Carrots are root vegetables which contain alpha carotene to help your body’s natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system) and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. This important vitamin helps our vision in dim light, keeps our skin and the lining of some parts of the body like the nose healthy.
Carrots are commonly used in many cuisines, such as salads, soups and so on. Whenever I have a surplus of carrots, I like to make a savory snack like a carrot hummus that I can enjoy with some cut veggies or simply use it as a dipping sauce or dressing (adding in more oil) with some salad or meat patties.
Don’t throw away the carrot tops! These bitter greens are rich in nutrients. They have six times more vitamin C than the roots, lots of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and dietary fiber. I use them in my green smoothie which I drink every morning.
Carrots are not the easiest vegetables to grow in the tropics, unless you are living at higher elevations, because they are basically a cool season crop. However, some people have had success with some of the purple varieties and in some countries there are seeds available for varieties that tolerate hotter weather.
If you do want to try your hand at growing carrots in the tropics, do so in the cooler dry season months when it’s easier to control watering (if they get waterlogged in the rainy season they will rot) and spend some time to prepare a free-draining sandy soil mix with organic material that is like a propagating mix. Carrots won’t grow in the clay soils that are common in many tropical regions.
If you’d like to read up about the challenges of growing carrots in the tropics, here’s an excellent article by a grower in Costa Rica. If all that sounds too hard for you, then at least you know carrots are readily available and not expensive in the markets of tropical countries because they are easy to transport from cooler climates.
So now here’s my easy carrot hummus recipe which you can try whether you are growing your own or buying from the market!
Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 30 mins
Serving size: 1½ container jar (around 500 ml)
- 2 to 3 large carrots peeled
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons of tahini
- Juice of 1 to 2 lemons (to taste)
- 1 can of cooked chickpeas/white beans or broad beans (optional), drained and reserve the water (aquafaba)
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of cumin (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven at 200℃. Place the carrots onto a lined baking dish, drizzle with some olive oil and roast for 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
- To make the hummus, put all the ingredients into a food processor/blender, including the roast carrots, add in the reserved aquafaba (one tablespoon at a time) and blend until you are happy with the consistency. Season to taste, adjust the spices as you like.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Ready to eat.