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Cored Carrot With a Peel

Most of us take the trouble to peel carrots before cooking them. This is strictly for cosmetic reasons; carrot peel is totally worthy from a food standpoint, containing not only vitamins but flavoring elements. Its only sin is that it turns gray and ragged when cooked.

On the other hand, most people don’t bother to remove the core of the carrot. But the core often deserves to be removed, particularly in larger carrots. It tends to be woody and bitter. On top of that, it’s not even particularly nutritious (fiber aside).

Of course, coring a carrot is a fair amount of trouble. You have to quarter it lengthwise and pry the core out with a knife--this takes a sharp knife and a steady hand, and it’s obviously far easier to do after the carrot is cooked. And once a carrot’s cored, you just can’t make it into those jolly coin-shaped carrot slices that enliven many a soup and stew. Lengthwise slices and random chunks are your only options.

Careful chefs do remove the core when they’re making carrot soups and purees, particularly for the sort of nouvelle cuisine sauce that doesn’t contain cream or butter to disguise the bitterness. And the core is nearly always removed by Indian and Middle Eastern cooks when they make their thick, almost candy-like carrot puddings (gajar halva), which consist of carrot puree thickened with butter and flour.

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