Valley Bounty: Carrots
I remember my parents telling me when I was little that eating carrots would help you see better in the dark. Though beta-carotene is beneficial to eye health, the supposed boost in night vision is not only apocryphal, but apparently comes from WWII British propaganda aimed at misleading German intelligence about the reason the Royal Air Force could pinpoint German planes in the night (the real reason being new radar technology). But despite the lack of follow-through in the superpower department, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy local carrots, especially now that spring-dug carrots are available — a winter spent beneath the snow and soil has made them sweeter by allowing many of the carrots’ starches to convert to sugar.
A few years ago I was introduced to a recipe for spicy pickled carrots that I’ve found myself coming back to pretty much every spring since. Cut the carrots into large medallions and boil them for around 5 minutes, then add vinegar (about a cup for every three cups of water), salt, jalapenos, and a few bay leaves to the carrots and water and portion everything into canning jars. After a few days in the refrigerator, the naturally sweet spring-dug carrots will have acquired some of the tang of the vinegar and some of the heat of the peppers — these are a great addition to tacos, stir-fry, or simply served on their own.
Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)