Happy August! It seems like July flew by, but August means tomato season (and almost football season)! I hope your own gardens are thriving. I harvested my first cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes from my own garden last week, and I know there is much more to come!
We also harvested the first cucumbers and tomatoes from the Creekside and Sullivan Memorial Garden this week, and they were a big hit at the farm market. Next week we should have even more! Carrots are peaking out of the soil, onions are growing strong, and our little fairytale eggplants are looking gorgeous!
Carrots are one of the most popular root vegetables. Many people either love them or hate them. I personally love carrots, and I think if they are prepared correctly, they can be delicious – even for those who aren’t too fond of the orange vegetable! Most people know that carrots are good for eye health, which is very true. One cup of carrots contains an impressive 428% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A! Vitamin A is produced in our bodies from the compound beta-carotene found in carrots. Beta-carotene is also what gives carrots their orange color. Vitamin A is necessary for the photoreceptor cells, rods and cones, in our eyes; it plays a role in our ability to adapt to dim light. Vitamin A also plays a role in embryonic growth and development, reproduction, cell differentiation, and our immune system health. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin K, which is necessary for proper blood clotting and bone health. Additionally, considerable amounts of potassium are found in carrots. Potassium is needed for the majority of body functions, including kidney and heart function, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. Carrots have even more health benefits than what I’ve mentioned here, so be sure to stock up at the next farmer’s market or grocery store trip!
My favorite way to enjoy carrots is either raw with hummus or guacamole, or roasted in the oven. Carrots can also be steamed, grilled, juiced, or used in soups or salads. Here is a recipe for a delicious carrot salad:
Yogurt Tahini Mediterranean Carrot Salad
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons water + more as needed to thin out
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 2 large carrots
- 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup royal raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
- salt and pepper to taste
- black sesame seeds for garnish
For the dressing:
- Whisk tahini and 2 tablespoons water together until smooth.
- Add the yogurt, lime juice and honey and whisk again until smooth.
- Add additional water (1-2 more tablespoons) as necessary for desired consistency.
For the salad:
- Using a spiralizer or a julienne peeler make noodles from the carrots.
- Place the carrot noodles in a large bowl.
- Add the chickpeas, raisins, parsley and feta.
- Add the dressing and toss until well combined.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with black sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately or keep chilled until serving.
Adapted from: Running to the Kitchen Blog (https://www.runningtothekitchen.com/yogurt-tahini-mediterranean-carrot-salad/)
Many people grow carrots in their vegetable gardens; they are pretty easy and super fun to grow. Carrots can be grown in raised beds, row gardens, or containers. After growing carrots, some may notice that their carrots have forked or split. The video below from MI gardener explains how to prevent this and instead get longer, straighter carrots. This can be done by having rich, loose, deep soil; adding sand to the soil; maintaining the nitrogen balance in the soil; and intermittent watering. Hopefully these tips can help your carrots!
Have a great weekend!