Both affordable and beneficial, carrots are a must-have for the frugal cook. They can be grated and added to salads or chopped and put into main meals. Blending them with orange juice creates a health-boosting drink and carrot sticks served with peanut butter dip are a great snack for children.
Not only is the carrot economical, but it’s also packed with nutrition. One carrot contains enough beta-carotene for an adult’s daily vitamin A requirements. Part of the carotenoid family, they are also effective in boosting immunity, clearing up infections and maintaining healthy skin and eye function. They have also been proven to protect against certain cancers, being full of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.
Carrots are best bought fresh and stored in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator.
They can be frozen, but it is not recommended for the sake of nutrition. If you want to store them in the freezer, you have to boil them first. Boiling them destroys the enzymes which stop them from going bad. It is enzymes that are helpful for digestion and boiling them also destroys most of the vitamins, essentially depleting them of their nutrients.
My mother, a breast cancer survivor, came to stay with me for a while after her surgery and she was up early every morning running carrots and beetroots through the juicer. It was the first thing she drank every morning. She recently announced to me that she has been cancer-free for five years now, so by the will of Allah, I praise Him that her health has been restored. Whenever we discuss nutrition, she just can’t emphasise enough the importance and benefits of carrots. Modern health specialists and raw foodists share recipes for carrot juice quite often. It is important to drink the juice shortly after making it, as the enzymes get lost over time.
I often have a surplus of carrots in the refrigerator at the end of the week. Sometimes I feel like a sweet delicious dessert but I don’t always have the ingredients required for many a sweet dish like strawberries, chocolate or whipped cream. If this is the case, I go through my cupboards and see what can go into a cake. I often have ripe bananas (especially when the weather is hot as they spoil quickly), apples and lemons, which can all be used to make a fabulous cake. Sometimes my fruit supply runs out, and I resort to making simpler desserts – so a carrot cake is often what’s for dessert in my home. It’s delightfully good when topped with creamy lemon icing!
Carrot Cake with Creamy Lemon Icing
• 2 ½ cups self-raising flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 cups carrot, grated
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup vanilla yoghurt
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 5 tbs butter
• 3 tbs icing sugar
• 1 tbs lemon juice
• 2 tbs lemon rind, finely grated
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the sugar and grated carrot and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, yoghurt and oil and beat well. Add to the carrot mixture and beat until the mixture is smooth.
4. Pour into a lightly greased cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake’s centre. Let it stand for a few minutes to cool.
5. Next, mix the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl until smooth.
6. Add the lemon juice and the rind, then beat with an electric beater or whisk it well by hand until it is smooth and creamy.
7. Once the cake has cooled, top it with the lemon icing.
September’s frugal cooking suggestions by Christine (Amina) Benlafquih are sure to make you berry happy.
A Muslimah for 15 years now, Charlene Gray is currently living in Morocco with her husband and children. A homeschooling mother, she is currently studying for a diploma in Islamic Science. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, teaching English, cooking and social networking. She has published recipes and knitting/crochet patterns and enjoys writing about various subjects.