BABY CARROT LOVE | Sweeten those baby orange gems with a dash of maple syrup
For a simple and fast side dish designed to delight your guests, look no further than the baby carrot. Dress the carrots with maple syrup and a hint of brown sugar to accentuate the natural sweetness of these orange gems further. All in all, this side dish will take you no more than 15 minutes to dish up from prep to table.
A baby carrot is an immature carrot, grown in a small size. Alternatively, they can be cut from a larger carrot (what are called “baby cuts”). Baby cuts were invented by a guy called Mike Yorusek in the mid 1980s.
Back then, the carrot industry was stagnant and wasteful. Yurosek, itching for a way to make use of all the misshapen carrots, got tired of seeing all the carrots go to waste so tried something new. Instead of tossing them out, he carved them into something more palatable. At first, Yurosek used a potato peeler, which didn’t quite work because the process was too laborious. But then he bought an industrial green-bean cutter. The machine cut the carrots into uniform 2-inch pieces, the standard baby carrot size that persists today.
The beauty of these 2-inch perfectly rounded orange gems is that they need not be peeled, thus saving a lot of time. Simply give them a good wash and ‘bam’, they are ready to go.
Now, why is one little carrot so important? First and foremost, munching on carrots can prevent blindness caused by Vitamin A deficiency.
Just to give you some statistics, vitamin A deficiency partially or totally blinds nearly 350,000 children from more than 75 countries every year. Roughly 60 percent of these children die within months of going blind. However, vitamin A deficiency is preventable. One cooked carrot has approximately 150% of the Recommended Daily Amount of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to prevent night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth, weak tooth enamel, diarrhoea and slow growth.
Convinced to eat more baby carrots now? Even the late Steve Jobs was an avid carrot fan, often fasting on weeks on nothing but carrots (and apples).
Maple Glazed Baby Carrots
Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 15 mins | Serves: 3-4 as a side
- 6 ounces of baby carrots / baby cuts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon of freshly torn thyme leaves
- Drizzle of balsamic glaze (optional)
1. Wash and drain baby carrots in a colander.
2. Heat oil in a frying or skillet on medium heat. Throw in baby carrots, maple syrup, brown sugar, dill and thyme and gently toss to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally. until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Garnish with additional dill before serving.
For those who like the added dimension of balsamic, feel free to drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the cooked carrots before serving. For this dish, I lightly drizzled some of Pukara’s fig balsamic (pictured below).