat. In some cases small carrots may have been chemically peeled, so for those wishing to avoid these chemicals, either look for organic carrots or read the label carefully before buying.
Shredding is a common way of serving carrots raw. Carrots generally are a sweet, crispy addition to any salad, plus they add interest with their bright orange color. They mix well with the shredded cabbage in coleslaw, they can be piled on sandwiches, or they can be used to make a sweet carrot and raisin salad.
When cooked, carrots lose their crunch but they typically make up for it in sweetness. Large carrots can be sliced, chopped, or cubed and then added to soups, stews, and casseroles. Chunks of carrots hold up well to cooking in a slow cooker, and they will generally still be firm and tasty when the rest of the food is done. The small, ready-to-use carrots are an easy way to add color and flavor to many dishes, and they can also be cooked with pot roast, corned beef, and other foods.