Starch does not enter into the composition of carrots, but a small portion of pectose is found instead. Carrots contain more water than parsnips, and both much cellulose and little nutritive material. Carrots when well cooked form a wholesome food, but one not adapted to weak stomachs, as they are rather hard to digest and tend to flatulence.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.—The suggestions given for the preparation of parsnips are also applicable to carrots; and they may be boiled, steamed, or browned in the same manner. From one to two hours time will be required, according to age, size, variety, and method of cooking.
BOILED CARROTS.—Clean, scrape, drop into boiling water, and cook till tender; drain thoroughly, slice, and serve with a cream sauce. Varieties with strong flavor are better parboiled for fifteen or twenty minutes, and put into fresh boiling water to finish.
CARROTS WITH EGG SAUCE.—Wash and scrape well; slice and throw into boiling water, or else steam. When tender, drain thoroughly, and pour over them a sauce prepared the same as for parsnips (page 244), with the addition of a tablespoonful of sugar. Let them boil up once, and serve.
STEWED CARROTS.—Prepare young and tender carrots, drop into boiling water, and cook for fifteen or twenty minutes. Drain, slice, and put into a stewpan with rich milk or cream nearly to cover; simmer gently until tender; season with salt and a little chopped parsley.
DESCRIPTION.—The beet is a native of the coasts of the Mediterranean, and is said to owe its botanical name, beta, to a fancied resemblance to the Greek letter B. Two varieties are in common use as food, the white and the red beet; while a sub-variety, the sugar beet, is largely cultivated in France, in connection with the beet-sugar industry in that country. The same industry has recently been introduced into this country. It is grown extensively in Germany and Russia, for the same pose, and is also used there in the manufacture of alcohol.
The beet root is characterized by its unusual amount of sugar. It is considered more nutritive than any other esculent tuber except the potato, but the time required for its digestion exceeds that of most vegetables, being three and three fourths hours.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.—Beets, like other tubers, should be fresh, unshriveled, and healthy. Wash carefully, scrubbing with a soft brush to remove all particles of dirt; but avoid scraping, cutting, or breaking, lest the sweet juices escape. In handling for storage, be careful not to bruise or break the skins; and in purchasing from the market, select only such as are perfect.
Beets may be boiled, baked, or steamed. In boiling, if the skin is cut or broken, the juice will escape in the water, and the flavor will be injured; for this reason, beets should not be punctured with a fork to find if done. When tender, the thickest part will yield readily to pressure of the fingers. Beets should be boiled in just as little water as possible, and they will be much better if it has all evaporated by the time they are cooked.