Some 24-karat facts about versatile veggie

Dear Readers: Carrots are versatile and can be used in main dishes, soups, salads and desserts, and they are available year-round. Here is some "24-karat" advice for storing and buying carrots, plus trivia and a recipe.
UTo select the best carrots, look for ones that are dark orange (if buying orange ones) and firm. Don't buy ones that are soft, pale in color, cracked or withered.
UCarrots should be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Don't store carrots with fruits like apples, etc., because these fruits give off ethylene gas, which shortens the storage life of carrots.
UDid you know that carrots have more vitamin A than any other vegetable? Carrots also come in other colors, like red, yellow, purple and white.
Here is a recipe for a carrot cake from the files of my mother, the original Heloise. This cake is scrumptious but does take some time. To make the cake in a shorter time, you could bake the cake and then use canned frosting for the filler and the topping.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup salad oil
11/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrots
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Mix sugar and oil and add sifted dry ingredients. Add carrots and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add nuts last and blend with batter. Bake in round cake tin in 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness.
After the cake is cool, slice horizontally to make two layers. Put filling (on cut sides) between layers. Pour sauce over the whole cake.
1 small container whipping cream (I used a small, 5-ounce can of evaporated milk)
3 eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon
Cook filling in a double boiler as you would a custard.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange rind
1/3 cup butter
Mix sugar, flour, salt and water. Cook until clear. Add carrots and juice, rind and butter. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over cake. Heloise
Dear Heloise: For years I did not use a tablecloth on my kitchen table because it seemed to slide right off. Finally, I came up with a bright idea. I found that a thin, nonslip rug pad sold at any discount store worked wonders. I cut it to size and placed the tablecloth on top. No more sliding. My wood table also has a little protection from knocks now. Leslie, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: Here's a tip for those of you who stack your nonstick frying pans on top of each other and end up with scratched pans: Put a piece of multibubbled package wrap between each frying pan, and you can still stack them and reduce space used in your cabinets. Susan Jacques, Vero Beach, Fla.
King Features Syndicate

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