Carrots, either Bugs Bunny’s favourite food or food that can make your eyes see in the dark, is one of the most beneficial foods out there. Some people even think that it is the ultimate healthy food. Having its origins in Afghanistan, this root vegetable with the scientific name Daucus carota is best-known for its orange colour, although red, purple, black, and white variations also exist.
Carrots are a biennial plant, meaning that they take two years to grow. A large amount of sugar produced in its first year adds to the vegetable’s sweetness, but it can sometimes taste bitter or earthy. It also can taste different depending on its quality or where it’s harvested. The most eaten part of the carrot is the taproot, although you can also eat its stems and leaves.
Baby carrots also exist, which are sweeter and tender than full-grown carrots. These are carrots that are harvested before they reach maturity and are sold at a smaller size. Sometimes, these “baby carrots” are small slices cut from a larger carrot. Farmer Mike Yurosek first made these in 1986. This kind of carrots is marketed as snacks or alternatives to junk foods.
How Many Carrots for a Serving?
The carrot is used as an ingredient in various pastries—cake, pies, puddings, bread and any other treat that we may come off. In all these recipes, you would often find all these “1 cup of carrots” or “1/2 cup of carrots”, but how many carrots would you fit in one cup? Read on to know the right amount of carrots you need to buy for preparation, be it for Easter or Thanksgiving or even for a simple afternoon snack.
The carrot cake is the most famous dessert that you can make from a carrot, also popular during Easter and Thanksgiving. People mostly expect this dessert to be moist, delicious and full of carrots. Depending on your recipe, the number of carrots you need can vary as there are many variations that you can make with your cake. The size that you prefer can also affect how many carrots you should buy for preparation. Carrots are shredded or grated when used in a carrot cake, and you should avoid purchasing those pre-shredded carrots you find in the market. These are too thick, which can be crunchy for your cake. Instead, buy four large or nine medium carrots, or use 18 carrots if you plan on making a large cake fit for a crowd. This is needed to fill the 3 ½ cups for the recipe (or more if you are aiming for a larger cake). Grate these carrots using a food processor or a box grater. Making a carrot puree can also make the cake tastier and flavorful; you can add 1 – 2 carrots for the puree.
Other desserts incorporate carrots like bread, pies, and puddings. Making carrot bread is like preparing for a carrot cake without the frosting and would need 1 ½ cups of carrots or four carrots to be shredded. This is a healthy meal for an Easter morning that all ages would surely love. Other pastries incorporate carrots as the main ingredient. For carrot pies, you need 2 cups of chopped carrots which equals three carrots. This is also the same amount to fill 1 cup of grated carrots for a carrot pudding. Nonetheless, baking is so much more than measurements, and intuition helps a lot too.
Health Benefits of Carrots
We all know that carrots are good for our eyesight, but aside from this, there are a LOT of things that carrots can help our body.
- Eyesight. Carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene that turns into Vitamin A once it enters the body. This vitamin is good for the eyes which also supports lung and skin health. It is also a critical nutrient that prevents children from going blind. Beta-carotene also protects the eyes from the sun and lowers the risks of eye diseases. Carrots also contain lutein and zeaxanthin that protects the retina and the lens.
- Cancer. Antioxidants—carotenoids and anthocyanins—found in carrots are proven from numerous studies to prevent cancer as they provide immunity and activate proteins for the body. They reduced the risk of lung cancer, prostate, breast, stomach, and colon cancer. Its juice is also believed to lower the risk of leukaemia.
- Immunity. As said before, Vitamin A from beta-carotene boosts the body’s defence system. It helps in regenerating cells which become barriers to keep viruses and germs out of the body. There is also Vitamin C in carrots that builds antibodies and aids in collagen production in healing wounds.
- Heart. High blood cholesterol is a link to heart diseases, and carrots lower them. All the antioxidants, potassium, fibre, and Vitamin C found in carrots all work together to lower your blood cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.
- Constipation. Carrots have a high fibre content which can remove countless hours in the bathroom and improve bowel movement.
- Skin. Carotenoids—retinol, biotin, and lycopene—in carrots can keep the skin healthy, soft and look younger. However, avoid munching too many carrots as this can lead to carotenemia (which is not that harmful) that can turn your skin into orange or yellow.
- Weight. Not only fibre but the 88% water that carrots contain can help those who are going on a diet. Carrots are vegetables that can sate you with a low-calorie intake—with medium carrots having 25 calories.
- Cognitive Health. The numerous benefits of carrots not only end on the eyes, heart, and skin. Luteolin which is also found in carrots can also keep the mind and memory sharper.
Carrots in a Cup
Carrots give us more than we know about them. They are also the perfect ingredient for preparing in Easter, Thanksgiving, and weddings and baptism. To make sure that you can never go wrong in the grocery, here are the average equivalents of a 1 cup carrot (assumingly medium-sized), which you can base on with every pastry you’ll make—from a simple carrot tart to a giant carrot cake:
- Sliced: 2 carrots
- Chopped: 1 and a half carrots
- Shredded: 3 carrots
More Pastry Techniques and Recipes: