Minced and sauteed, carrots are a base for sauces, stews, and soups. Sliced, they can be roasted, glazed, sauteed, or added to soups for extra heartiness. Or you can just snack on 'em.
When to Buy the Freshest Carrots
Local carrots will be best in late summer and fall, but you can almost always find them fresh since they store so well.
How to Choose Carrots at the Store
Look for firm carrots. They should not droop at all when you pick them up. Carrots with the tops on will be freshest. But even untopped carrots can be quite good.
How to Prepare Carrots
If the tops are on, cut them off and discard them. Peel the carrots and cut off both ends.
How to Chop Carrots
For a coarse chop, just slice them into circles then chop. For diced carrots, cut the carrot in half the long way, then slice those sections again the long way, about ½-inch thick. Push the long sections together and chop across, about ½ inch between chops.
How to Store Carrots
Remove the greens, if any (they draw moisture from the carrots, and also take up a ton of room in your fridge), then store in a tightly-wrapped plastic bag. Thick carrots will store best, up to three months. Thin, fresh carrots can get floppy within a week.
How to Grow Carrots
Gardeners usually plant carrots from the seed, in a deep, raised bed full of loose and nutrient-rich soil. They grow fast, so with continuous planting you could have fresh carrots all summer. Talk to the friendly folks at your local garden center for info on growing carrots in your area.