There Are Always Carrots

We’ve worked winter’s cruciferous vegetables to the bone with bowl after bowl of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. It’s still too early for asparagus, and spring peas haven’t yet pushed up in the garden. Supermarket green beans are arriving from Mexico but lack flavor. It’s time to dip into the veg bin for a bag of perennial favorites.

Carrots hold their flavor through long storage, pack a healthy dose of vitamin A, cook quickly and are a colorful, sweet treat. Look for carrots free from wooly sprouting roots and if possible stay away from those tasteless “baby carrots,” huge orange roots commercially whittled into bite-sized bits and treated with chlorinated water to maintain their color.

It takes only seconds to peel and slice a few carrots. They cook in about eight minutes, and children will call them carrot candy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been cooking carrots without water over moderately high heat in a covered pot. The heat forces out carrot juice, which joins with the butter or olive oil to form a glaze—no nutrients go down the drain in poured-off cooking water. A few leaves of early mint, a sprinkle of chives or the first biannual fringes of last summer’s parsley greening in the garden will French-up the carrots; a dusting of ground cumin and a few drops of pomegranate molasses take carrots to the Middle East; a pinch of turmeric and curry powder warmed in the cooking butter conjures India; and some ground chili ancho, a squeeze of fresh lime and chopped cilantro ring in Mexico. Carrots hold their own in all seasons and all cultures.

Glazed Carrots

1 lb. carrots, peeled and trimmed

1 tablespoon butter

pinch salt

pinch sugar (optional)

Choose heavy saucepan with tightly fitting lid.

Cut carrots into 1/4-inch slightly angled slices.

Melt butter in saucepan; add carrots. Sprinkle with salt and optional sugar (use only if carrots lack sweetness). Cover and cook over brisk heat 8–10 minutes.

Uncover, stir with rubber spatula. Carrots should be tender, juicy, glazed and sweet.

Mary Jo’s cookbook is available at


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