Botanically, carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, which also includes fennel/anise, celery, parsnips, dill, cilantro/cumin, parsley, caraway, Queen Anne’s Lace and the poisonous hemlock. Many of the popular plants in this family works well in the garden as a companion plant. Largely because the tiny flowers forming the umbels, for which the group is named, are perfectly suited for parasitic wasps, ladybugs and predatory flies which drink their nectar. These beneficial insects will then dine upon insect pests on nearby plants. Some of the more fragrant herbs in this family possibly dilute the odors of nearby plants, or the pheromones emitted by pest insects to signal to other pests.
Raw carrots contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, potassium and magnesium. Carrots are one of the best sources of carotene which is a strong antioxidant and is converted by the body into Vitamin A. Also most of the goodness is actually in, or just below the skin. Many people do not realize that numerous antioxidant compounds are located in the skin of fruit and vegetables, so buy organic where you can for fruits and veggies that have edible peels and don’t peel them before using! You can get some vitamin K by using the greens on top of the carrot — the carrots themselves don’t have much of this important vitamin, so save those greens for your next green smoothie! Carrots are also known for their sweetening, antianemic, healing, diuretic, remineralizing and sedative properties.
This smoothie isn’t as simple as my usual morning fare, so I only tend to make it once or twice a year as a treat. It’s also incredibly sweet, so seldom is probably better than frequently anyway. But I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks now, and bought an extra bag of carrots to satisfy my craving.
We are lucky to have gotten a juicer from Luke’s parents when our old one broke, but if I didn’t have this I would probably just make a pulpier version in the Vita-Mix. Since I do, I juice the carrots ahead of time. I was making enough for myself and the kids, and while a better juicer might yield more juice with less carrots, I nearly used the entire 5lb bag!
I poured all the carrot juice into the blender and set the pulp aside for a later use (I’ll post that later this week — Luke ate all that I made so I am dehydrating the second batch for pictures). The kids were playing Harry Potter and had a hard time settling to smoothie, so I’m here to confess that I didn’t push this sweet treat too hard and found an alternative use for the extra smoothie.
- 3.5lbs carrots, juiced
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 2 bananas
- 2-3 dates
- cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, etc to taste
- I juiced all the carrots, poured this into the blender.
- I roughly chopped 2 carrots, added to the blender, along with the bananas, walnuts and spice. I opted for only cinnamon this time to keep it simple.
- Blend til smooth. My old Oster blender never managed to get all the little walnut bits, so I had to chew that smoothie more, but this one was pure smooth goodness.
If our ice cream maker hadn’t started leaking freezy fluid, I would pour this in for a delicious and different raw ice cream. It’s incredibly rich. If making this as a smoothie, I would probably leave out the dates and perhaps one of the bananas. Did I mention that I found this to be incredibly sweet? I don’t remember thinking that at all in the summer when I made this last, so either my carrots were much sweeter or my palate and sensitivity to sweetness has changed. At any rate, it was a lovely, rich treat on a cold winter day.