Carrots are one of the vegetables that you can eat raw. You just peel them off and put them in a vegetable tray with a specialty sauce and you are ready to serve. Then again, they also come as wonderful additions to some recipes. But you have to learn how to cook them properly. In this guideline, we will give you tips and tricks on how to cook baby carrots, a variety that is considerably smaller than the usual size we see in groceries and supermarkets, and regular carrots as well.
The Difference in Size
The difference of cooking baby carrots from regular ones is the size. Thus, you have to adjust your cooking time for each. While whole, regular carrots may take 20 more minutes to cook, baby carrots will be ready in 10 minutes. So it is basically in the cooking time that you have to adjust when dealing with both varieties and with different portion sizes.
Baby carrots are different from the regular variety that we find in stores as they are considerably smaller. That’s because they are harvested earlier than usual. They could be anything from 2 inches to 3 inches, too far from the regular, mature ones, which are generally 8 inches to 9 inches long. Regardless of size, baby carrots have the same sweet flavor as the regular ones, complete with all the nutrients that make this bright orange vegetable truly a wonder.
Cooking Baby Carrots
Basically, you prepare baby carrots the same way you do with regular carrots. In some cases, if you want to keep the skin, you may do so. This is something that you can’t do with regular, mature carrots. The skin of baby carrots is so thin you will hardly recognize it’s there at all. So you can easily skip peeling them if you want to cook it with the skin on.
Then again, you may slice and dice baby carrots the same way you do with regular carrots. You may include it in different recipes that call for carrots from soups to stews to roasts and stir-fries.
You can cook carrots many different ways to bring out its naturally sweet flavor. Make sure that you do not overcook it because that will not only reduce the nutrients of your veggie but also lessen its delightfulness. Carrots cook to a tender crisp.
To make sure that your carrots will cook at the same time, always prepare carrots uniformly. If you are using baby carrots in whole, make sure that you choose them in uniform sizes. That is also the trick when slicing or dicing the veggie. You must make even sizes every single time so they cook evenly as well.
You can boil, steam, roast, grill, sauté, braise, or stir-fry carrots. It does not matter what cooking method you choose. Mostly, your cooking method will depend on the recipe you are trying to recreate. There are many delightful carrot dishes and they are all very easy to make. Here are some tips on cooking the perfect carrots every time.
Boiling: To boil carrots, season water with whatever seasoning or spices that is being called for in your recipe. Bring the water to a boil before you put the vegetables in, then, lower your heat to keep your carrots simmering. Baby carrots will boil for about 8-10 minutes; sliced carrots will need about 5-10 minutes.
Steaming: To steam carrots, put in enough water at the bottom of a pan. Place your carrots in a steamer basket. Before you put in the steamer basket onto the pan, make sure that the water is in a rolling boil. Be careful not to make the boiling water reach your carrots through the holes in the steamer basket. Cover the carrots and wait for 15-20 minutes for baby carrots to cook and 10-15 minutes for sliced carrots.
Roasting: When roasting carrots in the oven, make sure to lightly coat the baking sheet with some oil before you line up the veggie. You may add in some salt and pepper or any other seasoning according to your taste. Bake your baby or sliced carrots in 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Baby carrots may take 30 minutes to cook while sliced carrots may only require about 15-20 minutes.
Sautéing: When sautéing carrots, it is important that you cook it properly. If you are cooking it with other vegetables, you need to put the veggies that cook longer first into the pan. If you want to be sure than be sorry, you may parboil your carrots ahead of time to ensure that it will not be undercooked or overcooked.
There are truly a hundred and one ways to cook carrots. You can even make it into a sweet dessert. Its natural sweetness can be enhanced by some sugar or honey to make delightful pastries and cakes.