The most commonly found carrots typically have a long, narrow cylindrical cone shaped root but can also be found in other varieties that may be thicker or shorter in shape. Carrots can be used raw or cooked in recipes. Raw carrots may be consumed as a snack, an appetizer or even added on to salads. They can be prepared in many different ways such as steaming, boiling, sautéing, grilling or roasting. When cooked, these healthy vegetables can be used as a side dish, eaten on their own or cooked with other vegetables.
When preparing carrots for cooking, some very basic procedures will need to be followed. For instance, carrot preparation involves washing, peeling, and cutting the carrot to the desired size. Some of the smaller varieties of carrots may not even need to be peeled but older varieties with surface blemishes should be peeled. However, since much of the flavor and many of the nutrients in carrots are near the surface, it is often better to not peel the carrots but just wash them thoroughly instead. Leaving the peels on also yields so much more flavor than peeled carrots. One of the easiest ways to prepare carrots is by boiling them. While the steps are simple, care should be taken to not over boil the carrots.
How Long To Boil?
There are a few things to keep in mind when getting ready to boil carrots. For instance boiling carrots can cause them to lose some flavor and nutrients. With the surface exposed through peeling, carrots will leech out the flavor and lose some of its nutrient content.
So while peeling is an option left to the individual preference of the cook, trimming the carrot is a must. Cutting off the top which is kind of woody and tough is a good idea while also trimming the other end.
How long it takes to boil carrots will also depend on the size of the carrots. With smaller sized carrots, cooking times will be shorter when compared to larger and thicker carrots. Also how soft or crisp you want the carrots to be will also determine the cooking time. When boiling carrots make it a point to use as little water as possible, just enough to cover the vegetables, so that nutrient loss is minimized.
If you wish to salt the water, add a little bit at this stage. Salting also helps raise the boiling point of water, cooking the carrots faster. In addition slightly salting the water can help flavor the carrots as well.
Add carrots to water and cook covered until done to desired tenderness, this can take from a few minutes to half an hour depending on the thickness of the carrots and how soft/crisp you want them.
To test doneness, pierce with a fork. The fork should slide in easily enough. Drain, season and serve, cutting them up into smaller pieces if desired.
How Long To Boil until Soft
To boil carrots until soft, follow the above procedure and cook covered in a small amount of boiling salted water until desired tenderness is reached. For larger carrots slice or cut in smaller sizes. Medium and smaller sized carrots can be boiled as is without any cutting. For most types, how long it takes to boil carrots should range between eight to ten minutes of cooking to become soft.
How Long To Boil Baby Carrots
Baby carrots are usually ready to eat as is given their small size and peeled appearance. However, they can also be cooked and served with other vegetables, as a side dish, or served on their own. Baby carrots will need to be prepared the same way as other carrots but without the peeling. Bring water to a boil and cover pan, reducing heat to simmer. Cook baby carrots for seven to eight minutes for complete cooking.
How Long To Cook Carrots in Crock Pot
Crockpot cooking is especially suited for foods that need to be tenderized through slow cooking and at reduced temperatures. Typically foods like carrots and potatoes are cooked in a crockpot with roasted meats. To cook carrots in the crockpot, take 1lb. baby carrots, ¼ cup brown sugar. ¼ cup apple juice and 1 tbsp. melted butter.
Place carrots in the crockpot and combine remaining ingredients. Pour over carrots and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours until carrots are tender.
How Long To Cook Carrots in Microwave
Microwave cooking is ideal for occasions when time is short and meals need to be prepared quickly. To cook carrots in the microwave, make sure that they are cut into small enough sizes that will be easy to work with.
Place 1 lb. washed and cut carrots in a microwave safe dish and add 2 tbsp. of water. Cover with lid and microwave on high until soft. As an estimate, thinly sliced carrots will take about 6-9 minutes, carrot strips will cook in 5-7 minutes and baby carrots will need 7-9 minutes of cooking time.
How Long To Cook Carrots in Slow Cooker
Slow cooking is usually a preferred way to cook carrots to get them to a soft texture. Many people like to slow cook their carrots in a slow cooker to maintain desired tenderness along with all the flavor of carrots. To prepare carrots in a slow cooker, use 1 lb. of ready to use baby carrots or other carrots, sliced or cut up into medium sized pieces.
Coat slow cooker with cooking spray and place carrots in it. Season with salt and pepper to taste and other herbs and spices if you wish. Add a quarter cup of water and brown sugar each and cook on a medium heat setting for about 4-5 hours stirring carrots halfway through the cooking process. Spoon carrots onto serving plates and pour any sauce from the crockpot over the carrots. Toss to coat and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
To get more savory tasting carrots cut out brown sugar and water and replace it with chicken broth instead.