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In Season Now: Carrots

“Carrots! Carrots!”

Gilbert Blythe’s taunt of Anne Shirley in L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” as he pulled on her red braids is among the most memorable mentions of carrots in literature. But contrary to Gilbert’s assertion, actual carrots—the healthy vegetable grown throughout Maine and elsewhere, too—aren’t just the orange root we’ve become accustomed to.

Carrots come in a rainbow of colors—in fact, yellow, white, red, purple and other varieties have enjoyed spouts of popularity throughout the years.

In summertime, you can often find several different shades of carrots at farmers markets in Orono and Bangor. And don’t worry, they taste as great as you remember.

When it comes to farmers markets in January, carrots are also among the storage vegetables commonly available. Sold alongside winter squash, onions, garlic, potatoes and more, there’s so much fresh produce to be had even when the temperatures dip and snow covers the landscape. Some farms, like North Branch Farm in Monroe, even specialize in those crops.

Carrots are a member of the parsley family, and are rich in vitamin A, a nutrient necessary for many bodily functions including immune function and vision, according to “The New Food Lover’s Companion,” a venerable dictionary of all things edible. An edible root, the greens are delicious in salads and stir-fries—though you are less likely to find them still attached in winter (since for proper storage they are usually removed).

Fresh carrots—ones from local farms—don’t need to be peeled (though if the carrot appears dry on the outside, it’s a good idea to do so).

Easy Glazed Skillet Carrots

Easy Glazed Skillet Carrots

Serves 4

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb carrots, peeled if desired

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp unsalted butter

1 tsp seedless raspberry preserves, or jelly of your choice

In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Cut the carrots into ¼-inch thick sticks (about 2-3 inches long). Add the carrots to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until the carrots soften and begin to brown

Add the garlic to the pan. Stir well and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the butter and raspberry preserves to the pan. Stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the carrots are coated. There shouldn’t be any liquid in the pan.

Season with additional salt and pepper, as desired.

Enjoy.

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