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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 6 April, 2020

What to do with... the last few carrots in the bag

The future (of your kitchen) is orange.

Image: Shutterstock/Nataliya Arzamasova

AS ONE OF the most widely used vegetables in this part of the world, carrots may not be the trendiest veg, but they’re packed full of health benefits and nutrients.

As well as being low in calories, they are a valuable source of antioxidants, as well as containing a host of other minerals. And yes, your granny was right, they can also help with sight, due to their levels of beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the body.

Carrots are a staple in most households, and who doesn’t end up with a few left over in the bag at the end of the week? We’ve some delicious ways to use of the last few carrots below.

Carrot Cake: Carrot cake is one of the easiest cakes you could make. Beat 400g sugar, 400ml sunflower oil and 4 eggs until pale and fluffy. Add in 400g self raising flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of mixed spice (or as much as you like) and fold until combined. Next, fold in 400g grated carrots and once combined, divide into two loaf tins.

Bake at 180°C for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. This is delicious topped with a cream cheese frosting, which can be made by beating together a tub of cream cheese, 300g icing sugar, the juice of half a lemon and 50g butter. Decorate with blueberries or walnuts.

Carrot Topped Shepherd’s Pie: Shepherd’s pie has to be the ultimate comfort food, and the perfect make ahead supper for this time of year. Using mashed carrots as a topping can be a great way to incorporate some extra veggies into your day, especially for kids. Start by making your favourite shepherd’s pie meat base, and instead of topping with potato, mash 4 carrots with one small sweet potato and spread on top of the meat. Bake until piping hot and the topping is starting to turn golden.

Carrot Bhajis: Carrot bhajis are a delicious alternative to the classic onion bhaji. Start off by making a batter: mix 100g chickpea flour, 2 eggs, cumin, curry powder, salt and coriander until combined. Add in 4 grated carrots and a handful of spinach, along with a splash of water if the mixture needs it. Dot 12 spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray generously greased with oil, and bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve straight from the oven with your favourite chutney!

Source: Shutterstock/Tatiana Bralnina

Carrot And Coconut Soup: Carrot and coconut soup is the ideal winter warmer lunch, and with some added ginger it’s also good for keeping the immune system in tip-top shape.

Melt some butter in a large saucepan and gently fry some onions, garlic, ginger and carrots. Stir in a can of coconut milk, 300ml vegetable stock and simmer until the carrots are soft. Puree with a hand blender and serve immediately, or freeze in batches and enjoy whenever you fancy a warming cup of homemade soup!

Carrot Gratin: Chop up some carrots and any other vegetables you have to hand (parsnips, sweet potatoes and leeks work well). Place in a buttered ovenproof dish along with two sliced garlic cloves. Pour over a cup of cream and half cup of milk, top with grated cheese, and bake in a hot oven for 90 minutes, or until all veg is cooked through. Keep an eye on it and if the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil. This is delicious with a Sunday roast, and also reheats very well.

More: What to do with… uneaten porridge oats in the press>

More: What to do with… those tinned tomatoes hanging around in the cupboard>

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