May 24, 2019
By Kelly Smith
Carrots are in season all year round in California but it seems they really show their abundance at farmers' markets in the summer. It's my go-to vegetable since you can eat them raw or cooked and in so many dishes it's hard to not to find a use for them. The crisp, sweet taste brings me to think of summertime cookouts, picnics and just a good snack on a hot day.
The origins of carrots have been tracked to the dry and hot lands of Iran and Afghanistan. Earliest evidence of its use date back as far as 3000 BC. Carrot seeds made their way to Arabian, Africa and Asia via caravans. In the beginning, carrots were not the orange thick root vegetables we eat today. They were skinny purplish or whitish roots that eventually mutated to a yellowish orange and eventually to the bright orange we see most frequently around the farmers' markets and grocery stores.
Carrots became so popular that there were placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt. Drawings of the carrot harvest and processing can be found in numerous hieroglyph paintings. During this time the popular color of carrot was purple not only for eating but for medicine as well.
The tradition of using carrots for medicine traveled from Egypt to Greece and Rome in the 1st millennia BC. Bitter and hard to eat carrots were used to heal many illnesses including being used as a sexual aphrodisiac. Romans were known to boil carrots for regular meals and eat them with dressings and various herbs.
Carrots reached Japan via Persia to Asia in the 13th century. During that time Europe started cultivating carrots in gardens in France and Germany. Their popularity expanded across Europe due to their nutritional value. In the 1600s, English settlers of the New World started cultivating carrots in their first settlement in Jamestown,
Although modern carrot consumption did not become popular until after World War II partly because it was easy to grow in home gardens and was encouraged to grow during times of rationing because of the war efforts. They offered substantial nutrition benefits and could be cooked in a variety of ways. Including Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, B6, Vitamin C, pantothenic acid, iron, potassium, manganese, copper and is a good source of dietary fiber.
The United States is the 3rd largest producer of carrots, just behind Russia. China is the largest producer with 34% of the world's market share. Red and yellow varieties are popular in China and Japan; with purple becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. There are also rainbow carrots which include red, yellow, purple and orange carrots being sold now at some of the local farmers markets in Sonoma County. It's a great time to pick some up for your summertime soiree.
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded carrots, squeeze of moisture
1/2 cup ricotta, drained if needed
4 large eggs
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil, for cooking
1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/2 cup water
1 Chipotle in Adobo sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Cover the rice with 2” of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the rice is cooked; 45 minutes or so.
In the food processor, pulse the garlic into small pieces. Add the oats, cilantro, salt, and pepper until the oats are in fine pieces. Add in the brown rice and carrots, followed by the ricotta and eggs. Pulse the mixture a few times to combine the mixture. The carrots and brown rice should still be visible but broken down slightly.
Place mixture in the refrigerator and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Warm the olive oil up over medium heat in a large skillet with lid. Wet your hands and form the mixture into patties that are roughly 1″ thick and 4″ wide. Place in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes, until browning and crisp. Flip, cover, and cook for another 4 minutes until crisp and warmed through.
To make the sauce: combine the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, taste, and add more salt as desired.
Tips & Tricks: Use with leftover brown rice - it speeds up the cook time quite a bit!
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