Have you ever wondered why carrots taste better at different times of the year? We asked Andrew Burgess, Divisional Managing Director of RB Organics – they grow 4,300 tonnes of carrots (6 million bags) each year at their organic farms in Norfolk.
Delicious British carrots are in our supermarkets all year. We put down fresh carrot seed from April through to early June and start to harvest them 120 days later.
The first carrots of the new season, from June until August, are young & tender & have a wonderful fresh taste to them. As the summer goes on, they accumulate goodness, so that by September & October this flavour deepens and matures and they reach their peak flavour and deep orange colour at this time.
When winter arrives, we cover the carrots in deep straw to protect them from frost, they go into hibernation which preserves the goodness and flavour well into the spring, and then the cycle starts all over again.
Andrew’s Top Shopping Tips:
1/ If you like the young tender carrots, then switch to bunched carrots after September, they are always the freshest, youngest crop.
2/ Look out for a deep colouring as fresher carrots have more intense pigmentation. If bunched, then look for brighter leaves – wilted leaves are a sign the carrots have been on the shelf for a while.
Claire’s Top Cooking Carrot Cooking Tops (with links to recipes):
2/ Winter carrots are perfect for roasting - add rosemary, shallots and garlic or glaze with honey. Try roasting with parsnips as they bring out each other’s flavour.
2/ Refrigerate the carrots in an unsealed plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge and away from fruit.
3/ Chop a load of carrot sticks at the weekend and keep them in a jar with fresh water to cover them to keep them from drying out so you have fresh, crispy carrots for snacks at a moment's notice!
Don’t forget that carrots make a great raw snack after school or lunch boxes – check out Priya Tew’s guide to raw veg: Raw Power: How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Raw Veg