Cookin’ in the Kitchen: Carrot Salad with Golden Raisins & Pineapple

A recent survey showed that carrots are our country’s third most popular vegetable after corn and potatoes. (I wonder if this could refer to raw carrots rather than cooked carrots?) I do remember that carrot sticks were packed in practically every brown bag lunch that I ever ate when growing up. I can’t say that I loved the carrots, but I did tolerate them. Recently, Marie made a delightful carrot salad which is a delicious way to serve this vegetable. Marie’s recipe combines carrots with golden raisins and pineapple for a flavorful combination. And I used pre-shredded carrots to make this an easy “one-bowl” recipe. So while we are cookin’ at home, here is an easy variation of Marie’s recipe.

Do carrots grow in Louisiana?

Can you grow carrots in Louisiana? Carrots are a cool weather vegetable and can be planted in Louisiana gardens in the fall in well drained soil. One year I planted a multi-colored seed packet from the Monsanto Company. The plants sprouted and grew into colorful yellow, white, orange and crimson carrots! However, my backyard garden is rather small and we ate the entire crop of carrots at one meal. Carrots are so plentiful all the year in grocery stores that I decided it is probably more economical and practical to purchase carrots in a grocery store or farmer’s market than grow this vegetable in my own garden. These carrots were from a farmer’s market in Virginia last summer. The merchant must have had a very large garden!!

Nutritional Value

“Eat your carrots, they are good for your eyes.” This is the slogan that I heard when growing up — I am guessing to get us to finish our plate. Do carrots help with eyesight? Yes, they do help with night vision. Carrots are rich in carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A which is also known as all-trans-retinol. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Then, in the retinal of the eye, Vitamin A is a turned into rhodopsin. This photo-pigment is found in rods within the retina of the eye and helps us to focus in the night and darkness. It helps a person’s eyes adjust when going from a bright room to a dark room. A deficiency of Vitamin A leads to “night blindness.” So, yes the slogan is true.

In addition to helping with night vision, Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin and tissue surfaces including the lungs, intestines and bladder. It plays a role in cell growth and fetal development and supports immune function and development of  T cell–dependent antibody responses in the body. Well, now, in our current situation of the Covid-19 virus, we should all be concerned with good nutrition and optimizing our bodies to response to inflammatory reactions. Lungs? Did I mention lungs. Yes.

But a word of caution here. Carotene is relatively harmless– meaning that it is difficult to consume too much of this vitamin precursor. For example, if you take in too much carotene, perhaps by drinking excessive carrot juice smoothies, a relatively harmless yellow tint to the skin and eyes may occur. However, Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and is stored in the body — primarily the liver. A person can get toxic amounts by consuming too many foods or supplements containing Vitamin A. Sources of this vitamin include liver, cod liver oil and some nutritional supplements. So, moderation in foods and nutritional supplements consumed is the key to a healthy diet.

Recipe

Now back to Marie’s recipe. Here are the ingredients. The first time I made the salad, I peeled and shredded fresh carrots using a food processor.

To make things easier, the next time I purchased pre-shredded carrots to use in the recipe. However, we both preferred the fresh peeled and shredded carrots. So either is good — easiest or slightly more effort.

This is a simple recipe. To make it, soak the golden raisins in boiling water for 5 minutes. Then added the drained raisins along with crushed pineapple and lemon juice to the carrots. Marie’s recipe calls for drained, diced pineapple. I didn’t find any cans of this ingredient in the grocery store so used crushed pineapple. Either one can be used in the recipe.

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl — sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and salt — and pour over the carrot combination. Chill until ready to serve.

The addition of raisins — a healthy fruit — along with the pineapple and a simple salad dressing give the carrots a real flavor boost.  My husband and I both enjoyed this recipe and we ate the carrot salad over several days. The “one-bowl” recipe is an easy way to “cook in the kitchen” during our directive to stay at home and it makes a very nutritious vegetable salad!

Carrot Salad with Golden Raisins and Pineapple

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 oz pkg (2 cups) of shredded carrots
  • 1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple (or an 8-oz can diced pineapple, drained and add drained juice to water to make one cup)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method and Steps:

  1. Place golden raisins in medium-sized bowl.
  2. Boil 1 cup water in microwave, including juice from diced pineapple (if using diced pineapple). The pour boiling water over the golden raisins and let them soak for 5 minutes. Drain off the water.
  3. Add shredded carrots, crushed pineapple (or diced, drained pineapple) and lemon juice to the raisins. Stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and salt.
  5. Add to the carrot mixture and toss to combine.
  6. Chill until ready to serve.

Thanks, Marie, for the recipe. I hope everyone is following our “stay at home” directive to prevent the spread of this coronavirus.

References 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471201/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a#benefits

https://www.studyfinds.org/stunning-survey-reveals-1-in-4-adults-has-never-eaten-vegetables/

 

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