Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Discover: Chantenay Carrot

  • The humble carrot is eaten more than any other vegetable, according to the Food Standards Agency, and it has been reinvented with the return of the traditional Chantenay variety, which was grown in large quantities in the UK up until the 1960s.
  • A small sweet variety of carrot with crisp orange flesh and a tender texture and a pronounced 'carroty' flavour.
  • These are the carrot of choice for gardeners who have hard clay or rocky soils.
  • Prior to planting carrot seeds, work the soil  deeply. Add liberal amounts of compost. If compost is not available, add peat moss. 
  • Remove any rocks, stones and debris which may impede the downward formation of the roots.
  • Carrot seed are among the smallest, finest of garden seeds. They are very difficult to space. Sow them very thinly, about 1/4 inch deep. Cover them with a fine garden soil. Or sprinkle them on top of the soil, and lightly water them into the soil. Space rows 1 to 1 1/2 feet apart. We recommend double rows spaced 1 1/2 feet apart, and then wider rows, to afford easy access.
  • Broadcast sowing is also popular with carrots. With broadcast sowing, sprinkle or spread the seeds across the area you are planting. Seeds fall randomly, and do not develop in rows.
  • Whichever method you use, it is important to thin the seedlings before crowding impairs their growth. 
  • After the seeds have germinated, thin to two inches apart.
  • Chantenay carrots are extremely versatile and while they're delicious lightly boiled and served with butter and seasoning, there's no need to stop there!
  • Chantenay carrots can be eaten just as they are and are particularly popular with children because of their sweet crunchiness and small size. 
  • They can be served halved or whole as crudités with other vegetables and a dip.
  • An 80g portion supplies more than the RDA of vitamin A. Provide 6% of the RDA of vitamin E and 8% of the RDA of folic acid. 
  • According to the Food Standards Agency, they are also a good source of fibre.
  • Rich in minerals such as calcium potassium, copper, folic acid and magnesium.
  • Said to have sweetening, antianaemic, healing, diuretic, remineralising and sedative properties.
  • Chantenay carrots are perfect for everyone – no need to peel, quick and easy to cook and they taste delicious! 
  • There are loads of great recipes, also perfect straight from the fridge for an easy snack with hummus, or a midweek supper. 
  • They are great for kids too and make fantastic healthy juice. 

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