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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

PRODUCT: Baby Carrots, Easy To Love

Even if you had your fill of carrots at Easter dinner, we’re about to inspire you to have them more regularly.

Peeled baby carrots have come from nowhere to be the number-one-selling fresh-cut vegetable in the produce department. And that’s no surprise:

  • Carrots are one of the most popular raw vegetable snacks.
  • Carrots are low-calorie and nutritious: just 35 calories per serving (85g), which has 120% of the DV of vitamin A and 2g fiber.
  • Baby carrots are peeled, washed and ready to eat, an easily portable snack.
  • They now come in a variety of formats you could wish, large bags to individual snack packs to snack packs with dips, to family-size microwavable bags to cook the carrots and produce a light sauce (including roasted garlic with herbs and honey, brown sugar and cinnamon).
  •  
    Who grows those little carrots? The largest grower is Grimmway in California, which has the Bunny-Luv, Cal-organic and Grimmway brands and also private labels for everyone from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods Markets.

     

    An individual snack pack with a container of ranch dip, plated. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The Grimm brothers, Rod and Bob, began their family business in the fertile soil of California’s San Joaquin Valley in 1968, with a roadside produce stand. Today, they process 40,000 of California’s 75,000 acres of carrots in a variety of locations (California processes 80% of the nation’s carrots). On an average day, Grimmway Farms processes 2.5 miles of trucks loaded with 10 million pounds of carrots!

    The company also grows regular whole carrots and produces carrot chips, carrot dippers, crinkle cut coins, carrot sticks, shredded carrots…and in non-carrot categories, citrus and potatoes.

    Much crunchier than conventional crunchy snacks like chips and pretzels, and so much better for you, baby carrots are easy to love as an often-as-you-want snack. Learn more at Grimmway.com.

     

    Easy microwaved baby carrots in a light
    brown sugar-cinnamon sauce. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    THE HISTORY OF CARROTS

    A root vegetable, carrots originated 3000 years ago in Central Asia and the Near East, slowly migrating into the Mediterranean area. Carrots are members of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae) family, which includes caraway, celery, chervil, dill, fennel and parsnips.

    Originally, the carrot roots were white, yellow, green or purple in color—not orange—and used for medicinal purposes. Ancient Greek physicians prescribed carrot root and juices to treat cancer, indigestion, snake bites and skin ulcers.

    It is believed that orange carrots were first developed in the 1600s by the Dutch. All modern carrots are directly descended from Dutch-bred carrots. They have been reverse-bred to their original colors, too, plus a burgundy red shade.

    The Debut Of Baby Carrots

    Mini-peeled carrots, popularly called baby carrots and also called petite carrots, were first introduced in 1989. Contrary to popular belief, baby carrots are not grown bite-sized. They are bred to be long and slender, and then cut into two-inch pieces and lathed to uniform width.

     
    However, top-of-the-line chefs do serve baby vegetables—carrots, radishes, squash and other varieties—that are harvested very young. How can you tell the difference between the two types of carrots? The harvested-young-and-whole carrots will have their tops on.

    FUN CARROT FACTS

  • Two carrots give you enough energy to walk two miles.
  • There are more than 100 varieties of carrots.
  • Our modern word comes from the ancient Greeks, ”karoton.”
  • In the Middle Ages, the feathery leaves of carrots were used by women as hair decoration.
  • The longest carrot in recorded history was grown in 1996: 16 feet, 10.5 inches long. The heaviest carrot in recorded history, in 1998, was 18.985 pounds (single root mass). They would have made a heck of a lot of carrot snacks!
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